Category Archives: Principal Photography

Got a New Green-Screen!

It’s been slow news for the past two month, but all that is changing.

I had ordered a green screen from and it arrived earlier this week. It’s a massive 10 by 12 feet (compared to the other screen I had that was 8 by 8 feet) and cost 20 dollars. Add thirty dollars for shipping and ten dollars for customs clearance and the total cost ended up coming to just over sixty dollars. I don’t feel like that’s too much money to spend. It was important for me to have the correct green to key out.

So it came as a surprise to me when, upon unwrapping the packaging, I found out that the green screen was significantly darker than the last one I had used. I’m not complaining. I have to test it out first. I was just taken aback. Maybe because after shooting two scenes and having some difficulties getting a solid key on some shots I’m realizing I may have been using the wrong green.

According to, to obtain a perfect key you need to light the green screen evenly and have a screen that’s as close to pure green as possible. Sounds fairly simple but I think in practice there are other factors to take into consideration such as the how the color of the lights you are using to light the screen may modify the color of the screen itself.

Without getting into specifics, if you are using a DV camera connected to a computer you should be able to use software to check whether your green screen will key out using a chroma vectoroscope. I don’t have either so I guess the only way for me to find out will be to test it out. Before that I need to have the screen ironed to remove folds and I also need to install a rod to support the screen in place.

Before I resume shooting (or testing for that matter), I need to buy lights. I found two types of red-reads in town. One type is Chinese and the other is German. Both use the same bulbs which are available in plenty, but the Chinese lights have a lifespan of a few years while the German red-heads apparently last forever. I’m not picky, so I might get the Chinese lights (unless anyone raises any objection between now and next Saturday).



The Damage Report 4

…lack of damage last month. Not to worry there will be more news soon.

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Posted by on September 4, 2008 in Principal Photography


This just in…

…and now we have some  complications.

  1. 1. After shooting the drumming scenes Maena (bless him) needed his lights and green screen back so I have to find some way to substitute these. Fortunately I am starting a new scene, so I’m not too worried about switching lights as opposed to doing the same in the middle of a scene. The drumming scenes were fundamental to the whole film and having the Lowel lights and the screen made shooting it a lot more painless. The new green screen consists 2 pieces of joined cloth with a huge seam in between. It suck, but will have to do for now.
  2. Olokut just broke his shoulder, and the Omulosi puppet lost some fingers after the drumming sequences. I need to ensure that both puppets are structurally sound before shooting.
  3. I begin production on an animated series in September so this gives me five weeks left to shoot. No pressure.


The drumming scenes are looking great!

I am now gearing up for the first (sequential) scenes in the film right now. I want to start shooting on monday. I found out that Olokut’s shoulder was broken yesterday and this made me strip down both arms for re-building. I will also make an extra set of hands just in case they need replacement during shooting.

I am also designing a chicken for use in the first scenes. I had to build two actually, one for close-ups and one that Olokut will carry and throw on his bicycle.

The bicycle is a very important part of the story. I got it from a wire-maker in Kisumu who specialises in making them. Initially I hadn’t planned to have it in the film, but I looked at the storyboard and felt that having it in would be potentially interesting for the film. Then I looked at the bicycle and saw that it fit Olokut perfectly. I made slight modifications so that It could be animated, but that little bicycle model was a godsend.


The Damage Report 2

So far I am in the region of three and a half minutes out of 12. I’m still closing in on finishing three scenes, but that’s because the I’m still animating the drumming sequence. I was going to cut it short to move on to other scenes; In fact, the footage I have now is just enough to tell the story; but after reviewing the assembly Thursday, I really felt that it needed to be the original length so that the audience could enjoy the performance. It felt like it needed that extra bit so that it becomes a truly complete scene. I also took the time to repeat one shot that I felt was really important to the whole story, but wasn’t animated to my satisfaction. I feel really happy with the scene now and that’s a good thing considering that it is one of the biggest scenes in the film and one of the most technically challenging. Having said that I’m out of patience and short of time so I want to wrap up the additional shots and start work on the other scenes.

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Posted by on July 5, 2008 in Principal Photography


The Damage Report 1

Welcome to the first principal photography damage report. I have done over a minute of animation in one month which brings the total tally of minutes photographed to two out of ten (or a possible fifteen). I am almost done with 2 scenes. These for me are the hardest since they involve drumming.

I worry for this month since I will be switching scenes so I will need to break to develop additional peripheral characters like a chicken and a cow for example.

I feel good about last month since I finally completed all my voice recordings last week and I’m feeling pretty good about it. I think the actors did a really great job and went out of the way to lend some credibility to my dialog which I felt was a bit dodgy in places. You do sympathize with the characters just hearing them speak. This simplifies things for me as an animator but then again I feel like I have to work that much harder on the poses just to capture all the nuances in the acting. News on the cast will be forthcoming soon.


Animate, Break, Fix, Animate

Sad Man

That’s the way things go. I’m closing in on having 2 scenes done by the end of the month. So far so good. I just had a really good shot destroyed thanks to my battery running out of charge mid-shot. I have to do another take and make it even better.

Every shot has it’s own challenges and there are many little ways to fix te problems that every shot unravels. It’s like a path of discovery that ends either when you have learned something new and have a really good shot or when you just have to abandon ship (hoping to fix it in post) and then moving on to the next shot. Luckily I haven’t had to deal with the latter yet.

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Posted by on May 20, 2008 in Principal Photography