The Haunted Library is located in Fenwright Manor, just behind those pocket doors in the foyer. Don't you just love the smell of old books? Actually it's just a how- to index

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Work of Sound Design. (Scrooge and Marley)

This is an exercise in sound design. Some sounds can be used to create scenes in sound. Sound effect records do this if the record has a theme. (Example: 1964's Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House). That record was effective in telling stories using sounds that were layered. A five channel mixer can be used to achieve this. Or a computer program such as Wavepad can also be used. These kind of programs can be easy to use. In 2002, I decided to recreate the conversation between Ebenezer Scrooge and Jacob Marley using one microphone, a cup, a chain, and a metal toolbox full of wrenches. I am a fan of the 1951 version of "A Christmas Carol" and try to impersonate Alastair Sim, but it seems to be very tongue in cheek. Last year I used a program to add a reverb to Jacob Marley's parts. Now the following is not to be taken seriously, but as a guide to the wonderful world of sound design.

(Note: I had tried several times to upload the audio to a mp3 flash player site. I had decided to make a movie, then upload it directly here. ) (( This book was published by Castle Books, sound editing was done on wavepad))

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Light set

Have a light set you don't know what to do with? Have some scrap wood?
In 2008 I needed a better way to illuminate my nutcrackers, so I decided to come up with a solution. "Tack the lights I was using to some wood to get the lights to stand on end!!!"
For this you will need:
*Light set
*Scrap wood
*Wire staples
*Small hammer

If you have more than three lights, you will need one piece of wood for each light. And as for light sets you could use the standard C6 light sets or the strings of 3 to 5 lights that are used for those porcelain Christmas villages. I used a set of 3 lights that came from a lawn decoration.
If you have a long piece of scrap wood, you can use that instead of cutting small pieces. Now the scrap wood has to be a little bit longer than your light socket. (About 5" or 13cm)
Now you will need to place the socket in the center of the scrap wood and you will need two staples for each light. Place each staple about 2" or 5cm away from the socket and carefully tack it with a small hammer. Do the same for the other side of the socket. It will be time consuming, so don't rush or you could peirce the wire.

If you have some kind of reflector or small mirror, it will help make the lights brighter. I had some more wood that I cut into three pieces and painted red. I hope to paint a stenciled design on them someday.

Everything should be to your personal taste. If want to do something different; go ahead.

Monday, November 1, 2010

All lit up

What the picture doesn't show is the five different shades of yellow lights. It really is a sight to see live.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

more pumpkin quintet

Not a how to, just a Halloween picture .  
The pumpkin quintet.  In 2008, I had the idea to make singing pumpkins as a side project.  They were inspired by the Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay of the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.  These five were named after the singing busts in the graveyard jamboree scene at the end.
Their names are starting with the top titled one: Uncle Theodore
Row 2: the one with the left is Rollo Rumkin, the one on the right is Cousin Al.
Row 3: The one on the left with the goofy grin is Phineas Pock, the one on the right with the crescent shaped eyes is Ned Nub.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

things to know

Phantom of the Opera organ 10/31/2000

Over the past few Halloween seasons I have realized that what I have done by building my set-ups is become my own production company. My skills are the same as what would be used in a movie or stage play.

Here is the list I made up as I went along.

*Set Design
*Set Decoration(placement of props and spider webs)
*Electrical Work
*Art Department (painting and making props)
*Costume Design
*Sound Design(recording and editing sound effects)
*Concept artist
My brother also helps with setting things up and adds his own props.
He's also his own hair and Make-up department. I guess the fog machine would be considered special effects.

Lost in Schlock has a link to an article on the categories of props.

So, in summary the key skills that will help you build your Halloween set-ups should include:

*Welding (building metal frames)
*Painting {includes painting props} (you don't have to paint like Van Gogh, but I study old paintings to help me)
*Electrical(if you're nervous about wiring things, don't do it, get help.)
*Study how machines work(Like the now defunct put it, take apart old machines to see how they work, that should help when you're ready to build animated props)
*Sculpting and Casting
*Papier Mache( Some haunters do amazing things with just paper and glue)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

An Idea

I have a fairly good idea on the next project; but there must be some restraint.
*If I ever get my "Peppers Ghost" illusion started, I will post a short tutorial
*I'm deciding on whether or not to post my plinth tutorial, since cinder blocks are heavy and could be a source of injury.
* I will post pics (not a tutorial) of my grave jumper project.

But for now, here's my pumpkin quintet (inspired by the singing busts in the Haunted Mansion and Haunted Mansion Holiday (The Nighmare Before Christmas Overlay)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ghost Lighting set-up

This is my ghost lighting setup from Halloween 2007. It is fairly simple to do, but you can add whatever color lights you want and change things around to suit your taste. You will need a fan directed at the setup 'cause it's gonna get warm.  This post has a companion post with pictures here

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Simple Ghost

This is one of my favorites. This is how I built a simple, but effective ghost. Now you can feel free to customize or change things around to your preference.

You will need:

*An old fan stand

*Spring tension shower curtain rod (take the rubber ends off)

*Duct tape

* 16"(40.6 cm) to 18"(45.7 cm) metal bar

I used an old metal bar from a broken lamp

* Rubber or Plastic skull

* Two small rubber balls

* Big white sheet (double or queen)

* Old white shirt or cheesecloth

Now I may post a video later, but for now I am just going to tell how I did this.

Take the shower curtain rod and extend it a few turns

Now measure down from the top 12" (30.4 cm)

This is where the small metal rod comes in to play

Now wrap the small metal rod across the curtain rod with duct tape, any way you want.

{This picture is what it looks like after I taped across the shower rod, and put the skull on top. }
Now for skull preferences it's your choice, I painted the skull to look ghostly and glued the small rubber balls in to the eye sockets.
Now mount the skull on top of the rod and put the other end into the fan stand.
Here's the part that's tricky: Drape the large sheet over the frame and fasten it to itself with either a clothespin or saftey pin. You may need a step ladder to do this :)
I like to use an old white shirt for the hood 'cause the sheet likes to slide off the skull.
The best thing about the shower curtain rod is it can be extended by turning the bottom part to any length. I usually extend to about 7 feet or (2.13 m) or 6 and a half feet (1.95 m)
You can put a black light on your ghost or light it from below with a blue light.

{This is from Halloween 2009 where I put the ghost on top of cinder blocks for extra height.}

Sunday, September 5, 2010

new blog!

Welcome to Fenwright Manor's haunted library. I have decided to start a how-to blog since people ask how I build my props. More to come soon.