Dream Catcher; An experimental production Process Part 1

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Throughout the production process I will continue to update this particular post on the technical processes and techniques which I experiment with to put together my final film and the results.

Within Peter Pan, flight is a motif often used to create a sense of fantasy. Within my own film, I created a short stop frame animation using an origami bird and captured its movement using animation software ICanAnimate.


I put that footage aside for the moment and worked on a backdrop  which would place the scene. For this backdrop I opted for footage  which I filmed on holiday in Westward Ho! as I particularly liked the  motion of the sun setting and the connotations of this with time.

I wanted to create an overall dream like effect so added a surreal vignette as an overlay into premiere Pro and Compisited it with ‘Difference’ transparency to blend the two together and sped the footage up by 800%.

This is the effect that I created.

After playing around with the blending until I was happy with the sleepy effect that it had, I added the animation of the crane using a similar technique. Using the motion Tool I shrunk the size of the animation, so that it was still oversized to be surreal but so that it was around the right size to make sense in proportion to the backdrop. I then, for every frame of movement using the motion of the sea as a reference moved the animation slightly to the right and then back again to create an effect of flight.

And then came the first really fun part! Having put together the back drop I projected it onto a projector screen and thought about how I could bring it to life. To stay with the theme of play and bring it into the world of the lost boys I decided to use a toy boat to bring the narrative to life.


I put my camera on a tripod and using a remote to minimise movement used the movement of lego characters to create a fight scene and ultimately the death and possession of captain hook. Or how I see it childhood.


I particularly like the disjointedness that the technique of stop motion on projection had on the continuity in the movement of the sea. As you can see I also changed the music to be more menacing, in reflection of the animated action which although improvised in between each time the camera was set up is still considerably more action-filled than I expected.

For the next part of my film, I filmed a small combat scene to give a (slight) sense of realism to the piece. Considering the potential danger of stage combat I considered it necessary and professional to complete  a Dream catcher risk assessment first to ensure the safety of my Actor, crew and the location.

When conducting a risk assessment, consider all the likely hazards, who may be harmed, property which may be damaged, and the controls already in place. Then, for each likely hazard, bearing in mind the controls already in place, record the ‘risk assessment’ level (see table on following page).  The further action(s) to be considered will be determined by the level of risk assessment.


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