Hey there animation lovers and fans of all things made of bricks! Here’s another installment of our behind-the-scenes look at our video for the Steveston SalmonFest 2021! If you haven’t seen our stop-motion parade, it’s right here:
Today we’re looking at our miniature mainstage, our cool band, and our sweet dancing shark! Sharks rule. We wanted to make a reference to the various musical acts who would play the mainstage at the live version of digital Salmonfest, but ended up making a whole set.
Here’s our wide view. You can see some of our baseplates are gently used and have a curl to them. We prefer to think of them as natural contours.
Here’s our little band. I found a how-to for a little drum kit online, and something similar for the piano (which could be a little better, TBH). The blue-haired guitarist and her guitar came entirely from the Lego Store’s pick-a-fig bins. The lead singer is from an off-brand Walking Dead minifig set, with hair from the Lego Store added on. The drummer is from an off-brand The Expendables minifig set, with the hair from the Roller Disco fig from minifig Series 13. The pianist is from an off-brand generic townspeople grab-bag. Lots of diversity here. On that note, it has always been a struggle to get minifigs that look like people with darker skin tones. The movies and such that are tied to Lego are lacking in diversity, but that’s not really any good excuse. Lego is a global leader in a lot of things, including tire production, and their minifigs should better represent the faces of that same globe.
The stage itself is made of several large brown off-brand baseplates, with brown rigging mostly from the old Lego Pirates sets. The brown pillars are also off-brand, with classic brown barrels on top. Lego is awesome for having a bright range of colours, but it’s actually kind of difficult to make things in more natural tones. A generic parts bucket in all earth tones and greens would be huge, if anyone at Lego is reading this. The footlights and speakers are from Lego set #70833, Lucy’s Builder Box. It’s a carry-case based around Lucy (Wyldstyle) from the Lego movie. She’s actually in the audience.
There’s actually quite a few famous faces in the crowd. Some are easier to spot from behind, like recent NBA Hall of Fame inductee Tim Duncan. While I know that Tim has a smile on his face, this audience was actually really useful for us, because we could put minifigs with angry or frowny faces here, knowing we’d only see them from the back.
Just a couple of angry faces, but Dr. Strange looks like he’s having a good time.
Emmet and Wyldstyle are both close to the stage. Not sure why Emmet showed up to a concert wearing headphones, but hopefully it’s because he’s just come from the merch tent and has the band’s CD in his player. Still weird. Rick and The Governor from The Walking Dead (off-brand) can be seen back left, finally working out their differences over music. Gohan and Master Roshi (also off-brand) are down front.
A number of other random Walking Dead characters, zombies and dogs round out the group, including Santos L. Halper of The Simpsons fame. The open-air stage with blankets for seats was an easy build and would be great for anyone wanting to do a concert, but struggling with the venue.
Here’s Tim Duncan, the ‘Big Fundamental,’ an all-timer with a couple of MVPs and 5 championships. Want a real mind-boggler of a stat? Check out his career win %. I’m sad that our camera doesn’t do better with the darker faces. We’re working on it.
The dancing shark is actually a keychain, and doesn’t come apart like regular minifigs do. We got him at the Lego Store. He does move nicely, and was easy to animate. A dancing character can be really specific or really random, and both work in their own way. We did mostly random stuff with our shark, just moving whatever limb felt right. We got a really energetic boogie, but if we wanted to do really tight, choreographed movements, right on the beat, it would have to be heavily planned out in advance.
The band moved in a similar way, where we just did what felt right regarding their movement. Each frame required the drummer to either move a drumstick up or down, so we could check on the rest of the bands moves based on that rhythm. We decided the lead singer’s moves would be more subtle and wouldn’t need to happen every frame, and the guitarist would make big moves often. The piano player could be mostly still with some arm and head moves, and the drummer’s other stick could be a nice little accent here and there. We also did a bit of frame duplication, where we went back and forth between the same two frames for a short sequence. Longer sequences of that would start to look robotic, but it works for an intense part of a song or dance.
The song that played under the scene is called ‘Funshine’ by Kevin MacLeod. It’s in the public domain, which means it is free to use. Here it is on Youtube. Full marks to Kevin MacLeod for an awesome song that fit our scene perfectly. While it turned out pretty great, and the dancing shark is a highlight of the video, there are a few flaws. The lighting is a bit inconsistent, which is common for stop-motion, and we never swapped out the green-screen background with something else. All things considered, we’re very pleased, and we’re very likely to use the band again in another video. They rocked. Thanks for reading!