Saturday, 31 October 2009

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

2010 Releases

Following my previous post on all the things I am looking forward to this year I decided to do a post on a few things I am getting excited about due for release next year!

Toy Story 3

The trailer says it all really... :) I am so excited for this! Especially after seeing 'Toy Story' back on the big screen again.

Alice in Wonderland
I think pretty much everyone I know is getting excited for this movie. I didn't even know it was in production until the promo stills were released. I have been so busy recently that I am just finding myself completely out of the loop with certain things. The visuals for this film look stunning. Tim Burton is never a let down. I loved his version Charlie and the Chocolate and his last film Sweeny Todd was great! It might be because I love Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter so I am expecting big things with this one.

I made a blog post about this back in 2008 and I am still really excited for this movie. Although there hasn't been much news about it recently hopefully by the end of the year we will be seeing more stills and perhaps a trailer :)

And now for a couple of television releases.....

new season!

Even though the Futurama movies filled my Futurama hole over the last couple of years I never found them as satisfying as the original series. They were just too long!! This is why I am extremely excited that they are making another 26 episodes! I don't know how many times I have watched the old 5 seasons over and over and am really looking forward to this new season!

Caprica is being made by the creators of Battlestar Galactica and is a prequel to the series (one of my favourite series of all time btw). The pilot for this was brilliant and even though there was a lack of sci-fi-ness about it I still really enjoyed it. I found it very visually pleasing and the small links to the Galactica universe make it so satisfying! I can't wait to see how this series pans out and find out more about the beginnings of the cylon.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Lyveden New Bield Project: Workshop Two

This Saturday we held the second workshop for the Lyveden project at The Pemberton Centre, Rushden. Everyone picked up the video editing software really well and were soon off editing images and footage to the soundtrack.

Photographs from Saturday's Workshop

The video they are working on is currently known as the 'Timeline' sequence. This is a 5 minute video piece that will be projected onto the 4 window panes at Lyveden New Bield. It is a bit of a history piece explaining how the Church of England and the persecution of the Catholics began and how it links with the Tresham family. We have a collection of old portraits which will be edited together with the footage the group filmed in the first workshop.

Andy E took charge of the workshop this week whilst Andy R and myself worked on the animated 'Blueprint' sequence. This section explores all the different secret codes that Tresham included in the design of Lyveden New Bield. We have been working on this for the last week and it was good to get some feedback from the rest of the group on what we were doing.

Back to some traditional animation

Animated blueprint sequence

The deadline is now approaching fast with a week and half to go until the event itself. Hopefully we will be doing some projection tests next week to check that everything is working properly. Then we have the final workshop next Saturday where we need to finish everything off. Wish us luck! ^-^

On a side note I thought I would mention that our group previously known as 'Art Group (name unknown)' are now called:

It took us a while to get there but everyone agreed we needed to come up with a name and fast. So we went back to some very old ideas and just picked one. :) We now need members of the group to now come up with some logo designs. We are thinking of running a mini design competition for this. Could be a lot of fun! ^-^

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Be Happy :)

I felt grumpy the other day so I drew a picture myself smiling. Now when I look at it I feel really happy. ^-^ I am such a simple creature... but being happy = positive = productive and this is something I like very much.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Deep Time Cabaret - Gravity

I put together this film sequence titled Gravity for Deep Time Cabaret.

This is the longest projection sequence in the production and explores the ideas of deep time and our place in the universe. Images of the Book of Hours and tarot cards represent the ways in which humans have tried to understand the purpose of their existance. The egg, symbolic of life, is being measured in an effort to understand it and microscopic elements hint at our origins. The eye looking in on everything represents ourselves examining the vastness of the universe. Everything is then pulled into the galaxy, reminding us how small and insignificant we all are on the larger scale of deep time.

Deep Time Cabaret is opening tonight at the Clearwell Caves, Gloucestershire It will be showing there until the 25th before it moves on. See my previous post for a full list of the tour dates.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

My DS & Me - Professor Layton and the Curious Villiage

Professor Layton on DS

I might be a little late with this game as it was released AGES ago but I really liked it and wanted to share. It is such a simple puzzle game but I loved it!

You follow Professor Layton and his assistant Luke on their quest to solve the mystery of the Golden Apple. The game is set in the village of St. Mystere which is full of quirkly characters who all want you to solve their puzzles. The style of the game has a Ghibli feel to it with beautiful painted backgrounds and great character design. The story is told with traditional animated cut sequences throughout which adds a nice a touch to the game.

I am not normally a big puzzle fan but I found the look and the plot of the game so appealing that I ended up really enjoying the puzzles. Most of the puzzles are quite simple although there were the odd few that gave me quite a headache. I personally found the ones that involved numbers particularly difficult, but then I have never been very good at Maths. >.<

I have completed the story part of the game and am now trying to complete the more difficult puzzles. There is also a bonus mode which have some much more difficult versions of the puzzles I have already completed. I have had a lot of fun playing this game and it is the first game I have actually completed in ages. I think the fact I can just dip in and out of it has been quite good as I don't have much time for games these days. :(

I really recommend this game! Especially if you're a puzzle fan but also if you want to play a game that feels a little different. The traditionally animated cut sequences really made it something special for me. When I have finished on my current project I am going to buy the recently released sequel 'Professor Layton and Pandora's Box' as a present for myself. ^-^

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Deep Time Cabaret Preview and a Rossendale Weekend

I went to the friends and family preview night of Deep Time Cabaret last Friday and spent the rest of the weekend in Rossendale, Lancashire.

The show was great! After worrying so much about how my films would look and how everything was going to come together I can honestly say I am 100% pleased with the final result. There was added narration making it much easier to understand and some added comedy which was brilliant. Educational piece that will encourage students to ask lots of questions. Sonya's singing was beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed the puppet shows and the egg dance. The paper cinema came together nicely as well, I am hoping to get a video of this online in the next couple of months. I will be making a DVD of the full production in about a months time when the shows have been filmed. They start the tour Friday evening at Clearwell Caves!

I had a lovely weekend, we stayed at the Number 678 Guesthouse which was lovely. No one else was staying there so we had the whole place ourselves. They had the comfiest beds ever and the most yummy breakfast in the morning!

We spent the Saturday at Hebden Bridge where we did some shopping and sat by the river with all the ducks. :) We found a great shop there called the Yorkshire Soap Company. It was lovely smelling shop with lots of gorgeous looking soaps. I bought a couple of the bath truffles and they are great! My favourite thing in there were the HUGE soap cakes decorated with candles. (see below) They don't do online orders yet but the man in the shop said they were trying to sort it out. :) I hope they do it soon!

On the Sunday before we left we went to visit Rossendale Museum and I managed to draw these little fellas from the stuffed animal room. ^-^ Hooray for some kind of life drawing!

Could have done with some more sleep but all in all I had a nice weekend. I have a busy couple of weeks now with the Lyveden project in full swing! The second workshop is this Saturday and I have already started animating for the blueprint sequence. Will update with more soon!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Deep Time Cabaret Promotional Film

My latest edit, a promotional film for Horse + Bamboo Theatre's new show 'Deep Time Cabaret'.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Going to the Movies!

I feel like I have been a bit of a movie go-er the last couple of weeks. I am enjoying seeing lots of films but it really is burning a hole in my pocket. I can't believe how expensive the cinema is these days! Especially for the 3D movies! Nearly £10 a ticket is ridiculous! You can buy the movie on DVD for that!


Yesterday I went to the cinema to see 'Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs'. It was pretty funny :) Lots of action and silly things for the kids but also a lot of funny dialogue between the characters. I loved all the crazy inventions Flint had invented. My favourite being the spray on shoe! Lovely and glittery! I also really liked the animation on the end credits. Having some nice textured 2D animation at the end is always good!

Last week I went to see Toy Story 3D. My friends little boy had never seen it before which I thought was a disgrace! So I HAD to take him! It also gave me and my friend a chance to see it again. What a classic pixar film it is! I hadn't seen it for years so I had forgotten how funny it was! Especially Rex and Mr Potato Head, those guys are hilarious! I am really looking forward to Toy Story 3 now and I will still get to see Toy Story 2 3D at cinemas in the new year. :)

Toy Story 3D Feature

Next week I am finally going to see 'Up'. I have no idea why it has taken all these months to get to the UK but I am really looking forward to it! I have spoken to a couple of people who have seen it and they have loved it so I am hoping I will too! :)

Oh and one last film... I recently saw the original Japanese version of 'Ponyo' which was great! Like every other Ghibli movie I absolutely loved it! I might even go to see it when it is released in UK cinemas even though the English dialogue always sounds kinda weird. It looked amazing though! The colours of the undersea world were brilliant and the character animation was perfect! ♥ I loved every single bit of it!

Seeing all these animated movies really makes me want to get animating again. Especially after seeing Toy Story as it was the early Pixar films that first inspired me to get into animation. The next chance I am free I need to start planning my own little animation masterpiece!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Watch This Space: Workshop One - Lyveden New Bield

Introduction to the project with Dave from Watch This Space

The first of the workshops for the Lyveden New Bield project kicked off this weekend. Luckily the sun was shining all afternoon so we could really enjoy being outside. Overall it was a pretty fun day! In the morning we introduced everyone to the project and did some photography on site.

We then attempted to make a HUGE stop motion piece using ribbon and wool to create an image of the Lyveden New Bield. For half an hours effort I think we did pretty well. (see image below) If this film ever makes it online I will be sure to post it here. :)

Huge stop-motion piece

After lunch we had a look at everyone's photos and created a mock up of the final scene. We recorded an audio track of everyone in the group giving their first impressions of the space and created a slide show using their images to go with it. It turned out pretty good and was a great way to see the photographs everyone had taken.

Checking out the slideshows

After giving everyone the script and listening to the soundtracks for the event we all had a chance to get creative and record some footage for use in the next workshops. Part of this involved dressing up in funny hats with stick on beards... we didn't quite look like Guy Fawkes but never mind. :) We also lit some fuse wire which Andy had bought and recorded some fireworky footage.

And that was the end of Workshop One! I think it went really well! Everyone has been introduced to the project and we captured some really good footage and photographs which can be used in the films. I am really looking forward to next session where everyone can get stuck into making the projections!

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Deep Time Cabaret - Rehearsals

The miner and the white woman hand puppets

The Deep Time Cabaret rehearsals have been in full swing for the last couple of weeks and I made my way up to Horse + Bamboo late last week to see how my film sections would be fitting in. With the final versions complete and rendered I was able to see them at the best quality. I also watched how the performers will interact with the film sequences.

Working out a set up for the paper cinema

I worked with Jonny and Mark on the paper cinema section (see above) looking for ways to animate the paper puppets. Bob put together a table top camera stand on Thursday morning whilst the rest of us cut out photocopies of the paper cinema elements. This enabled us to play around with them under the camera without causing any damage to the originals. This was a very useful session as I discovered that I would need to make a few more cut outs. I will be working on these this weekend as well as re working one of the film elements which needs to be extended. :) After that I feel confident that all my work for the show will be complete.

Next week I am going to start working on a Making of Deep Time Cabaret film to go online on the Horse + Bamboo You Tube account. I will post that up here in a couple of weeks time.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Lyveden New Bield

As I mentioned in a previous post I am currently involved in putting together some video/animation workshops creating projections to be used at an event by Watch This Space. This is a bonfire night event at the National Trust property Lyveden New Bield.

Our group will be directly involved in creating projected sequences during three workshop sessions with young people over the next month. Myself and a couple of others are also creating an animated blueprint to be projected as part of the event.

Members of the group at Lyveden New Bield

A History Lesson
Lyveden New Bield was designed by Sir Thomas Tresham. It was created to be lodge, a place to entertain guests with beautiful gardens including spiral mounds, moats and a labyrinth of roses. However due to Sir Treshams death and debts within the Tresham family the building was never completed. It was left untouched and was donated to the National Trust in 1922. It wasn't until the early 90's that they began to uncover the hidden garden which is acknowledged as one of the last Elizabethan gardens today.

Thomas Tresham spent most of his life in prison due to his Catholic beliefs. Under the new laws of Henry VIII anyone who did not follow the Church of England were to be punished. It was from his prison cell that Tresham began designing the Lyveden New Bield. He wrote letters to the architects detailing everything he wanted for his garden lodge.

He designed this building full of hidden codes representing his religious beliefs. The unusual cross shape of the building, text from the bible, symbols representing the crucifixion of Christ, windows designed with a cross shaped frame. All of these were his way to show his faith.

Symbols representing the crucifixion of Christ and the cross shaped window designs at Lyveden New Bield
It was his son, Francis Tresham who links the Tresham family to the gunpowder plot. Francis was one of 13 men plotting to blow up the Houses of Parliament. However the plan failed and Francis Tresham was arrested and executed at the Tower of London.

The full story of Lyveden and the link with the gunpowder plot will be told through performance art, projection, music, lighting and fireworks on the 5th and 6th of November.

Tickets are now on sale and going fast!
To buy tickets and for more information see here.