Getting close... while far away (without post-cropping)

Hi folks, At the moment, I want to get really close to the set with the camera three feet away (otherwise it's too close to step in front of to animate). I've looked at extension tubes and close-up filters, and none of those seem like they would solve the problem.

If possible, I don't want to digitally crop the image to make it bigger. Kind of confused how all of the behind the scenes pics from different movies always show the camera quite far from the set. That works on a large set that you want to see just a small area of, but what about when your whole entire framing area is only a little larger than the camera itself?

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About your flicker - 

It probably is you either reflecting light onto the set or blocking it. It's a good idea to get a real feel for just how susceptible light is to small changes - I remember my introduction to that fact was once when I sat in front of the computer with my camera on and aimed at the set and suddenly caught something out of the corner of my eye onscreen as I was moving my hands in to animate - there was some kind of subtle but really noticeable change. Confused, I sat and moved my hands back and forth and watched the monitor - as they approached the puppet light was reflecting strongly off my skin up under his face and completely changing the way he looked. I was amazed at how reflective my pasty white skin is! 

After making that realization I understood the importance of staying way outside of the range of any incidental light near the set. Even sources you don't suspect ARE sources - walls etc. (your shirt) are subtlely reflecting light onto the set all the time, and if you stand in between the source and the set but are in a slightly different position each frame, it's flicker city! 

My recommendation is to play around - just move your hands around under the lights and watch what happens on the monitor - see how they reflect light and how they can block those incidental reflected lights that you weren't even aware were playing a role in your lighting scheme. 

In fact, now since making these discoveries I often position a piece of paper as a reflector to get some fill light where there's a too-dark shadow on the side of a puppet's face or whatever. Powerful tool. 

Excellent point - I am using 1 second  or longer exposure with fluorescent lights in the hope that it will reduce flicker.  However, I have been moving back and forth behind the camera - and I have a pair of old metal filing cabinets behind me - I wouldn't be at all surprised if we were getting  various reflections of that grey painted surface.

Strider said:

About your flicker - 

It probably is you either reflecting light onto the set or blocking it. It's a good idea to get a real feel for just how susceptible light is to small changes - I remember my introduction to that fact was once when I sat in front of the computer with my camera on and aimed at the set and suddenly caught something out of the corner of my eye onscreen as I was moving my hands in to animate - there was some kind of subtle but really noticeable change. Confused, I sat and moved my hands back and forth and watched the monitor - as they approached the puppet light was reflecting strongly off my skin up under his face and completely changing the way he looked. I was amazed at how reflective my pasty white skin is! 

After making that realization I understood the importance of staying way outside of the range of any incidental light near the set. Even sources you don't suspect ARE sources - walls etc. (your shirt) are subtlely reflecting light onto the set all the time, and if you stand in between the source and the set but are in a slightly different position each frame, it's flicker city! 

My recommendation is to play around - just move your hands around under the lights and watch what happens on the monitor - see how they reflect light and how they can block those incidental reflected lights that you weren't even aware were playing a role in your lighting scheme. 

In fact, now since making these discoveries I often position a piece of paper as a reflector to get some fill light where there's a too-dark shadow on the side of a puppet's face or whatever. Powerful tool. 

It's a good idea to flag off any light that's hitting near where you're standing to animate. A flag is just something that can be placed in front of a light and positioned to block off light falling where you don't want it - I use pieces of rectangular foamboard or cardboard attached to some thick armature wire (like 1/8"). 

Here's a shot showing one of my flags:

Click Here to see it on Flickr.

Once on Flickr, click on it again or on Actions/View All Sizes to see the really big version. 

You can make flags bigger than this if necessary or use foil to block light (but try to keep it far enough from the lights so it doesn't get too hot - same for the flags). You might need to flag off several lights before you're immersed in a pool of merciful darkness. And don't try to do it in the middle of a shot obviously, you'll wreck your lighting. 

Another option to keep in mind - you can use a remote keypad - wait, you have Dragonframe, so you've already got one with a nice long leash! That means you can step into some dark corner each time before popping off the frame, where no incidental light could possibly seek you out. Or hang a black curtain and stand behind that each time.

Ask Nick sometime to tell you stories about doing "animator's squats" - actually ducking under the table for each shot because there was no lightsafe zone where he could stand - he said the next day his thighs were aching! We do what we gotta do.. 

Strider- sorry about the name changes.  As you know, this site is now indexed by Google, and I was trying different names temporarily to see which ones Google picked up.

If I'm gonna be known on the internet for anything, I want this site at the top of the search results, because the posts here are the truest version of me you'll find anywhere, and it's the one place someone hasn't manipulated my name in some way to make me look bad.


Ok - Gotcha!  

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