• Length: 0:59
• Year: 2010
• Production time: 7 hours
• Produced for: THAC 8, awarded 1st place
• Theme: Ambition
• Camera: Panasonic Camcorder HDC-TM20
• Programs: Magix Video Deluxe 15 Plus
Behind the Scenes
THAC – Extreme time pressure edition
For those of you, who don’t know THAC: It’s the Twenty-Four-Hour-Animation-Contest on Bricks in Motion, which takes place each year, usually in December or January. In 2010 the Contest took place during a weekend in late December. Unfortunately, we were away on Saturday, which meant that we were only able to shoot and edit the whole thing on Sunday for about seven hours. If you ever find yourself in the same situation, here are the tips and tricks that saved us (works of course as well for a “normal” THAC):
• Clean and prepare your studio beforehand. You want to have everything ready to shoot; this means that you have to clean your table from any junk or non-film-related stuff that’s been lying there since the last THAC. Plug in your camera, set it onto the tripod, check the connection with your computer and let windows do its 9’000 updates. Also prepare a virtual folder for all the data that will be coming in once THAC starts as well as a new project in your editing program. The goal is that you can enter your room and start filming within a matter of as few minutes as possible.
• Create a detailed script and stick to it. Some people underestimate the power of an in-depth script, although this might save you a lot of precious time. We are not saying it should be a chef d’oeuvre of great artistic quality, but it should contain as much details as necessary. It helps with the story, since when written down you can easily share it with others and maybe detect some continuity flaws or general problems. Most of the time that’s also when you realize an idea may not be doable with Lego pieces, but since you are at an early stage of production you can figure out a way to work around it and adapt accordingly. Once you have a good script put it into action and stick to it, don’t change it after every scene, otherwise your whole preparation work was for the birds.
• One set to shoot them all. Ideally the action takes place in only one location which can be seen from multiple perspectives. If you are under extreme time pressure try to use as many pre-built sets as possible. For example, we didn’t have to create any new set for Love’s Labour; we just took two lego houses, added a street and some cars and were ready to go.
• Be the minimalistic friend of a minimalist. Your goal is to tell a story, the less time you have the more you have to focus on the important elements of the narration.
• If you are looking for more tips and tricks in general for THAC, have a look at the making-off of our other THAC brickfilms.
• The Contest took place on December 18th and 19th 2010. The theme was “Ambition” and the mod element, which is an element that has to be present in every frame, to ensure you did the whole movie in 24 hours, was a red and a green brick touching each other.
• We managed to limit the amount of camera angles to nine different perspectives.
• The shooting itself took about four and a half hours.
• This film marked the first time we used our own original music, thanks to the latest member in our brickfilming family: Markus. He composed the very catchy soundtrack for this and nearly all of the following films.
• We doubted till the very end that we would make it on time. Fortunately, the deadline was postponed by an hour since the topic had been announced one hour later as planned. Thanks to this incident we were able to somehow finish our project in time, although this nearly involved a nervous breakdown at the end: Everything was finished, we just needed to still render and upload the movie - which, of course, wasn’t what our editing software had in mind: After a long and very persuasive argument with our computer we were finally able to get it done; a few minutes before the deadline.
• It goes without saying that we were very relieved and happy to have accomplished this challenge. Once the results were out we couldn’t believe at first to have won the contest. We were and still are stunned about this. Instead of trying to describe the ecstatic state we were in after this extremely unexpected news let’s just say this: It marked the perfect end to our very productive brickfilm year 2010.