This instructables Vampire Robot was made from a cut-out postcard.
I couldn't help notice the similarity to the Bob Newby character in Stranger Things 2 when he is dressed up as a vampire for Halloween. So I made a stage with the rotten pumpkin field and a 84' computer art background to honor the great show on Netflix.
I took some photos of the progress and share some tips on capturing the Vampire Robot on camera.
Don't worry -The "Beyond" (behind the scenes) contains no spoilers here!
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Step 1: Setup Workspace
The images show my workspace in three stages.
Stage 1: Basic setup
Camera on a flexible tri-pod. I use a battery power adaptor to run my Sony NEX-5 from a power outlet. There is nothing fun about taking an hour off while recharging a battery. Much needed since I use the digital view-finder as a live camera and keep it on all the time.
(Fun Fact, the Vampire Robot is visible even in a camera with a mirror...)
The assembled Vampire Robot is placed on a cat cardboard scratching pad with lots of holes in it to put toothpicks for support to props when needed. A large piece of flexible cardboard was placed behind to soften the LED light strip (placed above, "flood light" as he main light source). White walls or reflective table would bounce light around the scene so avoid those surfaces.
Stage 2: Gather Props
Get some gadgets, pieces of electronics and whatever you have in mind to tinker with in the scene.
Props for Stranger Things scenery is leafs and fruits from trees outdoors. Other things are some random electronic components, tape, toothpicks, tools, and coffee. Don't start a project without your favourite beverage.
The USB LED light is a nice gadget that I use for single light (spotlight) or to cast shadows (fill light). Perfect for a miniature set like this.
Stage 3: Building the Scene
A specific scene has been conjured from pieces of the Stranger Things 2 series. "Bob" the Vampire Robot is what the scene is built for and must match in scale. The season is autumn, yellow red leafs, yellow pumpins and some rotten pumpkins (cut open and put in place using tooth picks) on the left side.
Camera, lights, action. Take the picture. And another.
Move props or change lights. Take another picture.
Enhancements to Vampire Robot
In some other scenes I had in mind I wanted the Vampire Robot arms in different positions, holding or reaching things. This was easily done with one extra cut in the robots body to rotate arm in 90 degrees turns.
When experimenting with different simpler scenes I noticed that the robots legs got softer. This resulted in the comical 'small circus robot'. Using a strong transparent package tape on the legs to connect the 'underbelly', the robot got sturdy legs again. Excess tape was cut away to not show in pictures.
Step 2: Focus and Background
The first three pictures show Vampire Robot in front of an old CPU.
The second set of three pictures have different backgrounds.
The last picture show three steps of making a digital background.
Tip 1: Use Focus
Notice how the depth of focus changes in the pictures.
Place focus according to what you want to show, or blur out what is only in the background. The third photo have deeper depth of focus and while it shows booth objects in detail, the viewer of the photo don't know what is relevant. Make that choice using focus.
Tip 2: Use Backgrounds
I took some pictures with different backgrounds before settling on the black mouse pad (night scene). In one I use a metal mesh from a pasta rinser. In the other I had a live video image in the surfpad while testing surface reflections (a look behind the scenes of the 'Beyond' behind the scenes - sort of). Then I put the image with ASCII text on the surfpad placed as a background for the scene.
Making the ASCII Stranger Things Retro Logo
The last image shows the original Stranger Things logo from Netflix. I adjusted the image to remove color glow and made it black and white.
The modified logo was then uploaded into a Picture to Text generator webpage (text-image.com worked best for me). Save the text (not HTML) to a file using notepad. Then open up the Command Prompt application (or Terminal window) and show the textfile content (using command 'type'). Adjust the text color to green and window size to fit all the text. Take a screen capture image and show it on the surfpad for use as a scene background.
Step 3: Be Creative
Here are some more pictures I made trying different scenes with the Vampire Robot model.
Place props objects in the scene, turn them around, assemble or place in new ways.
Take a picture.
Step 4: What's Next?
I finished the Stranger Things 2 scene and documented most of the work in this Instructable.
There are so many fun scenes that can be made with this cut-out Vampire Robot at the core of inspiration.
I really hope more Instructables postcards will be made (please?).
If you run out of ideas:
Go back to step 1 or step 2 to get you back on track!