The Officers' Xmas Party

DafterThingsDafterThings Website User Posts: 878 Enthusiast

It's a silly one with a lot of references that many people might not get  

Every one of these brings it's own issue.

  • The hair on Scotty's head (aaarrrggghhh) 
  • Trying to get Kirk to walk out of the lift-thing when I can only get one finger in the box.
  • Animating 7 different characters (even if it is just head-nodding) in time to a song *and* making sure one of them is out of time.

The 'to-do' list has some more serious ideas on it for the New Year. 



  • Xhan47Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148
    edited December 2018

    @DafterThings Nice!!!

    Though I probably didn't get half the references, (I'm not a trekkie.) I still enjoyed it.

    Superb work on set design.



  • FilmSenseiFilmSensei Moderator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 2,297 Ambassador

    As usual, wonderful! Poor George the Red Shirt... Red Shirts can never catch a break! :)

  • DafterThingsDafterThings Website User Posts: 878 Enthusiast

    Thanks @Xhan47 and @FilmSensei

    It is difficult when using references in these videos. It's a balance but I do know when I have gone too far (but go there anyway :-)   Glad it is still enjoyable even without getting them.

    I really like George and, originally, he was going to have a very tough  time at the party. I had to soften it after taking advice that I'd win 2018 Scrooge-a-like if I ever posted the original script. 


  • FilmSenseiFilmSensei Moderator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 2,297 Ambassador

    George was the best part for sure. I vote for more George in your Star Trek short films... not that my vote counts! :)

  • Xhan47Xhan47 Website User Posts: 148
    edited December 2018

    @DafterThings Yep still enjoyed it even without catching the references.

    Though it goes both ways: Since I'm big into the Marvel movies, I catch the references in your marvel ones a lot more than the trek ones. So, it works. And seeing as this was mostly for the trek fans anyway, It's fine.

    Only you can know when you've put in too many references. though having a friend (like it sounds you do.)

    to look over the scripts and know when you've gone too far before they are implemented does help.

    As always good work, and I look forward to your next animation.



  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,254 Ambassador
    edited December 2018

    Totally agree, more George.

    At least they didn't sing "Mr. Tambourine Man!"

    Also, just because it exists....

  • DafterThingsDafterThings Website User Posts: 878 Enthusiast
    edited December 2018

    Yep I intend to do more George.
    The idea is he's going to be a bit 'fish out of water' before getting his own specialist away team. (I can't remember them using that term in STOS though???)

    @Triem23 Somebody else left a comment about 'Bill'. I really tried to give it the full works but it is blooming difficult. My favourite...

    It's that one line that gets me "... as interpreted by our host"

  • rutxerrutxer Website User Posts: 176

    @DafterThings I'm such a child but you got me laughing out loud with the button jokes. "That's rather cheeky" :D Also, at 1:26 that pause actually makes Chekhov expressive! And since it's just a toy it tells a lot about your storytelling.

    And nice job animating the song scene! 


  • PalaconoPalacono Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,442 Enthusiast

    Brilliant as usual, and just a few teeny, tiny notes. ;)
    - The apostrophe in Officer's . Just the one officer?
    - Can you take a scalpel/sandpaper to George's head and clean off what looks like mold flashing marks at the back edge?
    - Kirk's voice is pretty quiet. I had to play back the first joke several times to hear what he said. Wondered if it was going to be a reference to Del Boy's bar scene in Only Fools and Horses ('what a plonker' etc.) but it was just "Too early for that." If that's a Star Trek reference: missed it.
    - Not sure why George looked so sad for so long after Kirk+Uhura's kiss. Was he attempting to chat her up before Kirk swept in?
    - Spock/Scotty dance could have been faster to match up with the original Aha Jogging video. Also some heavier beats over the music at that point.
    - Kirk singing at the end was really, really quiet and I had to turn the volume waaaay up to even hear he was a few words behind the rest. Having him much louder and tone deaf to what the others were singing would have been funnier, as we all know the song, so didn't matter if it was messy as a result, then the payoff would have made more sense.
    As his voice is lower and slower, you may be need to tweak the volume/compress it to give it the same impact as all the other voices.

    Other than that: really enjoying these. :D

  • DafterThingsDafterThings Website User Posts: 878 Enthusiast

    @rutxer, thanks for spotting that. It was deliberate and has the added advantage of 12 free frames of animating 

    @palacono you're right as ever. When I wrote the description I put Officers' and then wondered what I had put in the title. Horrified when I saw Officer's. I thought of re-uploading but, frankly, every view counts.
    A lot of the figures need a clean-up. There are tiny (I mean really tiny) pieces of plasticine and blu-tack and hair as well. Again these don't really show up until all is done. I'll give the cast a once over before each shoot.

    Kirk always seems to be quieter so I do need to give him a boost. He was going to say "You plonker" but it got changed to suggest George had drunk too much already, It didn't work. George was going to be keen on  Uhura but it is going to build in future videos.

    Biggest regret though is NOT really emphasising Kirk's singing. I did try but gave up and settled for second best.
    Regardless his last few words should have been louder but sounded fine on my PC (again my TV it's barely audible.). I'm really not sure how to get the balance right.

    All this feedback is very much appreciated.
    Next video *might* be Gotham related. I really want to avoid as many mistakes as possible for that one.


  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,254 Ambassador

    @DafterThings you should download the Levelator. 

    Basically this simple thing just normalizes and compresses the heck out of single voice audio. You can drag an entire folder of recordings in and it'll batch them all.

    It's out of development  but works wonders. 

  • FilmSenseiFilmSensei Moderator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 2,297 Ambassador


    You're amazing!

  • PalaconoPalacono Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,442 Enthusiast

    Oh, just thought of one: if you can hand-animate a Spock eyebrow going up at some point, that would be a nice touch. It is his USP, after all. It's just a small thing, but: less is more... ;)

    I mean, you do have Hitfilm, and just a couple of frames would do it.

  • DafterThingsDafterThings Website User Posts: 878 Enthusiast

    @palacono I've done it in a couple of videos. He does it in this one just after the song. I could have cut to Spock doing it but wanted to leave it for anybody who notices these things.

    @Triem23 ... yep. I installed it after you suggested it before but, frankly, forgot. I'll started using wavs and give it a go.

  • BobDiMarzioBobDiMarzio Website User Posts: 632 Just Starting Out

     I thought it was great.

  • PalaconoPalacono Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,442 Enthusiast

    Oops. OK, didn't spot that with everything else on the screen. More obvious in a closeup or a two-shot.  Quite a few scenes ended with just that. That and lots of "Fascinating"s.

  • DafterThingsDafterThings Website User Posts: 878 Enthusiast

    Yeah. In hindsight it would have been better as a close-up and, perhaps, "Yes Doctor, it *is* illogical"

  • FlickeringLightFlickeringLight Website User Posts: 58
  • DafterThingsDafterThings Website User Posts: 878 Enthusiast

    @FlickeringLight thanks.

    I must admit I seem to make 2 types of videos : Quite tight, small number of cuts like Lest We Forget, Dorrito Dip and Capt America 1.01 and more 'rambling' multiple cuts and references like Xmas party, Future of the MCU and Red Shirt.

    I really find the first a joy and the second a bit of a grind when it comes to the animating. I think I need to find a healthy balance 

  • PalaconoPalacono Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,442 Enthusiast

    Have you considered using more than one camera, so you can shoot wide and closeups and also swap from character to character in conversations? It would give you more scope when editing.

  • DafterThingsDafterThings Website User Posts: 878 Enthusiast

    That would be a good idea. I am a little limited by space and equipment and my software only takes in one feed but...
    What I have been doing is shoot all one character dialog with 'over the shoulder' of the other. Sometimes they are there and sometimes I green screen them and add them in post. That way I stop myself knocking them or having them fall over.  These sets are very small and very tight with limited routes in and out plus my fingers are fat and my eyes are dim 
    The other way is to have both in the shot and then zoom to have conversation swaps. This is the simplest and most efficient. I do also shoot the dialog and reaction to that dialog separately. It's a bit more time consuming so I use it sparingly.
    My priority is getting cleaner audio as it's the most commented area for improvement.  I also know that I need to take more time and care on the actual animation. Obviously there are time limits for seasonal videos but, for the others, I need to relax into it a bit more.

  • PalaconoPalacono Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,442 Enthusiast

    OK. Well, the reason I was thought about it in this instance was: you would have been able to do the Spock closeup for the eyebrow lift, and you couldn't really do that with a zoom in from the wide shot as he'd look very blurry. Something small like a cheap GoPro would give you extra options. Small enough to move about, and you could zoom in a little to remove any edge weirdness after you flatten the image with the Action Camera Distort Effect. Might want to use the remote to take the photos to avoid moving such a light camera. Adds work for colour matching and scene sync (mini clappers for both cameras every time you move it?) but might be faster than some alternatives?

  • GavinBarkerGavinBarker Staff Website User Posts: 98

    Fantastic fun, as always @DafterThings!

    George is definitely becoming a fan favorite, and that's a testament to your writing and world building skill. Sketches and skits can be funny in a vacuum, but the fact some of your audience know about George's past mishaps elevates the whole thing! Plus him falling through the turbolift doors was perfection :) 

    Also very much liked the 'just make up a Klingon holiday...the fans love that sort of thing'. Because you're pretty much spot on ;) 

  • DafterThingsDafterThings Website User Posts: 878 Enthusiast

    @Palacono , You are right. It would be great to have a dslr with macro lens for this. I can get a very good close-up with the webcam I use. There is an appropriate place for a good eyebrow raise in my new idea so we'll see what it looks like. I wouldn't ahve to get my fingers in to animate that much and have a remote keypad to drive the webcam so that's all good.

    @GavinBarker , Thanks (as always). I'm really chuffed with how many comments I'm getting about him. It helps that I like George as well. 
    He got a bit of a hard time in this one so, in the next, we'll see him doing what he's best at. 

  • rovenroven Website User Posts: 14

    That was a total fun, very well done!

  • maneo11maneo11 Website User Posts: 125

    Loved this. Your set pieces are always brilliant and the animations are done so well and so consistent with the lighting and all the movements are so fluid. Real nice work...looking forward to the next instalment. 

  • DafterThingsDafterThings Website User Posts: 878 Enthusiast

    @roven and @maneo11 Thanks you so much. I am about to start a new video and, frankly, always have a bit of a confidence crisis so I really appreciate the comments and encouragement. That goes to everybody else as well of course.

    @triem23 an apology regarding Levelator..... I should have listened sooner. It's so useful.

  • CleverTaglineCleverTagline Moderator Las Vegas, NVModerator, Website User, Ambassador, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,034 Ambassador

    Finally caught up with this latest one. Great work as always! The shared drink moment was sheer brilliance.

  • FilmSenseiFilmSensei Moderator, Website User, Ambassador Posts: 2,297 Ambassador

    @DafterThings My thirteen year old son watches your short films and loves them. He has made some basic trial Lego animation films with his cell phone and really enjoys it. He wants to start his own YouTube Channel making Lego animation short films like yours.

    Today I found a Lego "Action Figures Set" at my local grocery store. It has twenty Lego action heroes with twenty different accessory pieces for those heroes as well. The whole kit was only $10 (USA)! He is very excited. Thanks for your inspiration, and Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  • DafterThingsDafterThings Website User Posts: 878 Enthusiast

    @clever tagline   Thanks. I know George falling through the door is inspired by a scene from Only Fools and Horses but I can't remember what might have sparked the cocktail stirrer sequence.  It worries me sometimes whether I have wit or a subconscious full of comedy highlights. 

    @Filmsensei ..... blimey. Not sure what to say other than I feel pretty good right now.
    I suspect he'll have effects covered better than most (  ) but if there's anything I can help with then I'd be delighted. I watched a lot of videos before starting but Gold Puffin Lego Animation's stop motion tutorials helped me avoid the majority of  beginner's mistakes. 

    To you and yours and everybody else... Merry Xmas and Happy New Year.

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