Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Vanni's Power Drink / Camera Dolly Built

Man with the failure I had last night and the heat still sweatin' me I would have never thought I'd have the willpower to do another test animation today. But then I did. I saw these grey bricks in the front yard lined up and it looked so much like Justin Rasch's Flea test animation that I was going to do a spoof of it with Vanni. I sketched it out on paper but it got so hot that from the first step I just decided to do a straight ahead animation and get it done with. There were only 3 bricks though haha so I had to use the 55mm and shoot up real close.

The movement is pretty crude at parts and I really need to find a garage to live in so I can animate there - the carpet is just a no-no :)

Feels nice to finally animate my own puppet. Vanni has tons of problems with range of motion but I'll be prepared next time when making another character.

Edit: Fixed my entire blog width to fit the wide embeded video :) Much roomier!

Update: I walked downstairs and my dad comes in:

Dad: You do it yet?
Me: Do what?
Dad: The thing, you finish?
Me: What thing?
Dad: *points to garage*
Me: Oh you mean the camera thing? The wood is still where you left it.
Dad: *walks away*
Dad: *comes back 5 seconds later* Ok let's go.
Me: Alright.

*click pictures to enlarge*

We used a lot of stuff sitting around the house. Pipes, all the wood, screws, washers. I bought that threaded rod + circular casings + coupling nut + regular nuts. It cost about 10 bucks since we had all the wood at home. Pretty amazing. It isn't perfect and we didn't expect it to be perfect - but its way better than I thought it was going to turn out. Towards the last inch on one side it stiffens up (and we found out why).

If you're building a camera track here are things to remember:

-Don't bend your threaded rod (I did haha)
-Don't be fancy and try to make a closed end at each head where the pipe doesn't follow all the way through (Dad really liked the closed look) It caused the most trouble and ultimately lead to that last inch stiffening. Does look nice though :)
-Make sure you know where your screws are going and how thick the wood they are going into are. Buy screw lengths accordingly.
-Sometimes simplest things give the best results.

I'm very happy with it and my dad says he'll make an even better / simpler / prettier one later after learning some mistakes here. He's actually a little ashamed of it and didn't even like that I'm putting pictures of it here. I'm just glad this is one part of stop motion that didn't take me weeks to learn and if it comes to it we can build another one in 2-3 hours.


  1. Sweet!!! How much travel you get with that thing... about 4 feet? Don't worry about that last inch... no big deal there.

    Next up... let's see it in action!!

  2. I was afraid of it being too long and in turn being too heavy because we were planning to prop it up just like the Dried Up team did. The rig is 3.5 feet but the lens' full travel length is 2-3 inches less than that.

  3. Woo, Hi Tony, I'm caught up here, wow. You're really talented and doing great! Can I borrow your dad? And your dog? Awww.

  4. Yes!! Here it is. Your camera dolly. It looks great. I might need a longer one.. will see. Thanks for posting the pictures here even if your dad didnt like it.