• Length: 2:57
• Year: 2012
• Production time: 3 months
• Produced for: Steinerei 2012 awarded 1st place by the jury, 1st place by the brickfilmers & 3rd place by the audience
• Theme: Illusion
• Camera: Panasonic Camcorder HDC-TM20
• Programs: Adobe Creative Suite
Behind the Scenes
Dynamic fight scene
After the running scenes in “The Librarian” we wanted to take this kind of heavy camera movement shots to another level. Since the end had to be rather dramatic and sad, we decided that the bodyguards had to beat up our poor protagonist. First thing when tackling such a fight scene is a good script, in which you state exactly how many shots from which perspective need to be filmed. In general you also want to take some spare shots, in case you need additional footage during the editing process. A good idea when filming is to follow the movement of the hits, e.g. the camera reaches back with the bodyguards arm, then comes forwards as he is striking. Swap camera angles. Now we still follow the hand, see how it hits the body and afterwards continue in that direction to see how the victim convulses in pain. To enhance the dynamic effect you can also add a little bit of directional or motion blur. Since lego minifigures are rather bulky and not ideal to animate fistfight scenes you really need to work with cuts and camera angles (try to stay very close to the action) in order to create this dynamic look. Also remember to give the viewer a break with some more static scenes afterwards because he might not want or be able to watch a three minutes, non-stop super intense martial arts clip.
Very simple, yet effective little effect for your next press conference: Cameras’ flash lights. What you need for this is basically just an otherwise transparent layer with a lens flare on it. If your editing program doesn’t have such a built-in effect, create the layer in Photoshop or Gimp. Secondly, you want the centre of the flare on the camera taking pictures. The third step consists in adding key frames to the brightness parameter: We used approx. 300% brightness I think, fade in for about one frame and fade out for two or three frames. Just experiment a little to get the effect you want. In general the whole effect shouldn’t be longer than a couple of frames, since otherwise it looks rather unrealistic for a flashlight. If you want to be even fancier you can mask objects in the foreground which are in front of the flashlight, thus blocking the whole flash, e.g. the car in front of the media. Just mask the object and put in on top of the lens flare, though we also recommended to blur the otherwise very sharp mask a bit in order to soften the edges.
• We produced “A Future for All” for the Steinerei 2012 (theme: Illusion) in which the film was awarded 1st place by the jury, 1st place by the brickfilmers & 3rd place by the audience. Although we had some expectations after last year’s participation, this astonishing result completely blew our minds.
• Our first thoughts on the theme “Illusion” were, like we did many times before, short clips with a funny pointe at the end. After we produced a rather abstract movie with “The Librarian” however, we decided to go a bit further this time and create our first film with a truly sad ending. Since this was a novelty for us, we were concerned about the dramatic composition and whether it would really shake the audience emotionally: The result was an outrageous crying emoticons count in the YouTube comment section, so we probably succeeded…!?
• Since the protagonist in “A Future for All” is a homeless person, a character the audience should feel empathy for, it was important to somehow show how this plastic minifigure is different from the others, poor and vulnerable, at the mercy of some despotic authorities. The idea we came up with, was to add some non-lego elements in his environment, like his sleeping mattress or the blood at the end, to make him look chubbier than he already did.
• Another such element we stumbled upon rather accidentally was the dusty plate used for the dark back alley in which our protagonist is thrown in multiple times. We did some shots with a brand new one but it looked way to clean for this kind of dirty trash can entourage. Luckily we had, and probably still have, some sets we hadn’t touched for a couple of months and which were just gathering dust in some shelf, perfect to create the desired atmosphere.
• Initially we wanted to use speech bubbles for the politician during his discourse. In these bubbles containing not text but pictures we planned to put the usual campaign promises, like increase of the wealth, more jobs or a better educational system. However, after we implemented the flash lights we realized the speech looked more absurd, shallow and ridiculous without any bubbles, so we rejected our original concept.