Friday, June 29, 2012

Mad Lab on Electric Playground!

A few weeks ago Chris of Mad Lab found himself being interviewed about Springtime Zombie by the awesome folks at Electric Playground. We shot at the historic Silver Snail on Queen Street, in Toronto. The piece was within a feature piece on TAAFI (Toronto Animation Arts Festival International), that hits next week. Springtime Zombie is playing as part of that fest, so check it out.

If you don't know, Electric Playground is a highly respected (and fan-favoured) destination for video game, movie, and general pop culture news updates, interviews, and reviews.  So Mad Lab was very excited about it all.

Be sure to check out the bitchin' Mad Lab T-shirt Chris is sporting! Would you buy one? Let us know!

Thanks again to Shaun and Darcy- true fans of all the things that Mad Lab holds dear.

You can see the clip here (TAAFI and Mad Lab's segment starts around the 12 min mark)...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Alexander Gorelick- Stop Motion Maestro

 This pic is from Alex's website, and features non-Mad Lab work he has done (just to be clear).

We have a larger stop motion project that we are developing, that is full of spooky goodness. We've been working very hard on it, to say the least.

Essentially, we're getting a promo package together that we hope will WOW everyone, and give the world complete assurance that this project is going to be a wonderful thing to behold.

Part of that promo package is a piece of promo animation, that shows off a central character, the tone of the project (funny and spooky), and the overall production value we are capable of achieving.

To that end, we reached out to a remarkable stop motion animation talent, Alexander Gorelick, to tackle the actual animation of the promo piece.

Alex is, in the truest sense of the word, a maestro. The life he can bring to a puppet borders on the uncanny. We're beyond excited to have him bringing our creation to life.


If you are a stop motion fan, you MUST check out his website, and his demo reel.

You can watch check it all out, here.

Friday, June 15, 2012


Click on the pic to make it big.

No, this isn't a behind the scenes snapshot at Mad Lab Productions, it's an image from Bride of Frankenstein (1935). They're trying to get the ratio of sugar to Kool Aid just right for the annual "Monster and Mad Scientist"  picnic. STRESSFUL.

But aside from that, this image is a great example of what can be achieved by light in terms of making a scene dramatic.

There's soft light, and there's hard light. Soft light has, well, softer qualities, and you can see a nice example of it on the stone wall in the background. It sort of gently fades from bright to dark, with no hard shadows. It gives a gentle, modest quality to things, and is perfect for a background, since you don't want the viewer's eyes being drawn TOO much back there.

Now look at the faces of the characters. It's a great example of hard light. The faces have areas of real brightness, that drop off fast into darkness. It creates a real contrast (between light and dark), and that contrast creates drama and visual excitement. The viewer wants to look here, and keep looking. And that makes sense, since this is the area where the action is.

This masterful mixing of soft and hard light is a way of directing the audience to where you want them to look. Like last week's entry that talked about using motion to direct the eye, lighting can (and has to) do the same thing.

Here's hoping the picnic is a hit. It has to be better than last year's, when the Creature From The Black Lagoon's tuna salad gave everyone food poisoning.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Directing The Eye of The Audience

DIRECTING THE EYE OF THE AUDIENCE is a very important aspect of animation. In brief, if something is moving (and other things are not), the eye is going to focus on what is moving. It probably all goes back to having to watch for predators and prey when we were hunting (and hunted) creatures. In other words "if it moves, it's worth paying attention to, because I can either eat it or be eaten by it".

Animators use this constantly. So if you watch this clip a few times, you'll see what we mean. In the background, first Fitness Class Zombie moves, and growls, while looking in (and down) at Living Corpse Zombie. Next, Living Corpse Zombie moves, and reacts, and then- BOTH zombies look towards Springtime Zombie in the foreground. With this, the audience is not only having its eye directed by what is moving, it is having its eye directed by the eyes of the zombies! What are they looking at?

With that, the foreground zombie comes to life, and lifts up the Mad Lab logo, and has his acting moment.

So the end result is a movement of the audience's eye from screen left (in the background) to screen right in the foreground! Like reading a book (if you come from a country that reads from left to right, that is). And that controlled movement across the frame (and in depth) is fun and dynamic to watch.

Cause at a basic level, the pleasure of watching animation is the pleasure of simply watching things move! It's up to the animation team to cater to that pleasure, and manage (direct) the eye of the audience- within the shot, as well as across shots (through editing).


Friday, June 1, 2012

SPACE CHANNEL Visits Mad Lab Productions

SPACE Channel is Canada's national sci-fi TV channel, and last week they came out to visit with us, and record a segment for their daily news show, INNERSpace. We were extremely excited, to say the least.

They first did a series of questions with Chris on camera, then a sequence with Geri AND Chris on camera, and finally a piece with Geri on his own. Then they mixed it all around through the magical process known as "editing," and BEHOLD. You can watch the segment here.

In the sequence, they also used footage that we provided them with,  known as "B roll" (since it's not main or "A" material, but is required nonetheless when it comes to editing, in order to beef up a sequence). This was footage of Geri and Chris working at storyboards, and of us on-set working with the sets and puppets.

We also provided them with an original piece we're calling "Zombie Pile Up," and a cool time-lapse making of. We'll be posting all this to our YouTube Channel in the coming days...

To give credit where credit is due, Zombie Pile Up was animated by Chris and the wickedly talented Mad Lab intern, Jason Francis Burch. We'll post about the awesome skilz of Mr Burch in coming blog posts...

They also incorporated segments from our zombie shorts, so it was exciting to see our own work re-edited and re-packaged to make a segment. We think SPACE did a great job in all ways. It's a fantastic piece that shows what we do and who we are...  what more could we ask for?

Well, maybe a magical robot goose that shoots golden eggs out of its bottom, but those still haven't been invented. YET.

Thanks especially to Andy Feige (Senior Camera for SPACE), and  Amy Pagnotta, who pulled the whole thing together, and who conducted the actual interview. They put us at ease with their polished professionalism.

SPACE Channel is welcomed in the Mad Lab, anytime!