Sunday, September 30, 2012

Postponed does NOT mean cancelled!

Hey Kids!

Well, the best laid plans of mice and men...(you know the old cliche, right?  Good, because I only know the first part and its implications).  I had EVERY intention of finishing and posting this next Phantom Harbor episode tonight, Sunday September, 30, 2012. was not to be.

I would give a list of excuses, but in my experience, the less said the better.  Just know this.  I am almost, nearly done and I'm sure you would agree that taking a few more days (getting it right, making it great) is better than just compromising for the sake of a random release date, only to cringe when certain scenes unfolded because I knew that they could have been better.


Without getting on a soap box too much, I would love to remind everyone what the world was like before TV challenge shows like Project: Runway, or Food Network Challenge.  Making designer clothes or a fine meal took as much time as was needed to complete the project well.  I think we live in a "Rodeo Mentality" where we wonder just how much COULD be accomplished given an arbitrary amount of time.

Well, Phantom Harbor is not fodder for this philosophy.  Not this time.  I want, scratch that...I NEED to make this everything it can be and I am not just doing it for me.  I am doing it for all of you!  I don't want you to feel shortchanged and I'm doing everything in my power to see to your entertainment and visual satisfaction.

Be patient.  It is SO much closer than you think.  It's...right...there...I can feel it with the tips of my fingers!

So until next time (very soon, I hope), I'll see you at the Harbor.

Shannon Shea

Thursday, September 27, 2012

When in doubt, make a cave miniature (Part Deux)

Hey Kids -

FYI, this is what the cave looked like lit, smoked with a fogger and photographed...

It's a bit dark, is a cave, right?
Okay, done sharing for the day! 
Until next time, I'll see you at the Harbor!

Shannon Shea

When in doubt, make a cave miniature

Hey Kids -

So today was SUPPOSED to be the big puppet shooting day, but unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, it had to be cancelled. 

Did that stop me?  For a second, yes.  I had everything ready for a day of shooting and suddenly, I had to shift gears and figure out what else I hadn't done yet.  Then in occurred to me: I had yet to build my Geckoniki cave miniature.  I could have a dozen puppet shots, but if I didn't have the miniature cave to matte them into, then I had exactly nothing. 

Now, to do this RIGHT, I would have spent a few days carving foam, making a great wooden structure, etc., but let's face it...I don't have the TIME!  So, I went to Michaels, picked up some foam core, and stopped by the grocery store and picked up a few rolls of heavy duty aluminum foil and went to work!
I started by hot gluing the foam core in a semi-circle onto a piece of black illustration board I had lying around...
Then I spray-glued crumpled aluminum foil to the foam core...
When I got to almost to the top of the foam core, I glued a big piece of cardboard on top...
Once the entire inner surface was covered in foil, I sealed a lot of the trouble seams with spray insulation foam...
Once the foam dried, I based the entire cave with flat black spray paint...
I dusted the inside with that Krylon "Stone Texture" beige spray paint and LOOKA THAT!  Instant CAVE!
So, once it is COMPLETELY dry, I'll light it to match the set; see the little hole at the top where the light is coming in?  Once I smoke up the set with my Halloween smoker, I'm hoping to get a groovy light beam!

Workin' away!  Until next time, I'll see you at the Harbor!

Shannon Shea

Saturday, September 22, 2012

I, Matte Painter

Hey Kids!

Sorry it has taken me so long to come back and update you since my 100th blog posting, but I finished the cave set, video-ed (filmed, shot, whatever) myself on it, and then took the footage back home to check it out.

During the shoot, I got the idea that I would get nutty, pull the camera back to an uncomfortable distance and shoot "off the set" which I would attempt to fill in later with a matte painting.  I did, I did, and I did!
Check out the before and after:

The foreground rocks get blurred accordingly in After Effects
More VFX elements were added and I must say that I'm proud of the overall effect!  Still more to do! Hey, but the postcards are at the printers.  I saw a proof yesterday and the printer was so excited by the artwork.  He told me it reminded him of "Land of the Lost"!  Mission accomplished!

Until next time, I'll see you at the Harbor.

Shannon Shea

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Postcard "Sketch"

Hey Kids!

So, here is the preliminary design for the new Phantom Harbor postcards I hope to be sending to the printers this week:

I do miss the days when Frank McCarthy was painting movie posters; sadly I'm no Frank McCarthy!

The painting is mostly finished.  There are some elements I need to clean up.  The copy, again, is a sketch.  Might need something a little more punchy!  What do you think? 

Anyway, back to the easel to finish this baby up!  I have a feeling that the Captain will post the finish art on his facebook page (friend "Jonas McAllister).

Until next time, I'll see you at the Harbor!

Shannon Shea

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Guest Puppeteer!

Hey Kids!

Yesterday, the great Mark Tavares made himself available to assist with some puppeteering duties for the upcoming episode.  Those of you who don't know who he is, should know that he and his partner Brett Dewey are responsible for the cool zombie stuff you see at stores like Spencer Gifts and Hot Topic!  Check out their site here:

Mark, an incredible artist and creature effects artist in his own right, proved himself invaluable in puppeteering and I must admit that now I'm spoiled!  He agreed to come back next week to help out with some other characters (if you've been paying attention, you know what I'm talking about). 

Anyway, big thanks to Mark, here he is prepping "something".  You'll just have to wait and see -

Look at him go!
We've been shooting these elements at my daughter, Molly's, studio at Raid Projects in Los Angeles.  She has been generous enough to support her old man in his creative dementia.  I start building a "cave" set in the studio on Friday!  Whoo-hoo!

Until next time, I'll see you at the Harbor!

Shannon Shea

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Tailor to a GOBLIN?

Hey Kids!

Well, wouldn't you know it? The Goblin just HAD to have his own coat.  I can't figure out why since he's all covered in fur anyway, but you know how the saying goes: The squeaky wheel gets the grease.  And there was some major squeaking!

So, I whipped up a quick pea coat for him and I must say that it will be great for the next show!  Take a look:

Eat your heart out Project: Runway!  This was made in record time!
So now he's got his coat on, and it is still warm outside; there are few things worse than sweaty, smelly goblins!

Until next time, I'll see you at the Harbor!

Shannon Shea

Friday, September 7, 2012

All Hands On Deck! Part 2

Hey Kids!

So, today turned out to be the finish/shoot of the ship deck miniature which I must say turned out looking much better than I expected:

Little paint, few cobwebs, little netting and string and it looks just like the real thing!
And how does it function you may ask?  Well, not bad, take a look at this:
There it is in the background.  The prow of the ship is a photo of the actual model that is used to extend the miniature set to completion!

And to round out this latest update, check out this frame grab of the Captain entering the Geckoniki temple.  NO, the TEXT will not be in the final film, but the image is not a photoshop picture but a frame of the movie!

See?  I try to keep my promises; it just takes me a long time to fulfill them but better late than never!

Until next time, I'll see you at the Harbor!

Shannon Shea

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

All Hands On Deck!

Hey Kids!

So, today I was doing ANOTHER test composition for this shot:

As impressive as the deck of that ship looks, let's face isn't the Sofia Maria.  Unfortunately, the scale of the ship miniature makes it virtually impossible to photograph the deck and make a usable image of it:

See what I mean?  The depth of field is so shallow that it is ridiculous to ask this poor model to do this kind of duty. So the answer became clear: Build a deck miniature that matches the model!  I'm such a pack rat that aside from buying some wooded coffee stir sticks, I had everything I needed in terms of raw materials to  build this miniature today!

Prior to having the deck glued into place...
Flooring in place!
Now, all I need to do is paint it, dress it, add the rigging and shoot the darned thing!  Preliminary tests have been VERY promising!

So, that's where we are today!  Thanks for your patience and support and...

Until next time, I'll see you at the Harbor!

Shannon Shea

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Whew! I'm just FULL of videos and tests!

Hey Kids!'s the latest test; just a test, mind you.  Wanted to get a sense of how these Geckoniki's were going to look so I put together this test shot of a Geck sentinel on a rise.  This will never be in the finished episode, but it does look good though (despite some troubles - tried to do a distortion on the rocks to make the camera move more interesting but it goes south towards the end).

Anyhow - enjoy!

And until next time, I'll see you at the Harbor!

Shannon Shea

More Video!

Hey Kids!

So, as promised I'm posting the Goblin's little announcement about the new Phantom Harbor episode coming later this month (I'm REALLY pushing for it!):

Until next time, I'll see you at the Harbor!