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Hi everyone. This question is not directly stop motion related, but crucial for me at the moment, and my decision will affect animation in the future for me. I am rebuilding a very old trailer on my property into an animation studio, and all of the windows need to be replaced. My question is should I just cover up the window openings with plywood so that I have complete control over the lighting (think black box), or would installing windows be better for ventilation and natural lighting when needed? I am curious what others have done or would do given the chance. What is more important for you as an artist? Or has controlling light been difficult for your animation? I have no experience at the moment, so any opinions are great. Thanks!

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Your thinking outside the box there Michelle.. I like that..  my mate reckons he's created that alternative to natural day light using Alexa and Phillips hue bulbs I think off amazon.. I'll ask him again when I see him.. 

I agree with you on having complete control over the lighting too.. it's just easier than changing things all the time.. I'm even considering doubling up on everything slowly.. I hate the idea of having to dismantle everything to move the camera and the lights and the set etc.. purpose design built is what we all really after.. but it's always come at such a high cost.. 

just to be clear here Mark when you reference the need for natural lighting your not talking about creating natural light for your animation are you, you meant natural lighting for you to do your craft of building puppets or whatever right...

I always find the day light now a distraction actually.. If it's too nice out I want to be out there in the garden or walk, as where if I'm working in a dark room space whether animating or building puppets / sets I prefer to be in a space where I can control the ambiance I guess.. it's easier and less distracting.. same with the noise in the day puts me off, when I can hear people out there, I'd rather work through the late night into the early hours.. no one around, less distraction... sorry rant over... 


Michelle Blix said:

I'd say that for me, to be able to have complete control of my lighting would be easier in the long run. But that also is because my projects and style have always lead me to a black box environment even when natural lighting is needed. If you have good and sufficient lighting equipment, then making natural light could be both a challenge and a blessing, given that you would also have complete control over that and not depend on the day to animate or not.
Simply an opinion, and certainly not as much experience as other people here. But I hope it helped to have another perspective and I hope you figure it out soon.
Good luck and have fun with the remodeling!!

Thanks Michelle! That's a great perspective, as are all of the others. I see your point about trying to match the natural light day to day between shoots. Almost impossible I imagine. After reading the responses so far, I will go ahead with windows for ventilation and light for creating the set, etc.. but then the blackout curtains or other arrangement for shooting. I appreciate your thoughts!!

Michelle Blix said:

I'd say that for me, to be able to have complete control of my lighting would be easier in the long run. But that also is because my projects and style have always lead me to a black box environment even when natural lighting is needed. If you have good and sufficient lighting equipment, then making natural light could be both a challenge and a blessing, given that you would also have complete control over that and not depend on the day to animate or not.
Simply an opinion, and certainly not as much experience as other people here. But I hope it helped to have another perspective and I hope you figure it out soon.
Good luck and have fun with the remodeling!!

I'd leave the windows. Natural light (while I know isn't great for stop-motion since it changes over time) is still great for shooting things, and could even with the right planning be used as part of the whole project. Like everyone else below: light-leak proof coverings would be the way to go. Even if they leak a little, you could still overpower the illumination with studio lighting. Love your idea of converting the old trailer into a studio!

My shed studio has glass windows in the doors, with blinds over them, rather similar arrangement to Nick's. It works well for me as when I am setting up I can use the natural light to see well, but can block it pretty comprehensively for shooting.

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