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Frank makes a bowl while Bonnie plays the cello
April 27, 2013 7:56 AM   Subscribe

Gorgeous stop-motion photography of a wooden bowl being made.
posted by pjern (45 comments total) 50 users marked this as a favorite

 
That is amazing. Almost zen-like in the mastery and simplicity of the cello accompanying the craftsmanship. Bravo!

Um, on further notice: Here's the original video, as the Liveleak video is only a re-upload with no citation/credit, and the video is too cool to exist orphaned. The original creator is Frank Howarth, based out of Portland, Oregon (of course). He also made his own woodshop from scratch (!), and he makes some really cool things, (this desk is AMAZING).

I think I wanna be him, later on in life. Also if I have some spare thousands, he's gonna make all my furniture.
posted by kurosawa's pal at 8:11 AM on April 27, 2013


Howarth previously.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:17 AM on April 27, 2013


[Swapped original Youtube link into the post.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:21 AM on April 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Frank has ruined how-to videos for me, so many people talk about what they are going to do, then show the result (it's hard to record while working). Anybody know what camera equipment/software he uses?
posted by 445supermag at 8:26 AM on April 27, 2013


good lord I feel dirty... engineering porn.
posted by infini at 8:28 AM on April 27, 2013


Frank makes a bowl while Bonnie plays the cello
Bill shovels coal while Sally eats the jello
Cindy hammers nails while Bernie kicks the bucket
Annie rides the rails while William says "ah, fuck it"
and they're all swappin' You Tube links
yeah they're all swappin' You Tube links

Johnny downs the gin while Lola cleans the stable
Freddy strokes his chin while Ellen clears the table
Hannah signs a check while Jason lights a candle
Molly twists her neck while Sammy turns the handle
and they're all swappin' You Tube links
yeah they're all swappin' You Tube links
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:37 AM on April 27, 2013 [20 favorites]


That was fantastic. I liked the sentient clamps and kept expecting the mice from Bagpuss to show up. Could watch that for hours.
posted by arcticseal at 8:48 AM on April 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I... I.. I have never wanted to purchase a wooden bowl so badly.

Does anyone know where in the Uk I get get nice ones that don't break the bank?
posted by Faintdreams at 8:49 AM on April 27, 2013


My stepfather now and then makes things like this but I've never appreciated how much work must go into it. Wow.
Does anyone know where in the Uk I get get nice ones that don't break the bank?
Craftfairs. Even if there's not one on show getting talking to a woodcrafter might lead somewhere.
posted by Jehan at 9:06 AM on April 27, 2013


I must admit, I'm pretty partial to doing things like this out of mud, but wood turning is something I could watch all day and it still amazes me, mostly because my craft in throwing a pot doesn't translate to it at all (glass blowing is the other which it seems to me should have some crossover, but sadly, no). Also this joke: What do you call a potter with 9 fingers? A woodturner.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 9:16 AM on April 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Frank makes a bowl while Bonnie plays the cello
Bill shovels coal while Sally eats the jello


Alrighty, then. Mefi Music challenge time!
posted by pjern at 9:19 AM on April 27, 2013


That was beautiful. Both the bowl and the short film.
posted by donajo at 9:27 AM on April 27, 2013


sloppy intonation and stop motion go together so nicely
posted by idiopath at 9:34 AM on April 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


I thought I would be the only ass to chime in about the cellist's intonation. Oh well.
posted by ReeMonster at 9:49 AM on April 27, 2013


Oh, I wasn't being sarcastic. I like the way sloppy intonation and herky-jerky stop motion go together.
posted by idiopath at 10:02 AM on April 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you've ever tried to make something in the workshop AND take photos of it at the same time, you know it can get hectic. Remembering to do both jobs, knowing exactly what you are going to do so you don't take photos of the wrong stuff, etc. So I already thought it was pretty incredible that he could not only do that but ALSO animate it (i.e. the lifelike clamps and in general remembering what each thing was "doing" to move it for each frame).

Then, in the comments: I do the exposure manually for each shot, then it won't flicker as much between frames.

W
T
F
posted by DU at 10:16 AM on April 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Beautiful tools. Beautiful bowl.

(In the back of my head I can hear my woodworking teacher; "Stop fucking around in the shop, you'll lose a finger!")
posted by R. Mutt at 10:19 AM on April 27, 2013


Those bowls don't make themselves.

This is really beautiful.
posted by salishsea at 10:22 AM on April 27, 2013


loving these sorts of processes is why i follow r/ArtisanVideos.
posted by nadawi at 10:28 AM on April 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


What a lovely video. My grandfather was Ray Allen. I'm told he was one of the guys that pioneered this segmented business. It bring back a lot of memories me watching him design his bowls and cutting jigs and rigs and whatchamacallits to make sure every angle was correct. Racks of exotic wood hung from the sides of the walls and the rafters - shades of red, yellow and black. Sawdust was everywhere and huge fans blowing out the dust masked almost all ambient noises other than saws. His designs were intricate and very time consuming - he never had a computer all his designs were done on huge sheets of graph paper with drafting tools. It would often take months to finish a piece, but he enjoyed every single moment of it.
posted by Brent Parker at 10:38 AM on April 27, 2013 [18 favorites]


I was watching the video and thinking "how is all this going to come together to make a bowl?" and then suddenly it did, and my mind is blown.
posted by Solomon at 10:49 AM on April 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


I believe in magic when I see it.
posted by mule98J at 11:11 AM on April 27, 2013


Was the cello intonation really that sloppy? I actually thought it was part of the piece. Like, two lines playing in different keys. It gives it character, ya know?
posted by sixohsix at 11:18 AM on April 27, 2013


That was more than two tunings worth of pitches (not to mention key signatures).
posted by idiopath at 11:28 AM on April 27, 2013


Then, in the comments: I do the exposure manually for each shot, then it won't flicker as much between frames.

That means you put the camera on a tripod, look through the lens and set the exposure so the in-viewfinder meter says it's right, and don't change it for the rest of the series. It's not at all difficult, and barely any additional effort, but it makes a huge difference to have all the frames of animation exposed the same. I think that's exactly the kind of thing that being a carpenter is all about - knowing what small steps along the way will make the later steps easier or the end result better.
posted by aubilenon at 11:44 AM on April 27, 2013


Frank's video inspired me to set up a camera and record both some video and a series of stop-motion photos showing the installation of an engine in an old car. All of that raw footage is right here in a directory, mocking me.

Even doing a blog post with ten photos in it is hard; when I'm working on something, I generally get into a groove and forget to continue taking photos. Plus later the actual writing of the blog post takes as long as the project, sometimes, which means I can't be working on yet another project.

I guess it would be one thing if the putting-together-of-the-how-to was as much fun as the physical work, but I sit on my ass all day in front of this box; these days I have way more fun when my non-work involves something else.
posted by maxwelton at 12:04 PM on April 27, 2013


Frank's video inspired me to set up a camera and record both some video and a series of stop-motion photos showing the installation of an engine in an old car.

Hey if it's any motivation I would watch the shit out of that.
posted by invitapriore at 12:18 PM on April 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Further exploration of his videos yields this bad boy....

My life has been wasted because it hasn't been building towards making shit like this.
posted by fatbird at 12:37 PM on April 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Aubilenon, you are missing a lot.

If he did what you say, this would happen:
If the camera is in spot metering mode, the exposure would be different depending on exactly what is in from of the metering point. Pictures would be lighter if a dark section of the bow was being metered, for example.

If he was using a weighted metering mode, the exposure would change as the composition changed. For example, if the cutting tool takes a larger percentage of the frame when he moves it to the left and right.

If he was using a smart metering mode, then all bets are off. My latest generation DSLR will change the exposure if it detects 'faces' in the frame. You would be amazed at how many things show up as faces, almost anything with two contrasting circles.

He is either using some help, like incident light meters, grey cards, etc... Or he pays as much attention to the photography craft as he does to the wood turning one. Like really thinking about the light value in the composition, metering several spots and calculating the exposure compensation.

Source: experience.
posted by Doroteo Arango II at 12:52 PM on April 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Frank's video inspired me to set up a camera and record both some video and a series of stop-motion photos showing the installation of an engine in an old car.

Hey if it's any motivation I would watch the shit out of that.


You mean like this video of a Triumph Spitfire engine rebuild? (previously on MeFi)
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 1:04 PM on April 27, 2013


Doroteo, I think you are missing one more exposure mode: the full manual. You have a wood shop with controlled lighting, so you set the camera on the tripod, meter the light and then lock the settings to full manual: let's say 1/15s @ f/5.6. Now, regardless of what's in front of the camera, the exposure is exactly same. You only need to readjust when you move the camera or change the focal length. Which was Aubilenon's point.
posted by blindcarboncopy at 1:53 PM on April 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Molly twists her neck while Sammy turns the handle

But the pump don't work 'cause the vandals took the handles.
posted by yoink at 3:41 PM on April 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I do not know which I want more, that bowl, or the tools (and knowledge) to make it.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:19 PM on April 27, 2013


You have a wood shop with controlled lighting, so you set the camera on the tripod, meter the light and then lock the settings to full manual: let's say 1/15s @ f/5.6. Now, regardless of what's in front of the camera, the exposure is exactly same.

...except that you don't have controlled lighting; you have sun shining through a window.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:32 PM on April 27, 2013


Last post here, for I think the bowl making is way more interesting than the photography.

I was responding to " look through the lens and set the exposure so the in-viewfinder meter says it's right, and don't change it for the rest of the series".

I am sure he is using manual exposure mode, but having to figure out some exposure compensation due to the non-uniform light in the shop. I am assuming that he spent several hours a day working on this, so apart from different light levels in different parts of the shop, he would have to account for the changing natural light coming in through the window.

If the right exposure close to the window is 1/15 @ f/5.6 at 9:00 a.m., it will be different at 3:00 p.m. or at the dark corner of the shop.

Me, I would just get a good enough exposure mid morning, shoot in RAW and post process to get rid of flickering. But I admire someone who can get everything done in the camera the same way I admire someone that can use manual jigs and fixtures to cut all the pieces of the bowl instead of using CAD and laser cutting.
posted by Doroteo Arango II at 4:50 PM on April 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Alrighty, then. Mefi Music challenge time!

Can we do a Mefi Projects challenge where we all make something out of wood?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 2:23 PM on April 28, 2013


Very cool! The clamps reminded me of Sid's room from Toy Story. I actually never knew how turned wood bowls were made, so doubly fascinating, thanks!
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 2:37 PM on April 28, 2013


If the right exposure close to the window is 1/15 @ f/5.6 at 9:00 a.m., it will be different at 3:00 p.m. or at the dark corner of the shop.

Yeah, but he only needs to keep the exposure settings fixed for each short clip, not for the whole video. I think the longest segment is the clamps gluing the triangular strips together and then dancing around. Some wood glues only need to be clamped for 45 minutes. Other wood glues want 24 hours, which from a lighting point of view, is like 0 hours, if you can get the same weather twice in a row. You might be able to do that sort of thing on an overcast day, where the directional light wouldn't change much. Overcast days are not rare in Oregon. And it would definitely work fine to do it at night. With a 45 minute wood glue I would imagine one could shoot that clamps section in a couple hours.

I would just get a good enough exposure mid morning, shoot in RAW and post process to get rid of flickering.

If you want to do any stop motion segment that takes longer than a few hours to shoot, the right way to do it is to control the lighting, not adjust for it in post. So do it at night or close the blinds. Individually correcting each frame will be time consuming and produce worse results. In any case you want your camera on manual exposure, because otherwise your camera will change the exposure (causing flicker) when objects in your scene move around, even if the lighting is 100% constant.
posted by aubilenon at 2:55 PM on April 28, 2013


Thanks for the link.
posted by Rash at 4:29 PM on April 28, 2013


Weird how folks seem to think the photography is the black magic part. I'm a fan of power tools, but lathes still scare me. Hold your tool at the wrong angle and it gets ripped out of your hand and thrown across the room or possibly through you. Forget to roll up your sleeve and the piece can grab it and pull you in. So many things that can go wrong...same with that radial arm saw he's got. Dude's obviously got some money in the shop, I really wonder why he doesn't get a chop saw with a guard for his crosscuts.
posted by echo target at 7:54 AM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Radial arm saws aren't really that dangerous for cross cuts, as long as you keep track of where your fingers are on the hand holding the work, recognize that the blade wants to come towards you and you therefore need to control the cut speed actively. Old round-arm DeWalts like his are great machines, and enable you to cross cut much wider stock than a chop saw can accomplish, even sliding versions are typically limited to 12" or so.

If you want to make your blood run cold from a safety standpoint, take a look at a swing saw.
posted by maxwelton at 12:18 PM on April 30, 2013


but lathes still scare me.

Really?

Then for sure this little old lady here must have had superb workshop masters straight from Bangalore's best factories. I thought the lathe sang the songs of the body electric. (with pardons to PKD)
posted by infini at 12:33 AM on May 1, 2013


Wood lathe was better and more fun given I weighed 40Kg at 157cm on a good day
posted by infini at 12:34 AM on May 1, 2013


Wood lathe was better and more fun given I weighed 40Kg at 157cm on a good day

I don't know enough about wood turning - how does one's size affect the process?
posted by aubilenon at 9:57 AM on May 1, 2013


You need a steady hand against the machine. See original comment in thread:

Hold your tool at the wrong angle and it gets ripped out of your hand and thrown across the room or possibly through you. Forget to roll up your sleeve and the piece can grab it and pull you in. So many things that can go wrong...
posted by infini at 11:46 AM on May 1, 2013


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