Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Making of "Watercolor Warriors"

What would a reality show like "Watercolor Warriors" be without a behind-the-scenes special feature?

(Video link) Here's a clip that didn't make it into the final production.

At the Watercolor Warriors studio, we're always pushing the technical envelope to give you those sophisticated shots, like those slowly drifting tracking shots that you see in the high class productions. But as you can see, we're on a budget and we're working out the bugs.

The biggest challenge is that the production team consists entirely of me. Besides painting, I'm also trying to multi-task as director, cameraman, audio recorder, and editor, since Jeanette would rather just keep life simple and just paint.
See the Watercolor Warriors episode "Bees, Rain, and Wind" on the blog or on YouTube


Laura said...

What a clever idea! Your family engineering genes are definitely NOT recessive...

Daroo said...


I'm no engineer, but I'm more than happy to speculate ignorantly -- it looks like a vibration problem -- so making your mount stiffer might not the fix the problem. The heavier camera might work (if your motor can take it) but a softer way of mounting might absorb the vibration better. Also you could mount the camera lower so that the lens (near the nodal point) is in line with the string's attachment point.


James Gurney said...

Daroo, I think you're right. It will still vibrate with a stiffer camera mount, though maybe not as much. I think the vibration is coming from the motor and it's getting transmitted down the string. I wonder if it would help if I had a little section of rubber band at the end of the string to dampen the vibration.

Karen said...

Yet another reason LEGOs are amazing! Very inventive idea! And great tips from your other video about the magnet in the water cup and the metal clip! You and your fans are just full of imaginative ideas!

As for the rubber band idea, I think there's something to it but I don't know it it would dampen the vibration enough to make the video usable. It's definitely worth a try, though. Another thing to try might be to dampen the vibration between the dolly and the camera itself.

Keep up the excellent videography - and the experiments!

Lester Yocum said...

James, your posts are always so much fun. And a great learning experience, too.

bval said...

a couple ideas--although I'm not sure if they'll help as I haven't tried them out myself.
The bumping may also be happening because of the line coiling itself on the spool. If the line was fed out of the housing instead of coiled that may help. Also have you tried creating a sled for the camera? Or re-orienting the wheel axles so that the wheels are coming from 45degree angles (http://www.avchduser.com/articles/centi_dolly.jsp) that should redirect some of the forces. Another easy thing is to make sure the camera is zoomed out all the way, that will definitely reduce some of the bumping. And depending on what editing system you are using there may be a tool for dampening vibrations...a lot, yes, but I hope it sends you in the right direction.
It's fun to see how you these different work-arounds...it gave my wife a good chuckle too


James Gurney said...

Thanks for the feedback and ideas.

Karen, Steve will be happy to know people are using his magnet idea. If the vibration is coming from the motor, I think it would transmit through the rubber band unless it was just stretchy enough, but not too stretchy. Have to test that idea.

Bval, I could use a different shaped pulley to avoid any jolts from uncoiling. I've seen those PVC dolly sleds, and those might help if the vibration is coming from the bearings. Also saw the Frugal Filmmaker's dolly wheels made from used inline skate wheels. I'll try a hand-rolling test of the cart on a piece of glass, and that should isolate whether the jitter is coming from the motor or the wheels.

In HD, it sure doesn't take much vibration to show up!

Beth said...

That is so cool! I wondered how you had gotten the shot.


Anonymous said...

I made a few holograms in my college days using a simple homemade setup and a laser pointer pen. The key to a successful hologram is dampening all environmental vibration. For me that was car traffic coming from the road outside my building. The solution was to put the setup on inner tubes. I believe the base of my setup was made with bricks so it had a little heft. Not sure if this will help any with your progress. Those were fun days...Best of luck with your design!

Meera Rao said...

Very cool ;) creativity in everything you do !

Mark Heng said...

All great ideas...Have you thought of stabilization software? Youtube features enhancements that you can apply to your videos within the browser, and there are probably plugins available for whatever program you're using to edit you movies.