This is an elaborate LEGO brickfilm puppet animation that I’ve worked on since late October 2019 through late January 2020. I immediately began developing this animation following the completion of my LEGO Shrek chicken nuggets video. The animation style is similar to the Zelda Cereal Commercial from the previous summer, only with a much more elaborate editing style and production value. In fact, Bort and Milhaus use the same base design for their puppets as the Link and Kokiri kids of the aforementioned cereal video. This video started out as a simple gag that I eventually ballooned up into a short film, with somewhat of an actual plot. The majority of the footage was shot on a scene of an outdoor area with plants: to create the illusion of depth in the grass field, I would rearrange the trees and flowers in later shots, which created the effect of the scene being much larger than it appears. In reality, the entire scene is only a few square feet in area size.
The climax of the video involves Bort and Milhaus fighting to the death, with Milhaus ultimately being tossed off a cliff. For this scene, I built a large cliff side scene and reused angles of it to create the effect of the cliff being much deeper than it was. See the photos below for the whole cliff segment out of frame:
The picture below is a composite image of two different shots of the cliff side, to make both the foreground and background appear in focus. In the final cut of the video, I’ve used masking techniques to create the effect of Milhaus falling between the schism in Sprungfeld Gorge:
When Milhaus falls to his death, he’s temporarily revised by the giant mystical floating head of Leeza Sampson. Milhaus then remotely dismembers Bort by destroying his soul. For this effect, I built giant LEGO puppet arms of Milhaus, then physically printed out paper copies of Bort Sampson’s soul which I previously designed in Adobe Illustrator. This part was extremely difficult, as the paper soul kept falling out of the hands. It was shot in front of a green screen and composited in front of a still image of the cliff:
This video was gradually animated over the course of a few months, and to expedite the production, I would gradually edit the raw footage during downtime of the animation and set-building. The overall flow was straightforward, with some of the challenges being the puppet walking animations. It’s for this reason why in certain shots, I tried to cut corners by framing the camera above Bort’s waist, or at one point having Bort spin around in circles instead of walking.