Hello everyone,

I am working on a stop motion project and I will be making an old village set with a flooring made out of a layer of plaster. I am afraid when we drill some holes during filming the plaster cracks and comes off the wooden base. Is there any technique to follow in order to avoid such a problem?

I have in mind using some burlap glued to the wooden base and then pouring the plaster layer.

 

Thanks

 

 

 

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If you haven't made the set floor yet (it sounds like you haven't) I think I might try pre-drilling the holes (measure them off by positioning your puppet - use its legs sort of like a caliper, adjusting for where you'll want bigger or smaller steps). Put wooden pegs in the holes or something sticking up a ways, and probably wrapped with plastic and/or coated with vaseline (?) then put down the plaster, remove the pegs, and fill all holes with plasticine mixed to the color of the (painted) floor. 

It's just a quick idea - I don't really know what you're doing or why, so it's not necessarily the best way to proceed. 

Of course this wouldn't really work if you're shooting multiple shots on the same set and don't already know exactly where all the puppets will need to walk. If that's the case I think I wouldn't use plaster. What is the floor supposed to be? Ground? Maybe you could just crumble some cork and glue that down and paint over, maybe build up small mounds here and there but never have puppets walk on them? Just throwing out suggestions. 

Very good idea, and yes I haven't started working on the set yet. There will be 2 shots for a single puppet walking through some houses in an old village, I want to have a road with bricks texture covered by mud. I know exactly where the puppet is going to walk.

Thank you very much!

Glad I could help. Also, don't forget as long as you don't have the camera unusually high it shouldn't be able to 'see' the pavement right where he's walking - you could design the set with a strip of bare wood there and a low enough camera angle would hide it. Take a look at these similar tricks @ StopmoShorts

If you wanted to also be able to shoot an establishing shot from a higher angle, you could make a strip of bricks that could be inserted into the bare place for that shot. 

I did a shot with a muddy ground effect in plaster, and just coloured in where the holes were. The camera angle was such that the holes could not be seen. I also had some horse poo and some leaves on the ground, and these were very good for concealing holes! One other thought. I dabbed on a little Vaseline where I wanted the mud to look wet, and the shininess draws the eye, so making the dull hole areas even less visible.



Simon Tytherleigh said:

I also had some horse poo and some leaves on the ground, and these were very good for concealing holes!

Lol - on reading this, I pictured 'road apples' placed over each hole, and then imagined a puppet stepping on each of them in turn.. 

Then I realized you meant placing the dung piles so they block the holes, not on top of them.. 

Brilliant! Hadn't thought of that. Squelch, squelch!!

I just meant having the dung etc on the ground closer to the camera than where the holes go. Breaks up the visual continuity of the surface.... and my puppets are smart enough not to step in the s**t!

Burlap or hessian are good ideas, or there's this stuff called drywall tape which is a low tack mesh that you can cover the stage with and plaster over. It keeps brittle renderings like plaster or filler together in all sorts of conditions, creating a miniature lath for them to key into.
(I'm suddenly finding a lot of parallel language between set construction and effects editing)
Here's another trick that's useful, if you mix a colour in with the plaster that's similar to the surface paint finish, in your case terracotta or yellow/brown, when you do drill, the holes won't glare pure white and draw attention to themselves. Use HSS drill bits, they stay sharp longer and make cleaner holes.
Best
Ben

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