Doctor Who: The Celestial Toyshop

Yet more exciting behind the scenes factoids and photos from your pals at Oblong Pictures!

The Opening Titles

A few people have asked how I did this. I won’t give away all my secrets because then everyone else would start doing it and I wouldn’t look cool anymore. However, I will say that it was all done in Vegas 4.0 with the following five still pictures (click for full size versions):

I’ll leave you to work out the rest…

The Buzzing Sign

This was pure laziness. I wanted an establishing shot so that it was clear that the film was set in a futuristic shop selling temporal supplies. I didn’t want a completely still picture but, at the same time, I didn’t want to animate 5 seconds’ worth of a street scene.

So I cheated. I used a still picture of the shop front and used Photoshop to overlay the sign. There are five different frames in that opening shot – one with the standard sign and four with varying levels of “static” noise applied to the sign. I then put all the frames together in Vegas to make an exciting futuristic “buzzing sign” effect that Ridley Scott would kill for.

When Good Planning Goes Bad

When I set up a shot, I like to arrange the characters in such a way that you can see clearly what everyone is doing. The picture below shows the composition I chose for the “exchange of goods” shot in this film:

That all looks nicely planned out, right? Wrong. I’d carefully worked out how the characters would walk through the door and into the shop, how they would move and where they would stop, but I hadn’t considered how they were actually going to hand stuff to each other – a fundamental part of the whole film. This picture shows both characters at full stretch:

As you can see, the Doctor and the shopkeeper are offset, and also a fair distance from each other. I didn’t want to rearrange the characters so that they could reach each other because I’d already filmed a large part of the shot and it would have been a lot of effort to reshoot it.

Fortunately, one of the great things about stop motion is that you can indulge in a little sleight of hand if the need arises. If you’ve looked at any of the behind-the-scenes pictures on this site, you’ll have noticed that I only ever build as much of a set as the camera will see. To get around my little handover problem, I had to take that idea a step further:

What the camera saw

What actually happened

Pretty neat, huh? Of course, it would have been neater if I’d actually taken the time to plan my film properly in the first place.

Behind the Scenes Pictures

Just some more photos. These were mostly done as reference shots in case I had to go back and rebuild the shop set.