Cinefex has a very awesome and very thorough look at the use of puppets in cinema. They cover the history from 1906’s The Witch all the way up to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The article also features interviews with a whole bunch of practical effects artists using puppets in film.
“Once you have the basic set of tools and know how to use them, your work will dictate the specialty tools you might need.” Chris Schwartz reminds us that the most common tools are the most useful. Rare tools are rare either because they are commercial failures or they have highly specialized uses. When buying your tools, be sure you have the ability to do the tasks you do on a daily or weekly basis before you buy the tools that you will only use once a year.
The New York Times takes us backstage at the Metropolitan Opera in this fantastic photo essay showing the lead up to the first performance of Roberto Devereux.
The Daily Record takes a glimpse into the props stock at Central Washington University. They talk with David Barnett, who runs the stock and props the shows, as well as Marc Haniuk, who teaches a props class every year.
Yahoo TV talks with John Sanders, prop master on The Walking Dead, to learn more about Daryl Dixon’s motorcycle on the show. They claim it’s “everything you need to know”; I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s certainly all you could possibly care to know.
The Compliance and Safety Blog has created this great infographic on PPE basics (personal protective equipment) that they shared with me.
Volpin Props has an extensive build diary for his latest project, a shark bazooka gun from The League of Legends. It’s quite the complex process, using casting, vacuum forming and even some puppetry.
Dug North has a new tutorial up showing different methods for bending brass wire, tube and sheets. You can make some pretty quick but intricate small props using nothing but brass.
The Walking Dead has a video showing off some of the best props, effects and explosions from Season Five. Warning: if you haven’t seen Season Five yet, it gives away quite a few spoilers. Also, blood and guts and stuff.
Finally, Nick Offerman tells us why we should build stuff. Besides playing Ron Swanson on TV’s Parks and Rec, Nick is quite the accomplished woodworker, and runs his own shop employing half a dozen other woodworkers.
I don’t know much about Pinterest, but here’s a whole bunch of puppet building resources. They look very pinteresting.
Here’s a great in-depth tutorial on making a two-part underpoured mold written by Adam Savage. Yes, I’ve already had some Adam Savage on the blog this week; there are only so many props people out there who write about what they do.
By now, you’ve all heard about 3D printing, and some of you have even gotten your own 3D printers to play around with. Here’s a great article on why 3D printing is overhyped. It is not saying 3D printers are worthless or a waste of time; rather, it offers a sobering look at the reality of 3D printer’s capabilities versus how they are presented in the media. They are at the peak of hype right now; I’ve seen articles promising they will destroy traditional manufacturing and even end consumerism. The reality is that they can make shapes in plastic from digital models, something which may be useful to some props people in certain situations.
Fans of The Walking Dead may enjoy this piece on John Sanders, the prop master for the show. He talks about weapons and special props which will be appearing in the upcoming season.
Jeff Burks has posted quite the treatise on workshop cleanliness from 1885. I think a clean and well-organized shop is vital to working safely and efficiently; however, the author states that when you are finished with a tool, “return it to its place, immediately after you have done using it.” Now, I’ve heard “tools away at the end of the day,” meaning don’t waste your time putting a tool away if you might need it half an hour later. How does everyone else deal with putting tools away?