Hello! As I've told you guys, I'm fascinated by the works of Ray Harryhausen. I'm trying to make a dragon. I'm now almost finished with the armature. You guys know about using an aerial brace?

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Yes.  Probably used an overhead rig, sliding along a track near the ceiling, only once.  I hung some biplanes from wires, trying to make them invisible.  That is probably the closest to a Harryhausen style aerial brace that I've used.

But these days it is pretty easy to do rig removal, so I generally use a fairly solid support. I prefer it to thin wires or threads. Sometimes it comes from above, sometimes from behind, wherever I get the least amount of rig to erase right up against the puppet, and without any of it going in front of part of the puppet.

It is made with balljoints for heavier puppets, or armature wire for lighter puppets.  If the puppet is flying around the set, like the one in the photo, I sometimes slide the base of the rig around on a table top.  Often I am shooting the puppet against bluescreen, so it changes angles but doesn't travel great distances, so I have a fixed rig.

This one had armature wire. 


This puppet was a lot heavier, so it had a ball and socket rig.

Thanks for sharing pictures of your rigs, StopmoNick! This something I've struggled with myself on some of my films, so it's really helpful to see how other animators deal with it. I have tried both armature wire rigs and overhead rigs with strings. For me, I have found overhead rigs to be a bit easier to work with in terms of controlling the trajectory and deleting them in postproduction. With wire rigs, I always have trouble getting them to do what I want and my puppets do tend to be on the heavy side. How do you keep your wire rigs from getting too floppy, while still having the length you need?

Your pics are cool! The aerial brace technique was modified from the concept of a marionette puppet. You know, where the puppet was suspended from a cross, by string, and the cross could be tilted to manipulate the puppet. In his films, Ray Harryhausen used a geared aerial brace to create the illusion of defying gravity. You see it in action in films such as "Earth vs the Flying Saucers", "The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad", and in "One Million Years BC". Also, that one scene in "Jason and the Argonauts" Where a skeleton kills Andrew Falls, and he drops down dead, you see the skeleton jumping over him. That was the use of an aerial brace. Right now, I'm in the process of building an Armatured aerial brace. I'll show you pictures some time today.

StopmoNick said:

Yes.  Probably used an overhead rig, sliding along a track near the ceiling, only once.  I hung some biplanes from wires, trying to make them invisible.  That is probably the closest to a Harryhausen style aerial brace that I've used.

But these days it is pretty easy to do rig removal, so I generally use a fairly solid support. I prefer it to thin wires or threads. Sometimes it comes from above, sometimes from behind, wherever I get the least amount of rig to erase right up against the puppet, and without any of it going in front of part of the puppet.

It is made with balljoints for heavier puppets, or armature wire for lighter puppets.  If the puppet is flying around the set, like the one in the photo, I sometimes slide the base of the rig around on a table top.  Often I am shooting the puppet against bluescreen, so it changes angles but doesn't travel great distances, so I have a fixed rig.

This one had armature wire. 

A nice demo of Jerry Svoboda's flight rigging for Coraline:

http://www.steamcontroller.com/coraline_effects_rigging.html

With the aerial brace, you can either have a rig to control the angle of the cross piece, like a puppeteer holding it in his hand, or you can have it with a fixed angle and lengthen or shorten the wires to angle the puppet. It takes at least 3 wires - I used 4 for my aeroplanes, on nose, tail, and the tip of each wing. If they aren't fine enough to disappear you have trouble with one or two of them going in front of the puppet.
With armature wire, heavier wire will hold more weight and be less bouncy than several steands of a thinner wire. I used several strands of 3mm (1/8") and it was a little bit springy. But no worse than the puppet swinging around on strings from an overhead brace. I have some heavier armature wire now, that might have been better for most of the rig, with thinner stuff only for the last couple of inches before it went into the puppet.

You can suspend the puppet using clear fishing line. The can also just use black thread. If your're using a greens screen, you can also use green thread

StopmoNick said:

With the aerial brace, you can either have a rig to control the angle of the cross piece, like a puppeteer holding it in his hand, or you can have it with a fixed angle and lengthen or shorten the wires to angle the puppet. It takes at least 3 wires - I used 4 for my aeroplanes, on nose, tail, and the tip of each wing. If they aren't fine enough to disappear you have trouble with one or two of them going in front of the puppet.
With armature wire, heavier wire will hold more weight and be less bouncy than several steands of a thinner wire. I used several strands of 3mm (1/8") and it was a little bit springy. But no worse than the puppet swinging around on strings from an overhead brace. I have some heavier armature wire now, that might have been better for most of the rig, with thinner stuff only for the last couple of inches before it went into the puppet.

This here is a diagram for my armatured aerial brace I drew in class one day.

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