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Making of PDINGPDOONG - Awarded Best Student Short Film at Chitrakatha 09 ! PDF Print E-mail
Making of PDINGPDOONG - Awarded Best Student Short Film at Chitrakatha 09 !

Pdingpdoong is a short claymation film made by Krishna Chandran Nair, Manasi Parikh, Nupur Mukherjee and Chewang Lepcha, students of NID studying animation film design. It won the best film award in Chitrakatha'09, in the national category. This film celebrating the rhythm in the everyday lives of conjoined twins, is a 3 min 25 sec short.

Pdingpdoong is the first proper film we made. It officially took 3.5 months while actually work lasted undersurface for a good 8 months. Cramped up in a tiny little room for all of the 4 months, we learnt the fundas of lighting, set building, animating, jugaad, pre-production, post-production, managing time, energy, people, and much more.

The sound design was done by Mr. Roto Shah which set the right mood for the film. Starting a film from a seemingly insignificant floating around idealet and taking it to the ready-to-be-showed-to-the-world stage was an extremely enriching experience. This was one project that we thoroughly enjoyed, and hope the viewers do too.
Krishna Chandran: The claymation workshop is something every animation student at NID looks forward to doing. It was a lot of fun figuring how to make these twins in clay. Having two heads, the upper body tended to be heavier and balancing them on the ground was a big problem. We finally figured it out after various trials and errors. The shoot was the part I enjoyed the most. We had many sleepless nights shooting inside a small room around the corner here in NID. We were so involved in it that I didn't even realise when the winter went by. Not kidding. And we loved experimenting with materials and had a lot of fun working with soap bubbles for the toothpaste froth, Aloe vera gel for the snot, Vicks n Vaseline for the gravy etc etc.... The shoot got over in a month and then came the part we were all worried about. The sound. A few months later while Manasi and me interned with Vaibhav, we met Roto. Tadaaa.....and he, for some reason decided to help us out. And then after a couple of more sleepless nights, the sound was done. Vaibhav was also of great help. By doing claymation, personally, my sense of timing in animation has improved a lot. We had to do several retakes, several editing, several sleepless nights, the set caught fire, but in the end I feel it was all worth it. I think.
Manasi: When Vaibhav came for the claymation workshop we hadn't written a story to animate on, when suddenly an illustration I had done of conjoined twins excited the group and everyone pitched in fun situations they could be in and we had something to animate! A shoddy animatic and wannabe beat sheets later, we started animating. Being a musical, we ought to have had the sound ready before animating, but all we did was an approximate calculation of animating on a tempo of 120. Now that, proved to be crazily inaccurate when we showed Roto the film with a little soundtrack we had attempted to compose. There was so much we learnt as we spent fifteen days with him, editing and re-editing and re-editing and did I mention re-editing?!! The tempo of the film had to become faster, shots smaller, each new one had to start precisely on every fourth beat, and of course the film had to be as Roto put it, 'musically correct'. After interning at Vaibhav's over summer, it was like a second internship at Roto's, there was just so much we needed to learn about all the planning that needs to be done before starting animation! Vaibhav also gave us advice on brutally editing the film and not repeatedly showing the audience what it has already registered. All this later, we worked on the credits sequence, which was quite a breather after all the editing and music! The film was named, and whew...! Pdingpdoong was finally ready. I'm glad we pulled it off! People seem to enjoy watching it and that makes me happy. I leave this film a wee bit wiser, still learning.
Nupur: This film was one project we started with full excitement and abundant energy. Having seen what our seniors had done with this course, we were waiting for it to kickstart. A floating idea of conjoined twins came around and it wasn't long before we were going crazy thinking of what all we could do with it. As we proceeded to the hands-on part, it was weeks before we saw 11 location-sets and several several characters come to life. Managing the skeletal structure for the 2 headed guys was tricky but we cracked it after a series of disoriented twins. I had become quite the tailor making clothes for all of the minuscule people from school uniforms to sarees for the teacher. Materials from everywhere got collected and used in the most unusual ways. vicks turned into sabji, aloe vera gel into snot, glass beads for eyes, and so on. Time rolled away as we spent more than 2 months in a small room where we animated, shot, created, stitched, crashed, ate, slept and even found our set on fire! People came and helped in every way possible. the film had no dialogues but had to be set onto a tempo which we somehow calculated to be 120 bps and started animating. But it was clearly not an easy job to fit things to the tempo. Thats when manasi and kc found roto to the rescue!! the music added the missing flavour. With lots of hiccups and breaks this film took a long time to come to this state of completion. But not one moment has been that which we didn't learn out of and would regret. It has given us lots of learning, fun, opportunities and memories! It was by far one of the most memorable and crazy times we've had!
Chewang: This film wouldn't have been possible without little things that people helped us out with, no wonder our thanks list has so many people! Some delivered food right to our shoot room, while some just came to lend moral support. The music was the main part of our film and we were clueless about it. A big thank you to Roto for the brilliant sound..we were really worried about it. Vaibhav for inspiring us. We had lots of fun making this film. It makes us really happy to see the reaction of the people and it gives us more energy and motivation to work harder and make more films next time. I had never imagined that it would be this good. Personally for me it's the story behind the film which is more interesting. The time we spent in the small room is the most memorable time. We learnt a lot of things and the kind of 'jugad' we did to make ends meet was unbelievable. It gives me goosebumps sometimes and is difficult to believe that we actually made this film. There were lots of crazy times we had while making this, there was this funny time where we had made a small toothpaste for the twins. It went missing the next morning and we really needed it for the shoot. We figured out later in the day that KC and me actually slept on it and it was lying flat on the ground like a dead body. We clicked pics of the poor squished toothpaste and laughed the entire day. There was this strange fire accident as well and once the bananas that Manasi forgot to eat went rotten and started stinking. There are many such tiny tiny memories which make this time really special for us. Well, this was definitely the one most interesting and crazy times we shared. Cheers!
Roto: In my career as a music composer, I have never worked on a student film before. So, when Manasi and KC approached me to help them with the sound for their claymation, I was slightly apprehensive, but the dedication these two fellows had, convinced me to compose music for them. Pdingpdoong, being a musical, the entire track had to be tailor made for the film and it took about 15 sleepless nights and 3 crazily obsessed people to finish the job! Each sound had to be selected with good judgement and we went through many options before picking one. Once this was done, I composed music using those sounds, we slapped it on the video and Manasi and KC edited the footage according to the music. This to and fro process happened a million times before the video and music were in perfect synch with each other. The tricky part was that the music in the film had to sound raw as it was being made by the activities done by the twins, so we had to be very careful to not make it sound like sfx. I learnt a lot from the experiencing of teaching them and invented a new style of working on an existing piece of animated footage, usually people make a scratch sound track before animating and it's a parallel process! All in all it was great fun working with these two, and I think they will make such great stuff in future too if they keep this kind of dedication for every project! I sincerely advice all students to never compromise on anything while making their films. And as for my work, you can find it on www.rotoshah.blogspot.com

National Institute of Design, 2009
A claymation film by Krishna Chandran A. Nair, Manasi Parikh,
Nupur Mukherjee and Chewang Lepcha
Music Composer: Roto Shah

Shot when they won the Best Short Film at Chitrakatha'09 on National Level

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