I don’t know how it may be for you, but where we live, the weather has been doing its springtime-schizophrenic-thing with great abandon this year! (I went camping with my son’s scout troop 2 weeks ago and froze all night long; now I can’t sleep in my own bed without the overhead fan spinning away.)
Thinking on these thermal vacillations suggested an interesting detail to share with you: during my oft-referred to visit at Castle Gaiman, a roofing company happened to be effecting some repairs with a specialized truck that featured a platform attached to a crane/boom arm that could extend all the way to the top of the house (I believe they called it a “cherry picker”). With Neil’s kind permission, I had the operator take me up so I could shoot references photographs from a unique vantage point. I’m not gonna lie — it was a blast to ride in, and also an unexpected treat to experience high-altitude views of the house and property.
Photo by: Cat Mihos
One of the details I was excited to see in person was the distinctive weather-vane that adorns the tower at the front of the house.
Although interesting in its own right, I wasn’t as keen about the design as I had anticipated. After reviewing the photos later, I still felt a bit disenchanted, and decided my Castle Gaiman would need to have something a little more…spooky.
So, I approached my friend, the talented designer-illustrator Dave Laub, and asked if he could take the basic idea and give it his customary Laub-ification treatment; here’s what he came up with:
Pretty cool, right? Needless to say, I was thrilled, so the design was given to master-sculptor Ryan Peterson, who translated Dave’s 2D concept into an actual 3D model. (For a more detailed explanation of this process and some examples of how it works, you can watch — or perhaps re-watch — this videoblog on Digital Sculpture & Design.)
You may be asking at this point: so, why all the fuss? The next time you are watching a movie, you might notice that alongside the shots you would normally expect to see, like close-ups when people are talking to each other, or establishing shots of locations that let you know where the next scenes are going to take place, etc., there are other, less obvious elements used to help move the story along. One of these cinematic devices is called a transition, which does exactly what it sounds like: helps the viewer make a transition from one place (or idea, or emotion) to another without getting confused feeling jarred out of the moment. I wanted to feature the weather-vane in a close up to serve as a transition point in the film, both visually and tonally; take a look:
It’s at this juncture in the story where bad things begin to occur, and which seem to be somehow connected to the Black Cat. I’m hopeful that this imagery won’t feel too “on-the-nose” to viewers, but will impart a subtle sense of foreboding.
Well that’s all for now; have a tremendous week! (And keep an eye out for those sudden storms…)