Building a (Mini) Winter Wonderland

Today I am going to break from my regular “tech” articles and do something different. The beginning of iSundae II called for a fun little scene with little animals having a snowball fight on a grand scale. In order to save time for the rest of iSundae II, we decided that I would shoot the scene after we finished the live-action parts.

This brought up a small problem. I am not nearly as good at fabricating sets as Rebekah and Ruth are. Being a rather difficult to daunt individual, I went ahead and tried it.

Little AnimalsObviously, I needed to think of a snowy set on little animal scale. Poster board gave me the base for my landscape, which I then scattered with fake snow, like you would use for decoration at Christmas. Now it looked like snow on the ground, but I still needed a fort and some trees, as well as a good background.

Green ScreenOriginally, my background was going to be green poster board, which I would then key out later on the computer, then add a snowy mountain background. I shot some video with this setup and it didn’t work at all. Back to the drawing board.

The CliffThe background ended up being a simple white sheet. I propped it up with some cardboard bricks, and then hoped fervently that it really looked something like cliff. Of course it didn’t, but the little stuffed animals don’t look real either.

FortWhen I contemplated the fort, I pulled out the white card stock paper and fashioned some blocks. Breaking FortMy goal was to create something that looked like a fort you might build in the snow, but it also had to be destructible for an effect later in the fight. I set these aside while I built some trees.

I had gathered some little sticks from a bush in the front yard earlier. They were about dried out now, so I did the obvious. Clay bases to make them stand up, and then off to the garage for the snow treatment.

SprayingThe snow treatment consisted of a coat of spray-on snow, which you can buy almost anywhere at Christmas time. It’s the kind that people spray on their windows to make them look snowy. My can even came with a free set of cheesy stencils. But anyway, both the fort blocks and the trees got a nice spray-down with the aerosol snow.

CatapultThat left me with only a catapult and giant snowball to fashion. The catapult was simple. One small piece of scrap wood and something to prop it up on. The snowball was trickier, but I finally ended up creating a large ball of clay, baking it until solid, and then painting it white. I tried spraying the snowball with the snow stuff, but the stuff rubbed off after the first take.

So there you have it. My lovely snow set. Overall, it worked rather well for being built by a low experience person!

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