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    After three years of making the yearly FIRST LEGO League (FLL) mission movie, I am running out of steam. This 9 minute animation takes me just about 9 months to produce. I get a short break and I am back into it again. I have been told by my family that the movie I just finished should be my last.

    I made this fact known to the FLL community and have three individuals that are interested in helping to make a movie. At this point the individuals do not fully appreciate the level of effort involved. I was thinking about proposing a collaboration between the three of them and myself.

    So my question is how have other collaborations work. How is the work split? Does one person do all the animation, somebody do the audio, somebody the special effects, etc? Or has anybody figured out how to collaborate on the animation itself? My concern is that the movie would look disjointed if we had more than one animator.

    Other issues are technical in nature. How do you move gigabytes of data from one person to another? Web server space? Email? FedEx?

    I would love to start a dialog with those of you that have had successful and unsuccessful efforts.



    I am very interested in the “logistics” of making films, maybe more so than filming itself.

    Without knowing anything else about your project, I offer the following observations:

    The easiest (but slowest, depending on distance) to transfer gigabytes of data is to snail-mail physical CD’s and DVD’s with the data on it. It would almost be prefferable to send an external drive, except that a) in some countries the mail service isn’t as reliable as it should be, b) paranoid countries are more likely to damage the data with magnetic scanners and c) with CD / DVD the trip is one-way, so you don’t have to wait for the return journey.

    If at all possible, I would suggest working with local people. Let yourself do the animation, but get others nearby to do editing, foley, sound recording etc since they are more ‘generalised’ fields. It’ll be easier to find an editor than a stop-motion animator.

    The most important part would be to make sure you have one person clearly in charge whom everyone else regularly reports to and that everyone is very clear on the amount of commitment they will be required to give…



    Sorry Ore, but I highly disagree.
    The easiest way would be to set up web servers on everyone’s computers, that way they can just drag and drop the file onto the web accesable folder and it’s ready to download for everyone else. An easy, fast, reliable, and secure webserver that’s pretty much made for this type of thing is Abyss Webserver.
    As for scripts, you can use Celtx and password protect the script file.

    As for the splitting of work, I’d do it like you said; One person does the animation, the other does sound, etc..




    The three people that have volunteered are at the far corners of the USA. At least 1,000 miles between people and in some case 3,000. Walking over to drop of a disk is out of the question!

    As a sample of the work I do, you can watch the movies at

    I can certainly add to the budget of the movie the expense of FedEx deliveries of DVDs. But that adds such a lag to a project. But I also can’t imaging trying to move many many gigs of data via the web. I also think that the synergy (sorry to use that word) of a team is lost in long distance work. Heck, I have never even seen these people.

    Having one leader (director) is certainly important. But who is that? Should that be the artistic leader, the principal animator, the script writter, or the money guy (not that we have much of that)?

    Sounds like you would split the work by function (animation, folly, edit, post, …). I guess I need to talk to these people to figure out what their strenghts are.



    dvondrake: you are totally correct.

    What I failed to mention is that (in my experience, and you need to bear in mind that I live waaay out in the middle of nowhere) uploading large amounts of data takes a hideous amount of time. I am running cable broadband (around 1Mb/sec data transfer on a good day) but when uploading it slows down to 10kb/s. Updating webpages or even worse, uploading videos takes hours.

    Of course, for someone with a better ISP then your method is indeed the best…

    EDIT: I did say”without knowing anything else about your project”. From what I understand, the person who should be ‘in charge’ is the person who initiated the project. Which in this case, I believe is you. They asked to join your project, hence you stand to loose the most if they give up and leave.

    But that does not mean you stand over them and wack them with a stick for slowing down!

    At the risk of sounding useless, your best bet is to have a serious discussion with the volunteers and delegate each person their task, then ensure they follow through with it…

    Last EDIT:

    Sounds like you would split the work by function (animation, folly, edit, post, …). I guess I need to talk to these people to figure out what their strenghts are.

    See how useless I am. You already thought of my suggestion…



    I have talked with people, mainly concerning effects work, who have teams all over the world and just FedEx hard drives to each other. There is a guy in Seattle who does visual effects work for Alias, and he literally has never met any of the producers of the show; they just send him the footage on an external hard drive, and a few weeks later they get it back with the finished work.

    FLL, do you know if your team will all be using the same software? This is really only a solution for postproduction, but you could put all of the source files on a hard drive/DVDs/CDs, send it out to everyone on the team, then pass project files across the web.




    I am working on another project for FIRST with a professional editor. This guy is 100% MAC and I am Windows. The only way we can share high res video is for me to write a DV tape and him to read it back in again.

    Assuming the editor is using OSX, you can still share external harddrives as long as you use the FAT file system instead of NTFS. I think Macs can read FAT volumes up to 124gb or something like that.

    I’m really only responding to a few of the smaller problems, but it’s all I got.


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