Studio Setup: Brickwolf Animation Studio

Posted by Nate Eckerson on

We're launching a new series of posts featuring the home-made studios our animators use to create their movies. A dedicated workspace is the cornerstone of high-quality productions! If you want your studio to be featured on our site, fill out our interview form, and we'll get back to you!

In our first post, we're featuring Noah von Hatten from Brickwolf Animation Studios. He's been really busy of late, and has a great setup for his advanced productions that use a combination of DSLR & the 1080P camera included with the Stopmotion Explosion Animation Kit.

Noah: For lighting I usually stick to the light box and desk lamps from Polaroid that you can see in the photo. I like the softer warm light from the regular incandescent bulbs as opposed to that of CLF bulbs. I also have an IKEA desk lamp that I sometimes use to augment the two smaller lights; I actually bought this lamp on the sole ground that it resembles the Pixar Jumping Lamp. (Note: the Pixar / IKEA lamp design is based on the Luxo Lamp, a great choice for lighting sets!)

For larger setups I will use diffuser box photography lights not featured in the shot. The table I use is actually made of two smaller IKEA tables setup adjacent to each other. Things that you can't see because they are behind me: A massive collection of Lego stored in IKEA cabinets and a Billy Bookcase (apparently I have a thing for IKEA).

All of my animation work is stored and completed on my desktop PC that is sitting slightly out of the shot to the right. I also do all of my editing on this PC. As a matter of fact I bought this computer specifically for animation and video production. With an Intel Core i5, 12GB of ram, and an Nvidia GTX1050 2GB GPU it more than gets the job done. With the PC I use a 1080p Asus Gaming Monitor which has decent colour accuracy and covers enough of the sRGB colour space that I can forget what the number was and just carry on.

As you well know digital film production takes up a lot of virtual space, the project folder for Lego Vacuum Cleaner takes up 28.5GB all on its own; pretty hefty when you consider the fact that the final length of the film tips the scales at 96 seconds. Therefore I employ an array of Seagate Hard drives for storage and back up, in 1.5TB and 4TB sizes.

Software wise I use Stopmotion Explosion's desktop app with the SME camera, and just shoot to an 128GB SDXC card when I'm using the Canon. I edit all of my videos in Sony Vegas; which is Windows only and the main reason that I don't use Macintosh in my studio. 

The majority of my animations are done with the SME camera that you can see in the shot, for the rest of my work I use a Cannon T3i with the kit lens for a closeup lens.

Most of my screen writing happens on the laptop in the leather case in front of the plant, simply because I prefer that keyboard.

I also have a stack of note pads and stationary on which I scribble random film ideas. Generally I use MS Excel to create any Xsheets that I need.

If my film contains audio such as vocals and sound effects that I just can't find I have a directional "rode” mic (sitting behind the monitor in a box so you can't see it). 

The plant is there really just for decoration, this species has the unique quality that no matter what I try I can't seem to manage to kill it. In other word it's the perfect plant for someone who neglects to water it for weeks on end (cough ... me).

And that's all from Noah for now. Be sure to check out his channel on YouTube and subscribe!