• Length: 1:51
• Year: 2010
• Production time: <24 hours
• Produced for: THAC 7
• Theme: Unexpected
• Camera: Panasonic Camcorder NV-GS17EG
• Programs: Magix Video Deluxe 2007/2008
Behind the Scenes
THAC – Be a minimalist wherever possible
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. Since 24 hours are not much time to develop and shoot a film from scratch, here are some useful basic tips and tricks for your (first) THAC entry:
- Limit the number of sets you want to shoot. You will probably not be able to construct ten different exotic locations, rather try to use one main set where nearly all the action takes place, preferably an already built one. This means that you should be able to film from several different angles, so consider that when building it. In our example nearly the entire movie takes place at a poker table with a black background, except for thethe last shot, a bedroom, filmed from one perspective only.
- An epic tale with dragons and wizards taking place in several different times? Sounds like a nice idea, but not for THAC, try simpler!
- Try to re-use camera perspectives. Ask yourself, whether it’s really important to switch the camera to the other side of the set, most of the time you can just move it subtly and shoot from a similar perspective. Lots of the shots in The Game were used twice, especially when somebody flips in a chip: first you see the table, then a close-up of some kind and finally the flipping chip from the first perspective.
- Don’t over-animate yourself. Of course a twenty second opening with eight walking minifigures makes a nice impression, but that’s about all you will be able to animate in the time given. Try to avoid time-consuming animations like long walk cycles or moving multiple things simultaneously.
- Super complicated sound effects and an own soundtrack? Rather not, as you are already going to spend a bunch of time animating and editing the footage. Look at your script and ask yourself what the really important sound effects are and prioritise: which are the ones you are going to do first? If you have some time left at the end, cool, then you can do the ones you left out till now.
- We even used live-action for time-saving purposes. Although some brickfilmers completely reject this concept, why not save some animation or post-production time by filming a zoom out in real time (opening shot) or how somebody slowly looks at his cards?
- If you are looking for more tips and tricks for THAC, have a look at the making-off of our other THAC brickfilms.
• The THAC 7 contest took place on January 2nd and 3rd 2010. The theme was “unexpected” 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 yellow and a black brick touching each other.
• Concerning the rank: We ended up somewhere in the middle (can’t remember the exact place unfortunately) out of 71 participants. No need to say that we were very motivated to continue participating in future THACs, as this has been a very entertaining experience.
• Initially, we intended to use Lego pieces for the cards, but we had to realize they were just too bulky. Although the manufacturing of the cards took quite some (ink jet printer) time we were able to do the whole film without being pushed for time too hard. We even slept more than 7 hours that night…!
• The fly at the beginning is a built-in special effect in the Magix program we used. We stumbled upon it towards the end of the editing process and thought that it would fit the atmosphere rather well.
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