Golly-gee! A floating sofa!?

Loki, I may just not fully understand what the problem is but I think I may have figured out a solution to the the floating sofa issue. Actually the picture of the sofa you provided in your last entry on the subject gave me a hint.

But let me take a step back from this issue for a moment and digress heavily.

A couple weeks ago She Dragon dragged me to the Boston Museum of Science to see the new Star Wars ™ exibhits. That was fine and all (though the Millenium Falcon ride was sort of a rip-off), then afterward we toured the rest of the museum which She hadn’t seen yet.

Somewhere near the electricity demonstration that they had a computer lab set up with different programs for kids: games, simulations, and the like. And among these programs we stumbled over a little something to win my heart: GollyGee Blocks.

Golly Gee Blocks is basically a very simple CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) program for kids. Though not very useful for precise design it renders a variety of three dimensional shapes quickly and intuitively. In this capacity it’s also a cheap substitute CAD program for those like myself who are too cheap to buy a real CAD program/never took a CAD class/wouldn’t know what CAD program to even look for.

She Dragon promptly bought me a copy for Christmas, and in her typical flair for gift giving couldn’t wait until the holiday to disperse it. Thus I can provide a couple 3D diagrams to help render a few thoughts on the subject of sofas.

Here are two different perspectives of the same scene:

The Knight standing at the table (standing inside a chair) represents Jonathan while the winged girl represents Cecily. The flock of birds represents Cecily’s path as she runs around the back of the room, past the window, in through the door, throws the mail on the table, and continues on through the room and to her final destination behind the sofa where she ducks down to hide in that little pocket between the arm of the sofa and the corner of the room.

Alternately, for a more acrobatic maneuver Cecily could clamber onto the sofa cushions and sort of jump or tumble over the arm of the chair like so:

Either way though she ends up in the pocket between the sofa and the wall. Conveniently, while “hidden” from the door and window in this location Cecily would be clearly visable to the audience (camera) and in a position where she’s facing across the room toward Jonathan at the table as she peeks over the sofa arm.

Although I’m not sure exactly what space you’d be working with here and how the perspectives would be. Or maybe I just misunderstood your conundrum altogether.

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6 thoughts on “Golly-gee! A floating sofa!?

  1. Thanks, although I’m really not sure how much credit I can take here. The program is really simple (if a bit crude when it comes to dimensional accuracy and detail) so IMHO it’s pretty easy to slap something together relatively quickly once you’re familiar with it.

    And it comes with a few pre-generated figures (like the knight, girl, and bird) or I might’ve been here another half the night trying to construct something that looks vaguely humanoid.

  2. Dragon, you understood the problem perfectly and the solution that you’ve offered is a very solid one.

    There are some other problems with the shot that I didn’t fully spell out in my other post though.

    The first one is something you bring up – that of finding an actual space where you could shoot it in. For example, you could feasibly shoot a shot like that in our living room. However, I’m almost certain there would be a lot of difficulty in actually getting the camera back far enough to get such a shot.

    The second problem has to do with plotting. In the scene that I devised, Cecily needs to physically be by Jonathan eventually reading over his shoulder. If she first jumps behind the sofa, then she has to come out from behind it to read over his shoulder. In turn this means that a lot walking around would have to be visually represented. If the visual representation of that motion wasn’t done right – it could really drag. Of course, Cecily wouldn’t have to come out from behind the sofa if I changed the script up. And I could do that – but it would also mean extra work in the end for an element (the sofa) that I was too sure was necessary to the overall plot.

    This all said, now a lot of time has actually been devoted to thinking about the problem – and perhaps it might be an interesting exercise to see if it couldn’t be done.

    BTW – I love the cad program pictures. I actually thought about using a CAD program when we narrowed down the actual spaces we’d be shooting in. Something like that is really good for playing real 3-dimensional space problems.

  3. Maybe the sofa isn’t necessary, but if you want her to hide behind or under something then that something will have to exist. The other option you mentioned earlier was hiding under the table. But I think the table poses a couple problems:

    1) It’s easier to get behind something than under it (crawling can be visually cumbersome compared to vaulting).

    2) Jonathan’s feet and chair will be there so it better be a large table to accomodate all of them.

    3) It seems like shooting the conversation between Cecily and Jon will be difficult if she’s under the table. Where is she looking while she’s under there? She can’t exactly look at Jonathan’s face, and it would probably be tough to have her obviously looking at the door (the place from which danger would come). If you did under the table it would probably have to be a bunch of cut shots between Jonathan’s upper body (above the table) and Cecily crouched underneath… or just Jonathan’s upper body as he leans back trying to talk (annoyedly) to Cecily’s hidden form under the table.

    4) At some point Cecily will have to come out again anyway to look over Jonathan’s shoulder.

    You know, even as I write the stuff above I’m starting to think of little transitions you could use to pull off the table thing. For instance when Cecily comes out from under it there’s not a shot of her crawling akwardly out from under it, instead there’s just a shot over the edge of the table as she flings or pops her head up from behind an edge.

    The thing is, from college, I’m so used to the idea of theater and plays. In theater all the “camera angles” are a pulled-back shot from the audience. But in film you don’t really have to show the entire room in every shot. Alot of shots will just be of a person, or part of a person, or part of a prop or piece of backdrop.

    Alternately, going back to the sofa idea:

    Would it be reasonable for Jon to wander over to the sofa while he’s talking to Cecily and sit down on it near the corner where Cecily’s hiding? That way she could remain in her “hidden” area and attempt to read over his shoulder.

    Or do you want him to keep his distance (indicating his annoyance with Cecily)? And she eventually has to come to him (indicating she’s always the one to bridge the gap between them).

    Yet another alternative would be to have a counter of some sort, like a kitchen island, on top of which Jonathan is working. Cecily could run and throw herself behind it, peeking over the top.

  4. 1) Good point.

    2) Another good point.

    3) I see what you are saying; but I think it could be done. All that really has to be indicated is that she is looking in his direction (sort of like a shooting a phone conversation). I’d see most of the sequence being shot w/ individual close ups rather than two-shots.

    4) More good points. I think that it is going to be difficult getting her out from wherever she is.

    On the sofa: Yes – that is reasonable and I think that would probably work best (having Jonathan move over to the sofa).

    The distance is a factor. In the end however, I would just want to use the scene that played out the best.

    Counter: Another good idea. I’d have to find such a construction though – or build it.

    Final comment: I’m thinking now that whatever I do, I should go back and think about the scene again. You’ve written a lot of good things, and I’m going to see what I can’t come up with to make it a better scene than what I had.

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