In Production: BUTTER MOUTH - A Short Film


Friday, 4 December 2009


The film had it's first screening a little while ago and some critics came to watch. Here are the reviews:

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Wrap ping

The finishing touches are happening in different pockets of the world now. Sound, Music, Colour Grading and Edit tweaks. The set of the film is having a well earned break, not to mention the puppets who are now reclining comfortably in their sofas and armchairs.

In one pocket in London, Neel and co. were composing sound effects at a foley studio...

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Lights at the end

The past month has been solidly dedicated to animation. On my various visits to the studio vast amounts of progress were made, the characters shifting their positions across the set. Sometimes in their original forms, sometimes just a pair of arms rigged to a block of pine, "Mama" and "Clara have lived the story of Butter Mouth in slow fragmented shifts.

Disaster struck at the beginning of August when a brand new hard drive that was to back up overflowing laptop crashed good and proper and not even forensic technicians could salvage the 4 days of animation that were lost. Quite a serious blow to a project on the tightest of deadlines.
But it is the nature of technology to fight creation.
And despite the tragedy, Andrew and Andy recovered and re-shot the footage even more beautifully than before.

Now things are wrapping up. The last few shots will be complete this week and sound artists will begin their work on creating an appropriate atmosphere in the Butter Mouth house.

The storyboard, marked with crosses where shots are complete.

Disarray on set. There is only one immaculate viewpoint, and that it through the camera.

"Mama's" arms touching Clara without her body getting in the way.

triple hard drive operation. playing it safe.

attachment of eyelids

The modern way to get home fast

Monday, 27 July 2009

stop frame stop

Ah! It's so rewarding to see this world we've made come to life. Animator Andy Biddle has joined us and he has nimble fingers and magical skills. Watching him animate puts smiles on our faces and I often find myself gawping in disbelief. He is working at an amazing rate of 12 seconds (average) per day, that being more or less 300 frames.
The photos below are a look at the set up before the scene is animated. The model is screwed in to the floor through her feet and socks and shoes. Most of the scenery is also attached to the floor as it would be disastrous for it to shift during the shoot. The house lights are on in these pictures, whereas during filming the main light source comes from the wall lamps in the set. Occasionally another light is used against a mirror or white sheet to highlight important features in the composition.

Trick wallpaper used for the reflection in the mirror on set. Meanwhile, the entire wall is removed so that the camera can be positioned for shooting.

Andy at work

A Gibbs marking the shot list

Z Gibbs on the GIBBS chair drawing storyboard frames

Friday, 17 July 2009

Monday, 13 July 2009

In the dark room

There's always a bit of quiet time and on this occasion it has much to do with how intense the animating has become. Due to regulating the light and working conditions in the new animating partition of the room, it's not been possible to photograph the animators at work... yet.
So far about 40 seconds of footage has been animated and the animators, Nadine and Andrew, have been so far working in sequence. Therefore they are currently concentrated in the hallway.
This is the narrowest section of the set and so it's fair to say that it's also the most difficult to work with. And with these delicate problems come interesting tricks of the camera. For example, where it seems a whole wall is reflected in the mirror, only a tiny section is used so that the camera can assume it's ideal position, where the wall would originally have stood.

Thanks to this hot summer and sealed windows at the studio, we've installed a couple of fans to keep the animators from passing out. It has, in fact, become extremely cosy at studio 9 with the dim lights and dark corners. It's somewhat like a mole's home.

More pictures will be added shortly.
Thanks for your patience.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009


We're filming!
Setting up the shots is a time consuming business. Ramps are being built and the camera is squeezing in to tight corners to take great shots. Nadine has joined the team and is working with Andrew on set, while the rest of us have been sectioned off by a giant curtain where we sit like moles underground and piece together molds of the character heads. We are preparing many in advance because each one will experience a great deal of wear and tear throughout the filming process.