Saturday, 5 January 2013

The Shoal of Sheep A-Chasing the Wolf

Well hello to you.

I'm Martha Moopette, over from here. Ergo has asked if I would contribute towards this blog, to blog the creative process of my role in Gargantua.

He told me to put a picture of me on. Don't I look shiny and strangely oval?

So far, my role has consisted mainly of being a tad confused by the never ending changes being made to the narrative, the characters and well, the whole darn thing. This project has evolved as quickly as the speed in which a Blue Whale takes to grow to full size...and that's pretty big - and quick! In fact, it has changed so much from where it first began, (Gargantua - not the Blue Whale) that I'm still not that clued up on it presently. I shall stick for now on the present tasks that I have been set and forget about the things I've already made that have been flippantly disregarded by Mr barmy chicken legs over 'ere.

And so we begin...

And to begin with, with the brilliant brains of Sir Phizmiz & Mr Mathewson and I, we thought up a way in which we could make on video, an animated arrangement of a shoal of sheep. We wanted to create the effect of a spiralled, winding up repetition of sheep, as if they were truly like a shoal of fish swimming in sets in the ocean.

We have used green screen in video projects many times before and came to the conclusion that the best way to create this whole effect would be to use green screen again. If we somehow had the front and back cut outs of a whole sheep and stuck it to a spiralling green wire and let it spin, we hoped we could create the piece of magic we were wanting.

So sixty paper cut outs of sheep later, lots of fiddly sticking with Sellotape and voila, we had us a green wired spiral containing thirty black and white cut out sheep.

Can you see that child like picture in the background waving at you? This is one of Oblivian Substanshall's finest art works - You shall be seeing many of his pieces throughout this Gargantua trip!
The only little problem with this little contraption, is that, well basically, it was shit. The wire was too rubbish and flimsy and with the massive guilt pangs I was getting from not being able to be as dedicated to the project as I had first anticipated (with a vast amount of the sudden intake of the bread and butter jobs before Christmas) made it so I had hastily stuck the sheep on without thought to the mechanics. 

You wind the sheep backwards, twirling them around and then - pang! You let them go and they shoot/jerk/lunge forward and rapidly spin once or twice in a blink of the eye and that's it. For this to work better I'm pretty sure it would just need some better, thicker wire, have the sheep spaced out further and make the actual loops of wire wider. This would hopefully give the sheep a gentler ride. 

However, the Phizmiz (Chicken legs) had a sudden attack of a lightbulb moment the other evening, between random demands mainly from the five year old and the bubbling over broccoli. I think in part, I can be given some responsibility too, for picking such wondrous lighting (lampshades) for our house on the 28th just gone (my birthday, yes thank you very much for the wishes). I chose some special lampshades and if they hadn't been chosen Mr P would not have noticed the effect they were making upon the sheep, ergo the wall. (See what I did?!)


 Star light, star bright...
It had to be done.


Flying away

The new thought. 

Instead of filming the sheep spinning with the green screen stuck behind it (so when we put the video in the editing software we'd be able to put any background behind the sheep; the sea for example) the thought was that we may perhaps just use the shadow of the sheep spinning anyway and integrate it into the video at some point. Ta-da! Fingers crossed the whole thing works.

Righto...well...that's the sheep, but I haven't even begun talking about the Wolf mask.

This is the Wolf.

Not by the hair on my chinny chin chinstrap

Well, in fact, this is actually the template.

One of my ambitions in life is to finally make my way into the world with Ceramics. Here you see this template laying upon my newish (got it last year but haven't used it much yet) Potter's Wheel. So there's been quite a lot of clay hanging around the joint, which when I overheard some talk of a clay Wolf's mask I was on it. I do love a bit of sculpting.


So far, it obviously isn't adorned with the ornamentation I've got in mind, or ears for that matter. The plan is to lather this beauty up with some vaseline or some other lubricant (ooo-er) and then make a thinner clay cast over the top. It will be a lot thinner and smoother and will eventually be fired and then the details will be added on top. I do hope this works. I know the mask will be quite fragile as a stage prop. but as I have the main template I can make backups.

We've just thought too, that it would be good to have fur (like you see in the background from our daughter's Lion suit) around the top of the mask which the ears would then protrude out from. The thought too is that the mask would have some kind of band to go around the back of the actor's head, to keep it secure.

Chicken legs himself trying out the Wolf mask.

Well...that's that then.

Can't be boffed writing anymore. I'm tired now. And a little tiddly.

Pleased to meet you all by the way. Hope you are having a good evening.

Nighty night. 

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