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Making the animated trailer #7 – post Friday, 26 February 2010

Posted by Helen in Animation, Behind the Scenes.
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Previous instalment: Making the animated trailer #6 – music

The last stage in making a film is post-production. For the Carry a Poem animation, post was all about putting together different layers. We “rendered” each part of the animation separately and then composited them in post. (Rendering is the last stage in creating CGI animation footage and the one stage that the computers do for us. The computers take all the information we’ve given them, and generate one or more finished images for each frame of the animation.)

So, for example, each frame where the poetry cloud is pulsing through the headphones…

Carry a Poem frame 3329 (Headphones)

…is made up of four layers: the street background, the headphones, the poetry cloud, and the Carry a Poem logo:

Carry a Poem frame 3329 (4 layers)

It’s even more complex at the points where the poetry cloud is transforming the street. This image…

Carry a Poem frame 2401 (explosion)

… has two street backgrounds, not just one: one without the poetry murals, and one with. These are combined using a mask which shows the splats where the poetry cloud has hit the walls, so identifies the areas in which the murals should be revealed:

Carry a Poem frame 2401 (poetry splats)

This creates a combined background onto which we add: the poetry cloud (in two layers because the number of particles in the cloud was too high for them all to be rendered together) plus the Carry a Poem logo (tiny, but still there):

Carry a Poem frame 2401 (4 layers)

As you can imagine, the biggest challenge in all this is keeping everything organised. Until all the layers are put together it’s very hard to check the renders, so it’s crucial that the whole process is planned and managed carefully. This involves lots of thinking things through at the beginning plus many diagrams charting what will go where.

It’s worth all the hard work, though. The moment when everything comes together to produce a finished film is brilliant!

Helen Jackson has been writing every week about the production of the Carry a Poem trailer. This is her last post. For more blog posts about animation, take a look at Binary Fable’s blog.

Richard Carries A… Pencil Thursday, 25 February 2010

Posted by edincityoflit in Behind the Scenes, Carry A....
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Yet another poem carrying attempt goes horribly wrong – from pickles and penguins to pints and phones, some of the people of Edinburgh aren’t quite getting this Carry a Poem carry on.

Unless Richard is carrying a pencil in order to write a poem down? He certainly looks very thoughtful.

Simon Carries A… Pint Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Posted by edincityoflit in Behind the Scenes, Carry A....
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Oh dear, some people just aren’t getting the message.  Carry a Poem, a poem, that’s right, Carry a Poem in February 2010. Not a penguin, a pickle, or a phone.

Not a pint, either, Simon Puttock.  Although since you were at the City of Literature salon evening, and you are a local author, we will let you off this time.

Ailsa Carries A… penguin Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Posted by edincityoflit in Behind the Scenes, Carry A....
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Ailsa comes all the way from Aberdeen to join in the campaign and gets it… wrong. D’oh. We sent her back.

It’s Carry a Poem, Ailsa, not carry a penguin! Or a pickle. Or a phone.

Send your Carry a Poem pictures and stories to carryapoem@cityofliterature.com.

Poetry Pocketcards – In Detail Monday, 22 February 2010

Posted by edincityoflit in Behind the Scenes, Poets.
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The 20 different poetry pocketcards we produced have proved very popular – we set 50,000 of them free across town so people could instantly begin to Carry a Poem, if they didn’t already. Which is your favourite?

Carol Ann Duffy is Professor of Contemporary Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University, and in May 2009 was appointed Poet Laureate – both the first woman and the first Scot to hold the post.  She has won a series of major awards, including the T S Eliot prize for Rapture, the Whitbread Poetry Award for Mean Time and a Scottish Arts Council Award for Standing Female Nude.

Primarily a poet, Diana also writes short stories and is the author of many children’s books. She’s worked as a journalist, English teacher and a tutor at the University of Bristol, University of the West of England and the Open University. She has tutored many creative writing courses for the Arvon Foundation and for a year was writer-in-residence at Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary. She is a member of Shore Poets, and is currently a Royal Literary Fund Fellow based at Edinburgh University. She writes the occasional book review for The Spectator.

As a poet, Alan Spence has made zestful use of haiku in Glasgow Zen, Seasons of the Heart and Clear Light. He uses the haiku form to explore the essential paradox of life, discovering timelessness in cycles of changes, immanence in the finite, simplicity in the intricate. He has received many awards for his writing. Alan Spence is based in Edinburgh where he and his wife run the Sri Chinmoy Meditation Centre, and he is Professor in Creative Writing at the University of Aberdeen, where he is also artistic director of the annual WORD Festival.  His new book, coming out in May, is called Morning Glory. It’s a collection of haiku and tanka, with illustrations by Elizabeth Blackadder, and it’s published by Renaissance Press.Alec is an artist, poet & publisher. Born in Scotland in 1966, he now lives in the North-East of England, in Byker (Newcastle upon Tyne). He is currently artist in residence at NaREC the New and Renewable Energy Centre (Blyth), and working on commissions for Milton Keynes Gallery, Kielder Partnership and Bluecoat Gallery (Liverpool). He has worked on collaborative poetry and art projects with children, including WORDWOOD, Mesostic Laboratorium, Mesostic Curriculum and nine colours.


Susie Maguire is a former actor, comedy performer and TV presenter, who now writes fiction. She is deviser and editor of Little Black Dress, an anthology of short stories by women on the theme of the ubiquitous and iconic frock, published March 2006. Her own stories are published in two collections: Furthermore and The Short Hello. Her poetry collection How To Hug is available from Mariscat Press or via www.scottish-pamphlet-poetry.com.

Susie Maguire and Edinburgh author Vivian French have together created poetry pin badges, available from The Edinburgh Bookshop or by direct request.Jackie Kay was born and brought up in Scotland. She has published five collections of poetry for adults, all published by Bloodaxe – The Adoption Papers (winner of a Forward Prize, a Saltire Award and a Scottish Arts Council Book Award), Other Lovers (which won the Somerset Maugham Award), Off Colour, shortlisted for the 1999 TS Eliot Award, Life Mask (2005) and Darling: New and Selected Poems (2007). Her first novel, Trumpet (Picador, 1998), won the Guardian Fiction Prize, a Scottish Arts Council Book Award and The Authors’ Club First Novel Award. She has written for the stage and television and worked with composer Mark Anthony Turnage.

Douglas Dunn was born in Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, in 1942. In 1991 he was appointed Professor in the School of English at the University of St Andrews. He has won a Somerset Maugham Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, and has twice been awarded prizes by the Scottish Arts Council. In 1981 he was awarded the Hawthornden Prize for St Kilda’s Parliament. In 1986 he was overall winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year Award for his collection Elegies.

Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh is a Gaelic poet based in Scotland.

John Hegley was born in 1953 in Newington Green, and moved to Luton at an early age. He has worked with two children’s theatre groups, ‘Interaction’ and ‘Soapbox’, and began his highly successful career at the notoriously tough comedy store in 1980. His first notable media exposure was the John Peel sessions (Radio One), with songs about spectacles and the misery of human existence. In 2000, John received an honorary Arts Doctorate from Luton University and had his most notable live engagement in a women’s prison, Medellin, Columbia. John’s latest collections are The Sound of Paint Drying (Methuen 2003), Uncut Confetti (Methuen 2006) and The Adventures of Monsieur Robinet (Donut Press 2009).

Jenny Joseph was born in Birmingham, and studied English literature at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, before becoming a journalist. She was awarded the 1986 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for her fiction work Persepone, and she is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Her best known poem, Warning, was written in 1961 and included in her 1974 collection Rose In the Afternoon and the The Oxford Book of Twentieth Century English Verse.

Read on – more poets and pocketcards >>>