• Length: 4:12
• Year: 2010
• Production time: 5 months
• Produced for: Steinerei 2010
• Theme: Luck
• Camera: Panasonic Camcorder HDC-TM20
• Programs: Magix Video Deluxe 15 Plus, Gimp
Behind the Scenes
The Impact of Camera Perspective
When you approach a shot, something very important to take into account is the angle from which you shoot. You normally want to stay on eye-level for the action, but sometimes it can be very effective to change the angle a bit. In the beginning of “Lucky” you can see the protagonist getting chased by the men in black suits. Although all minifigures have the approx. same height, the pursuers seem to be bigger, because of the camera angle. A low-angle shot is great to make something appear taller and more threatening than it actually is, whereas a high-angle shot has the opposite effect. This means that most of the villains are introduced with low-angle shots whereas the supposedly weak protagonist is then shown form a slight high-angle perspective. The low-angle can also be emphasized by the amount of room the different minifigures take up. When a person fills half of the screen it looks much more threatening than one using only a quarter or less.
Trick the Camera
The camera usually only shows a very small amount of the actual set, which means that you have a lot of space to position elements like a scaffold to help you do the animation. In our example we used one in the scene where the protagonist walks out of his house. Since only the legs are visible, we replaced his head and fixed the height of his body in order to animate his legs with greater ease. Try to be creative when it comes down to this, since it will greatly help you to get otherwise complicated shots done.
• After our failed Steinerei participation in 2009 we were eager to start producing a valid entry for 2010. The theme “luck” was revealed quite early, only a few weeks after the Steinerei 2009 took place. We immediately started working on a story that would fit the subject and came up with the episodic tale of a very lucky man. We started to shoot some scenes in July, like the dream sequence at the beginning, and then the project lied idle for a couple of months before we resumed shooting in April. During the break we thought about other ideas as well but finally decided to go with what we had started.
• Some scenes were first shot with our old camera and had to be reshot with the HD camcorder we got only a few days later.
• It’s one of the first movies we used masks to a large extent in order to cover moving objects. Especially in the kitchen scene the objects on the table were moving constantly, so instead of fixing them on the table or reshooting the whole scene we just masked it.
• The smoke at the end was the very last thing we put into the otherwise final movie: It is a built-in Magix effect which actually shows a smoking cigar. Since it was the best we could come up with in the last days of postproduction and without smoke the scene looked kind of meagre, we just went with it.
• As some very careful spectators on YouTube noticed, this Lego town is hit by a pretty hard recession: A soda can costs 2 and a movie ticket around 100 brick-dollars.
• This movie also marks the beginning of a recurring element in our filmography: The Brick Drink! It started harmlessly: We talked about the shot in the supermarket, where the protagonist has to pick up a can from a pile, which collapses only seconds later. After some trial shots we realized it might not be clear what the naked lego pieces represented, so we had to show more explicitly that they contained some kind of soft drink. Somebody came up with Brick Drink and a few very motivated hours later we had around 25 cans of our delicious new soda. Since throwing away the labels would have been quite a waste we kept them. Somehow they managed to make an appearance in most films since then, you just have to look hard enough to find them…