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Sunday, May 03, 2009

A look at the new Minions at Work "Soundstage"

For quite some time, I've been frustrated with the limitations of my original Minions at Work "stage," where most of our photo-cartoons are shot.

If I've been doing my job right, the world of the Minions seems pretty big, but in fact, almost everything takes place on an area of bench-top only a little more than two feet square.

Not only was it small, but it was inflexible because of that red locker on the left side. It was handy to lean second wall against, but it limited my lighting and setup options considerably.

As I'm doing some major moving around in my office anyway, I decided it was time to fix things. First, the locker had to go. That gave me the entire bench-top, maybe half-again as much room as I'd had before.

But that didn't seem like enough. After some deliberation, I decided to cut up some strand-board I had on-hand and create a new, larger, top for the bench. Here's my first experimental shots on the new "stage."

It's four feet wide and 32" inches deep. That doesn't sound very big, but it's well over twice as big as I had before, and given that there's "run off" on both sides, it's a lot more flexible.

As you can see from the shot, it even let me bring in full-sized vehicles (besides the relatively tiny Minionmobile!) and still have room for set and figures around it.

Along with some new light fixtures I've added lately, I'll have a lot more flexibility with the lighting too, which is good, since the bigger stage will also need a lot more light to make use of it all.

I'm also building a new overhead "grid" system that will give me more places to mount lights and to hang props and backdrops. You can see it roughed in here, though the dimensions are subject to change. (I may also just leave it modular, so I can adjust the size for different sets.) I'm also going to need new provisions to hang cloth backdrops on the wall behind, as many of my sets are going to end up being taller as well as wider.

One other issue is that many of my backdrops are single-panels like the silver one you see here. It isn't wide enough to cover the the background. So I'll have to make new panels to match my old ones.

Work, work, work. A Minion Master's day is never done. But it's worth it, if it allows me do to more complex and varied set-ups in months to come. I hope you enjoy the results.

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