Bowling for Sandercoe

The way this usually works is that I’ll be so sick of a film by the time I manage to string together my first cut of it that I just throw it straight up on the internet and call it done. Having to wait for the music from Loic and needing to keep the whole thing under wraps before I could enter it in the competition meant that I had a bit of time on my hands.


I put this together because I wanted to show someone something related to the film without actually giving anything away. It’s deliberately designed to look like there’s a lot of drama and conflict that just isn’t there in the finished “story” and give absolutely no hint about what does happen.

DivX avi

The bouncing ball shot in the trailer is an older version of the one in the finished film. I reshot it after doing the trailer because it just didn’t look right. Think of it as a bonus deleted scene or something.

Masking demo

I’d finished the film and was looking for something else to do before I could upload it, so I edited together some of the original frames from the “bouncing ball” shot and turned it into a kind of mini-tutorial.

For those who’ve asked, you don’t have to take a shot of the background after every shot with the thing to be masked. If you’re doing a static camera shot, you can get away with just taking one background frame. I did it this way because I was changing focus as the ball moved, so the background focus needed to change too.


Fame and glory

The film has had a lot of interest since I uploaded it to YouTube. Within a week, it had been featured on the front page of the site and had pulled in over 400,000 views. That’s more than all the others put together.

Here’s a couple of screenshots I grabbed as a memento of my fleeting moment in the spotlight:

The music

Loic sent me a “rough cut” of the score after he’d finished recording it. His rough cut is a lot more polished than I was expecting and, to be honest, I would have been happy to use that. He went back to work on it though, and came back a few days later with the version that’s on the film now.

I’m going to check with him and see if it’s ok to upload the two tracks so you can compare and contrast them. Check back in a little while.

Behind the Scenes Pictures

Some bits and bobs showing exactly how much of a bowling alley I had to build.

Early building work on the lanes

“Costume” tests – digital cameras and camcorders really have a problem with LEGO reds. They bleed like crazy, so I had to abandon this outfit.

The wall of Sandercoe – that column has been extended like that so that the shadows in the background didn’t look odd. I don’t think you can see the shadows in the finished film.

First attempt at the bouncing ball – this is the mechanism I used for the bouncing ball shot that you can see in the trailer. It was really difficult to get the precise movements I wanted though, so I ended up using the one you see in the “masking and bowling” video.

The guitar set-up – I somehow managed to arrange this so that the camera was between me and the things I needed to move for the shot. There was no other way to do it though, so for each frame I had to get up and carefully inch around the camera to avoid moving it at all, move Walter just a tiny little bit, then inch back to the mouse to capture the frame. It’s a hard knock life.