Atkelar (atkelar) wrote,

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Making of: "How To: Trick or Treat"

Here it is: How To: Trick or Treat

But where to begin...? It's boring to start at the beginning, so let's go back even further :)

Making of...

As Hallween is approaching and I'm busy with lots of other stuff I made the decision to not do a submission for this year. After all, my interpretation of "The Raven" is very dear to me and it would be hard to top with almost no time and budget.

In the night of October 13, kuddlepup asked me on IRC if I was filming something for Halloween. Now that was a surprise and motivation... but what to do? Back then, nobody was even sure when the Halloween episode was going to be.

I spent lots of time trying to come up with an interesting and scary story and even looked over a couple of Poe's short stories again - but they were either too long or didn't translate for puppet work so I decided to go for something funny instead.

"How To: Ru(i)n your own business" was well received so I decided to go with another "How To" video and what would be a better choice for Halloween than "Trick or Treat"?
I started the script a bit later and by the 17th I had it worked out. Did the voice recording on the 18th and started prop building the same day. Also contacted blujz6 about a few bars of music to go along with it.

The props I built for this bit are:

  • "Ghost" costume (flower design and regular)

  • IR$ "briefcase"

  • Brick

  • Calendar

  • Propeller hat

  • Face mask

  • Diagram backdrop

  • Paper bag

  • Sign for the "urn"

  • Molotov cocktail

A big thank you to yamavu for providing a "kitty" pattern for my pumpkin - I used it as decoration for the paper bag too.

While most props were rather simple, the propeller hat took some time... mostly because I had the idea of making it rotate. I took an old motor (a CD-ROM laser actuator motor) and stuck it in place inside the hat, fixed the propeller to it and ran a wire down the back of the neck of the puppet.... The battery might have been a tad bit too powerful, but I found a neat way to keep cool when puppeteering! It runs so fast, I still can't stop laughing ;) *whirrrrrr*

The ice bag is actually a bit of semi-round fabric sewn together, with the cap of a plastic bottle sticking out on one side and a bit of stuffing inside. The cap is spray-painted to make it look less improvised :)

Began shooting after I had all props together (in the evening of the day before the show!) I made a list of shots that I would need... turned out to be 43! Argh! About four hours of pain and agony cramped up behind the stage later I had shot all shots (some even with up to four takes!)

Sunday morning the fun part began: editing - 61 mpeg files needed to be sorted and put into the right place. Why so many you ask? Simple: I'm all alooooone :) As in: at any given time, only ONE pawpet was actually on the stage, except for two closeups: The "sniffing the apple" and "tugging the costume" ones.

Here's how a scene lookes like in After effects (yes, I picked the more elaborate one to show off :)

After stitching together all the shots, I edited them together in Premiere - here's an overview of the project:

Add some sound effects and the music, fiddle a bit with levels (both audio and video) and render. Leaves about an hour to upload to FPS.

Today I brushed it up a bit for YouTube. The timeline is the same but I added a few sound effects along with some eye candy: a moon in the background during the Trick or Treating sequences as well as the door open/close lighting change. Quite some work...

And now to the feedback...

Since I also took care of the episode's wiki at the time, I was a bit flooded with IRC messages and couldn't quite answer any of them.

[rowsby] What nationality is the narrator?
I'm Austrian, thank you! :)

[Stray_Cat] do you even have that in Austria?
It's not a long tradition here, but since the US is influencing just about everything, Trick or Treating has started a few years ago. It's not too common though.

[NardDog] The narrator makes my subwoofer explode
Sowwy... I only up'd the base on the narrator track a tiny little bit... so the voice differs a bit more from the two "actors"... and it's fine on my subwoofer.

[Terrence] This video sucks. >_> I hope they know that.
...? A bit more specific criticism would be nice.

[TheSonicGod] Atkelar: You mixed up your W and V pronunciation. :3
There's a difference? :) No seriously though: it's Vodka in English and Wodka in German... how do you expect me *not* to get confused ;P These little differences in language are the most difficult to remember. Thanks for the note thoug, I need a sound bite for that...
Tags: makingof, video

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