Thursday, 20 February 2014

BFCU Canon: Lavaloga

This post is the beginning of a series of nuggets of canon for the BrickFilm Cinematic Universe, which anyone is free to add to or use for BFCU films. Starting this series is some canon based on the island seen at the end of La Conquista, an island I will now reveal is called Lavaloga.


(Pictured: Chief Cherufe, La Conquista)

The island, off the coast of South America, that is home to the cherufe - huge lava monsters, made of, uh, lava. The cherufe are big but also big-hearted, and speak a broken, simplified form of Spanish. They do not age or die - if one is ‘killed’, they will quickly reform in the heart of the island’s biggest volcano: Monte Fumar (‘mount smoke’). There are two other volcanoes, and all three are in the centre of Lavaloga. Around them is a series of lava fields and rivers, and (strangely) beyond that is a jungle and the sandy shoreline.

Chief Cherufe
One of the oldest cherufe, Chief Cherufe is not actually the chief anymore (even though everyone, himself included, calls him that). His mind is fragile, and he often wanders the island, mainly the shores, talking to animals or humming old tunes, leaving one of the younger cherufe to take charge. Occasionally his frail body breaks apart and he won’t be seen for weeks, but he reforms eventually and carries on wandering around.

A young cherufe who likes nothing better than to sit in a nice lava pit and wait for the pressure to shoot him high up over the island. He’s quite small for a cherufe, only a few bricks over minifigure height, but that doesn’t stop him from trying to prove his worth to the other cherufe.

El Consejero
The cherufe who normally steps in when Chief Cherufe goes walkabouts, El Consejero (the counsellor) may just be a nickname, but he’s been guiding the other cherufe for so long that everyone’s forgotten his real name! He acts as a shoulder to lean on, a friend to all, especially those in need, and is good at reading the emotions of others.

That's all for now - I hope you've enjoyed these extra bits of canon for La Conquista, and look forward to more in the near future.

Reactions to The LEGO Movie

I saw The LEGO Movie earlier this week and decided I had to do some kind of homage to it. I mean, for brickfilmers at least it's a huge event, and not something to let pass without a big fuss. This is the first of what may be a few celebrations of The LEGO Movie; here, we ask the LEGO public what they thought of the movie (and show you a few other little bits of fun).

The Taco Tuesday guys may become regulars in my animations...thoughts?

The LEGO Movie - review
I absolutely loved it (but then again, I would, wouldn't I?). As a film in itself it was hilarious, well-written, heartwarming, and subversive unlike anything you expect to see in a kids movie. Technically speaking the film was also marvellous: the visual aesthetics (all the hyper-detailed bricks, the fact everything was made of LEGO) were stunning, and...well, I don't want to spoil that bit. There're a couple of brilliant plot twists, but one in particular makes this film awesome. As a brickfilmer, I was speechless. The movie is designed to look at least in part like it's stop-motion (and the directors say that some of it actually is) and there are even some references to actual brickfilms (most notably a reference to The Magic Portal, purported to be the first brickfilm).

Overall, this is a cracking film (see the video above) and worth a watch for just about everyone. I can't think of any major gripes, so I'm going to give this an 8.5/10.

That's it for now. Remember to like, share and subscribe!

Saturday, 18 January 2014

La Conquista

An age old question is answered: who are the better explorers? The conquistadors or the vikings?

This turned out almost as well as I'd hoped. There's a bump or two, some light flicker and because of software issues, a couple of perfectly smooth shots have come out choppy, but overall I'm happy with this.

Behind the scenes
Vikings didn't really have horned helmets, but I wasn't going for realism here. Aside from the scared viking at the end (and the face of the green viking) they're the generic minifigures from the Vikings theme.

The big lava monster was called Chief Cherufe in the script. A 'cherufe' is a Chilean, humanoid lava giant. They were typically evil, demanding young girls to be sacrificed to them, and were originally conceived as an explanation for volcanic eruptions.

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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013: A Year's Worth of Tests

Happy New Year everyone!

I've been saving these clips up over the course of the last year, although many of these are from October onwards.

This is the start of my new drive to create more brickfilms. In the coming month alone I should have at least two short videos for you, with The Ice Vampire coming hopefully by the end of January.

Sorry about the framing - I thought I'd been editing in widescreen, but alas nay.

And yes, I already have a couple of the new Chima sets - those Legend Beasts are surprisingly good sets, especially with the new ball-and-socket joint pieces, which are going to be really useful for stop-motion.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Who ever said dwarves aren't strong?

Dwarves are strong, right? Surely one boulder wouldn't be a problem? You thought wrong, my friend.

I animated this in July and, after remaking my studio, forgot I'd ever done it. Here it is in it's full, mishmashed glory! Half the editing was done in Premiere Elements, and half in Premiere Pro, and half the effects were done in VisionLab, the other half done in After Effects. Thought I'd edit it and upload since I didn't end up doing THAC this year (that's the Twenty-four Hour Animation Contest, over on

I know - light flicker. It's not something I can solve very easily right now, so we'll all have to learn to get along with it. If I fuss about it too much, I won't get any videos made, and we don't want that now do we?

At the time, I was just about to move my studio setup from one side of my room to the other, because of space issues (which I still suffer from), and this was the last thing I ever animated in that old setup. Believe it or not, this was right in front of a window; thin blinds and a layer of black [insert name of mysterious fabric here] were all that stood between my animations and sunlight. Probably the worst idea for a studio location ever.

You'll notice the minifigs are all flesh-tone - I hadn't used any of those faces for anything other than the sets they came from (e.g. the wizard's face is from a Pirates of the Carribean set) so I wanted to see how they looked used for my own made-up characters. They work well, although the nostalgic voice in the back of my head says yellow will always be the colour of LEGO. Sorry, Jack Sparrow.

Nerd note: the face for the dwarf is the LEGO General Zod face, hence the heat vision. It's a really nerdy joke. Sometimes I just start drowning in my own geekery.

On January 1st (or thereabouts) I'll be uploading a 2013 Test Compilation, and then in 2014 I'll be uploading videos more regularly (I promise, this time!). I've already started working on a whole bunch of things (some scripted, some partially animated) and I'm still trying to re-edit Istari Halloween so that it's vaguely viewable. This video here, this dwarfy thing, is just to wet your appetite in the meantime.

Monday, 16 December 2013

The Desolation of Smaug

So it had its faults, and there were lots of unnecessary add-ons courtesy of "Middle-Earth According To Peter Jackson", and it suffered from a severe case of middle-movie-syndrome, but The Desolation of Smaug was a hell of ride.

It was an improvement on the last one, for sure, sorting out most of its pacing issues and ditching unnecessary cutesy moments (Sebastian the hedgehog is nowhere in sight, deep breath out). Though the add-ons made a few of the characters - both those from the book and those invented for the film (cough cough, Tauriel) fall-flat, it was still as engaging and investing as I thought it would be.

Oh, and there's Smaug. Now THAT'S a dragon. Sorry, Hungarian Horntail, but Smaug really sets the bar in terms of reptilian, fire-breathing epicosity.
Benedict Cumberbatch's voice-over is also incredible, though I wouldn't expect anything voiced by him not to sound incredible. His first scene, with Bilbo, was incredibly tense and well-framed.

Wow. Much Smaug. So desolate.

All in all, this was a pleasure to watch. Still not as good as The Lord of the Rings, but getting there.

A word of warning, though, which is that New Line are clearly trying to subtly set up a Silmarillion movie. Make of that what you will, but I'm not convinced that doing so would be a good idea...

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Chima: Stink

In Chima, two wolves find out the hard way that if a skunk does its thing anywhere near your clothes, no amount of soap and water is getting that stink out.

The first in what may be a series of really short Chima videos. It depends.

I did this on and off over the course of, well, today (in between college revision and beating the Elite Four - my starter was Chespin, btw), and guess what? No light flicker! I’ve finally got it all sorted out. So you can now expect more animations. Well, hopefully some half-decent ones at least.

As for Istari Halloween…you may have noticed it’s now November 3rd. Due to problems and more problems, I only have some of it shot, and I’ve had to take the sets apart for another, super-secret project. But never fear! I’m looking at the footage to see if I can rewrite it a little bit and upload what I have into a coherent story. Obviously, it’ll be a lot later than Halloween, but bear with me folks. What else d’you expect from a procrastinating teenager?

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