Monthly Archives: July 2007

So, What is Olokut About?

On a grand scale, this is what it’s about:

On a smaller scale (pun intended) it’s about a man who goes to great lengths to ensure that his son can inherit a better world than the one he lives in. I developed the idea for the contest on global warming.

I could have done a skit or something more like an animated illustration, but I really wanted to do a more cinematic piece. Something that would seem to be an extension of my previous short film, except this time in stop-motion.

So a week was spent thumbnailing, and from these thumbnails a story emerged. It was great, because this is how they initially developed cartoons in the thirties. No script. Just storyboards that were worked and re-worked until the gags were perfect. then they wrote the script. In retrospect I’m glad i did this because I may have gotten stuck somewhere in the middle if I tried to write out the script first. It was much easier for me to flesh out the idea in sketches, and then write the script. It also worked well because I could immediately trash ideas that weren’t working out well visually and and come up with better ideas. This may very well be the method I use to develop future short animations.

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Posted by on July 19, 2007 in Introduction, Pre-Production


I still think about Ding Dong-Part 2



Or work flow consisted of shooting a sequence, downloading and checking out the animation in after effects and then shooting again if necessary. This was the downside of that first Africa Animated! None of the trainers were specialists in motion (the upside, however, was that we had a TONS of creative autonomy.) In terms of available technology things advanced light years ahead in AA2 and of 3. They had very good DV cams and Stop Motion Pro animation software. Unfortunately for the second group the major catch was they had to do all their stop motion in a few days because the space was only available for a limited period. Sad.


We had to improvise rigs to animate the characters because we had not really devised a rigging solution in pre-production so we had to use loose bits of wire and pins while shooting. We ended up with rigs in about 85 percent of the shots that needed cleaning. This was done lovingly and laboriously over three weeks after the production using Photoshop. The film had about 1300 frames in total and 45 shots.


Some of the shots had a blue screens that we needed to replace. It was cool because in AA you have these 7 productions going on simultaneously with artists with a variety of skills to you’ll always find someone to help you out and that’s how I learned to key out a blue screen. I walked over to pete and got a ten minute tutorial.


A lot of color correction was done in post production by kwame to reduce flicker and add a color filter to unify the look of the film. As I recall it took about half a day to fix these color issues in post production. The sound was being handled by the MO AMIN film school. I did have a chance to watch a rough cut and give feedback and that was good.


The only thing I regret was not giving any attention to the title design until the end. Ultimately the post production guys quickly slapped together a title using Times New Roman because we were out of time.





So that’s how things went down during the Ding Dong production. In retrospect we really didn’t plan out the technical aspects of shooting it in detail. However I still think we did an O.K job considering it was our first time animating.

Africa Animated? Well they completed the third one in November last year. Launch date for the DVDs is sometime soon. I don’t know if there will be a fourth one because the management at UNESCO is sort of going through a transition so I can’t conclusively state that there will be one this year. I can’t attend another Africa Animated! workshop but I can hope that there will be one so that more artists and cartoonists can be introduced to this addictive craft of ours called animation. I can say that I met the guys from the third one and got a preview of their films and was blown away.


In conclusion that first Africa Animated was hard but it was also a lot of fun making that movie. I didn’t know enough about the craft of film making at the time, but since then I’ve been consciously making the effort to assemble a body of knowledge from sites like darkstrider, animated clay, pixelcorps and CGsociety with a view to making a new piece of animation that will be more engaging than anything I’ve done up to this point.

So that’s it. Next we get into Olokut and what it is all about. Stay tuned.







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Posted by on July 5, 2007 in Pre-Production