For set extension and super wide shots we created matte paintings from tiny miniature sets. Most of these miniature scenes were built by Gottfried Mentor, who had already worked on the sets for 'The Gruffalo.' Here you can see the miniature version of the 'Reeds' set.
Gottfried and I studied together at the Filmakademie Baden Wuerttemberg. In addition to being an incredible set builder he's also a great filmmaker. Check out his work!
Some more impressions from the build of the frog's home. All the animals are lonely in their own way before they join the witch and the cat on their flying broomstick. But while the dog and the bird are missing company, the frog has too much of it. His isolation comes from the inside. The clean frog wants to get out of his home because he can't identify with the other frogs and their filthy way of life. He jumps from one moss patch to the other to avoid any contact with the mud.
Here you can see some look tests for the muddy surface in the Frog's home. To find the right texture for the set's ground is always a challenge. You don't want it to be too repetitive and boring but also not too distracting. Because the sets were built on a very small scale, even a tiny pebble can turn out to be very big once you see the CG characters next to it. Another challenge for this particular set was to avoid the association with either Nutella or poop as much as possible...
Because the sets for 'Room on the Broom' were built on a very small scale, most shots would have had a shallow depth of field. To circumvent this problem DoP Daniel Moeller had to take several pictures - each with different focus - for almost every shot. Those photos were then digitally stacked together to create an image that was fully focused. Here you can see one of the original images and the stacked end result.
Very early hair tests by Jan Lachauer. Since our characters looked like figures modelled from clay, we wanted the hair to look sculpted too. Most of the time the witch wears her hair in a plait which works very well with the modelled style. But in a couple of sequences her hair is loose and that was much more challenging. We had do find the right balance between the looseness of hair and the material the characters are made of.
In one shot we had to transition from plait to open hair on camera. Luckily animator Robert Lehman found a way to simply switch the two hair pieces within the movement, which worked brilliantly.
A bunch of lovely mushrooms from Klaus Morschheuser's and Katja Moll's set-building team. Most of the time when you see mushrooms in the film they are CG since they had to be handled by the witch. The handcrafted version was mainly used as a reference for the CG department. But if you look closely you can spot these little guys in the background of some shots at the lake.
Some more treasures from 'Room on the Broom'. Ahead of the Academy Awards we put together lots of material to illustrate the making of the film. I thought it makes sense to post it here as well so it's all in one place.
From Manu Arenas designs to the final Willow trees. The set building was supervised by Klaus Morschheuser and Katja Moll.
Throughout the last year Room on the Broom has won many fantastic prizes at festivals all over the world.
Now our film has been nominated for an Academy Award®, an Annie Award, an International Emmy Award and a British Animation Award! Seeing everyone's hard work recognized in such an incredible way is just amazing!
Awards and nominations aside, I've always been proud of what we've achieved together. This is a very special film. All around the world, it makes people happy every time they watch it. Me included.
Here you can see how Klaus Morschheuser, Katja Moll and their fantastic set-building department worked their magic and used actual broom bristles to build the trees for Room on the Broom. The original designs were done by the brilliant Manu Arenas.
I love frogs. They are probably my favourite animals next to newts.
The first part of this sequence was animated by our good friend and animation supervisor Tobias von Burkersroda, who already worked as lead animator on The Gruffalo. The second part was animated by Waldemar Fast, who I've been friends with since we met at the Filmakademie in Ludwigsburg in 2005. The end of the sequence, once they are back on the broom, was animated by Thomas Hinke, another old friend from Filmakademie and Gruffalo days. Each part of this sequence had its own challenges (my obsession with frogs being one of them), and I couldn't be happier with what they've done.
All three of them are incredibly talented, funny and great to work with!!!