This is the first shot from my "Goblin" (working title) short movie - the animation is a bit jerky, which I blame on my lack of experience and my decision to shoot on Twos - at this point I am not quite up to shooting Ones yet.  I am a 48 year old newbie . . .

There is a bit of chattering going on, and of course plenty of flickering.  I am using fluorescent bulbs, which may have helped a bit, but power fluctuations are going to be a real issue for me in my basement studio.

More to come as time allows - and I welcome all comments and suggestions!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcTWD-tPXkk&feature=youtu.be

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Nice shot!  Animation is much better than I was expecting from your modest description.  

I always see a slight steppiness in footage shot on twos (12 or 12 1/2 moves per second, not so much at 15 moves per sec), but it doesn't have to be chattery.  The little bit you do have is probably from moving the puppet an uneven amount - to get rid of that you really have to check the frame in the framegrabber against the last 2 or 3 frames shot, and make corrections before shooting it if necessary.  What I mean is - how does the amount you just moved it compare to the amount you moved last frame?  Is it the same?  If it's more, is that because you are accelerating and moving a bit more each frame, or was it a small move, a bigger move, a small move again?  That will always chatter.  I also have to watch all parts of the puppet - the hand can be moving in a beautiful smooth arc, but if that was achieved by moving from the shoulder on one frame, and more from the elbow on the next, I get chatter.  If I got a bit moving in a direction I hadn't intended, I make sure I follow through with it over the next few frames,  and ease it off gently rather than stopping right away.  Changes in direction need to be in a curve, not a sudden right angle, to come up as smooth.  But you probably know this stuff so apologies for getting pedantic.

I had to animate on twos for someone  recently (not something I have much experience with), and to me it seemed less forgiving - any errors stand out even more than on ones.  

Great set and great character, so good that's why I'm being super-fussy about the animation, just as you are.  You are off to a good start, that's amazing for a first shot.

Fluoro lights shouldn't change brightness with minor fluctuations in power, unless they are a dimmable type.  But they do have a rapid flicker of their own, so you need a slow exposure to even it out.  I like 1/2 second or longer. 

Nick,

Thanks so very much for the advice and the compliments - both are truly appreciated. Animating on Ones seemed beyond my ability at this point, but I must say, it does seem like it would help.

I understand what you are saying (on an intellectual level) regarding the uneven moves and following through on arcs from shot to shot - but actually applying that to my next session at the animation table will be the real test.  I bit of more than I could chew at one sitting with this first time project!

Trying to slow my exposure rate down will require an adjustment in f-stop - which for some reason I am unable to do in Dragon Frame - or reducing the overall light level. This is what I get for being less than camera savy. I must try something, or will end up having to correct each shot in Photoshop.

Cheers!


StopmoNick said:

Nice shot!  Animation is much better than I was expecting from your modest description.  

I always see a slight steppiness in footage shot on twos (12 or 12 1/2 moves per second, not so much at 15 moves per sec), but it doesn't have to be chattery.  The little bit you do have is probably from moving the puppet an uneven amount - to get rid of that you really have to check the frame in the framegrabber against the last 2 or 3 frames shot, and make corrections before shooting it if necessary.  What I mean is - how does the amount you just moved it compare to the amount you moved last frame?  Is it the same?  If it's more, is that because you are accelerating and moving a bit more each frame, or was it a small move, a bigger move, a small move again?  That will always chatter.  I also have to watch all parts of the puppet - the hand can be moving in a beautiful smooth arc, but if that was achieved by moving from the shoulder on one frame, and more from the elbow on the next, I get chatter.  If I got a bit moving in a direction I hadn't intended, I make sure I follow through with it over the next few frames,  and ease it off gently rather than stopping right away.  Changes in direction need to be in a curve, not a sudden right angle, to come up as smooth.  But you probably know this stuff so apologies for getting pedantic.

I had to animate on twos for someone  recently (not something I have much experience with), and to me it seemed less forgiving - any errors stand out even more than on ones.  

Great set and great character, so good that's why I'm being super-fussy about the animation, just as you are.  You are off to a good start, that's amazing for a first shot.

Fluoro lights shouldn't change brightness with minor fluctuations in power, unless they are a dimmable type.  But they do have a rapid flicker of their own, so you need a slow exposure to even it out.  I like 1/2 second or longer. 

it looks really good. i want to know more. keep updated



David Geister said:

Trying to slow my exposure rate down will require an adjustment in f-stop - which for some reason I am unable to do in Dragon Frame

Are you using a manual lens? If so then the computer can't change the f-stop - you need to do that by turning the iris ring on the lens itself. Or if it's an automatic lens that Dragonframe can't control for whatever reason, you should be able to do it through the camera's menu system.

Then you'll also need to fiddle with the exposure time to get the light level you want. It just took me a little messing around, looking at the manual and then making adjustments until I learned how to set the aperture I want and then adjust shutter time to get a good exposure. You want to set up so that your viewfinder window shows the exposure meter and histogram - then adjust exposure time and watch the meter until you get it just about centered on 0. 

But enough technical mumbo-jumbo! That's a very impressive shot! Yes, just a little jitter here and there, but as Nick said, not nearly as bad as you made it sound. 4 or 5 practice shots keeping his advice in mind and you'll be animating like a pro!

You didn't  just move the puppet, you definitely animated it with a lot of infused character. Set was awesome. Getting the proper exposure can be tricky, let us know how it worked out. Can't wait for the next scene!

Super nifty! I loved the waving flag in the background, too. Was that shot live, or is it a bit of animation?

If you are using a manual lens with the aperture ring on the lens barrel, that is where you set the f-stop.  You won't be able to set it in Dragonframe, or any other framegrabber.  This is best for animation, the camera has no control so it can't try to do automatic adjustments.  (oh, just read Strider's reply, he's covered this.)

Come to think of it, that might be why you are getting flicker.  Canon EOS lenses, and Nikon DSLR kit lenses, have no aperture control on the lens.  It is handled by the camera (and Dragonframe, working through the camera).  That may mean the lens is also opening up between exposures to give you a nice bright view - great for stills, but not so good for animation because there is a risk the lens may not stop down exactly in time, each time you take a shot.   

What camera are you using?  For Canon DLSR bodies, other brands of lens are best - I use Olympus OM lenses with an adapter, or manual Nikon lenses with an adapter.  On a Nikon DSLR body I partly unscrew the manual lens to make it stay stopped down all the time.  The live view is a bit darker but it's worth it.


Nick -

I am using Dragonframe and a Nikon D5000 with a manual lens on in place of the autofocus, so I can't blame that. 

This afternoon I adjusted the aperture to f22 and lengthened the shutter speed to 1.3 secs and it may have helped a bit.

Thanks again!

StopmoNick said:

If you are using a manual lens with the aperture ring on the lens barrel, that is where you set the f-stop.  You won't be able to set it in Dragonframe, or any other framegrabber.  This is best for animation, the camera has no control so it can't try to do automatic adjustments.  (oh, just read Strider's reply, he's covered this.)

Come to think of it, that might be why you are getting flicker.  Canon EOS lenses, and Nikon DSLR kit lenses, have no aperture control on the lens.  It is handled by the camera (and Dragonframe, working through the camera).  That may mean the lens is also opening up between exposures to give you a nice bright view - great for stills, but not so good for animation because there is a risk the lens may not stop down exactly in time, each time you take a shot.   

What camera are you using?  For Canon DLSR bodies, other brands of lens are best - I use Olympus OM lenses with an adapter, or manual Nikon lenses with an adapter.  On a Nikon DSLR body I partly unscrew the manual lens to make it stay stopped down all the time.  The live view is a bit darker but it's worth it.

f-22?  I like to stop down, but I usually settle for f-11 or f-16.  At f-22 with my lens partly unscrewed, the live view gets too dark to see much. 

Looking forward to your next shot!

What he said - plus at f-22 I usually need to keep my shutter open for like 15 to 20 seconds! But it looks like you have a lot more light on your set than I do. 

Most lenses don't work very well at either end of the scale - wide open or stopped all the way down. It makes light do weird things inside the lens. Stopped down is usually not as bad as wide open (which causes a lot of excess light to bounce around in there and can make shots look washed out among other problems), and some lenses work quite well stopped all the way down. But it really does darken the live view so badly it's like trying to animate in pitch blackness. 


I am thinking I should try to put it at f-16 and see if 1 second exposure gets me where I need to go.  I just really want to kill that flickering!
StopmoNick said:

f-22?  I like to stop down, but I usually settle for f-11 or f-16.  At f-22 with my lens partly unscrewed, the live view gets too dark to see much. 

Looking forward to your next shot!


I do seem to have plenty of light - maybe too much . . .
Strider said:

What he said - plus at f-22 I usually need to keep my shutter open for like 15 to 20 seconds! But it looks like you have a lot more light on your set than I do. 

Most lenses don't work very well at either end of the scale - wide open or stopped all the way down. It makes light do weird things inside the lens. Stopped down is usually not as bad as wide open (which causes a lot of excess light to bounce around in there and can make shots look washed out among other problems), and some lenses work quite well stopped all the way down. But it really does darken the live view so badly it's like trying to animate in pitch blackness. 

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