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Puppet Kaos - where Kelvin Kao plays with puppets and tell random stories

Episode 12 – Daylight Saving

Episode 12 is here! This week, Mac and Cheese is confused about daylight saving time and daylight saving accounts. Bottle Monster educates him about the importance of saving daylight.

If you can’t see the embedded video,
Click here to watch it on YouTube.
Or download Quicktime movies here:
m4v format (40MB)
mov format (15MB)

And this video used lots of graphics generously licensed by their original authors through Creative Commons licenses. There are so many that they deserve their own table:

Graphic Usage Author License

Office Buildings
Bobby’s narration background Sylvain Racicot CC Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic

bank at night
Moostifer night vitamin background Carsten Tolkmit CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

A car drives by in the night
Moostifer’s solar power car Ben Watkin CC Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic

A discovery
Dinasaurs talking Denise Chan CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

Comet McNaught
Comet Steve Crane CC Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

This is also the first episode filmed during day time (except the outdoor UCLA video) using natural daylight, which fits the theme, although it’s not intentional. In fact, I didn’t realize that until just now. 😀 Filming in the dark certainly has some weirdness associated with it.

Creative Commons License

Episode 11 – The Truth Behind Halloween

Episode 11 is here! This week, Mac and Cheese and Bottle Monster investigate why people go trick-or-treating for candy on Halloween on Puppet Kaos’ own newsmagazine 50/50. Do ghosts even like candy? Don’t vampires want blood instead? Does this tradition even make any sense? Let Puppet Kaos tell you the truth behind Halloween!

If you can’t see the embedded video,
Click here to watch it on YouTube.
Or download Quicktime movies here:
m4v format (80MB)
mov format (31MB)

The music is News Sting by Kevin MacLeod. It’s licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

And this video used lots of graphics generously licensed by their original authors through Creative Commons licenses. There are so many that they deserve their own table:

Graphic Usage Author License

colourscapebg3.jpg
50/50 background Jonny Baker CC Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic

My First Jack-o’-Lantern With Ian
Truth Behind Halloween title picture Tze-Her Su CC Attribution 2.0 Generic

Machampane Wilderness Camp
Moostifer walking background 1 Ralph Pina CC Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

San Gorgonio Wilderness
Moostifer walking background 2 Randy McEoin CC Attribution 2.0 Generic

desert view
Bobby walking background 2 Jon Sullivan CC Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic

A Picture Share!
Loose tooth picture Jenny Levine CC Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

At the Dentist
Dentist picture Seth Werkheiser CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

#4 – The Tooth Fairy
Tooth fairy picture Kaptain Kobold CC Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

I just got my new green screen from my friend Fiona, because my apartment-mate lost the mailbox key so I had to mail the greenscreen to a friend who lives nearby when I ordered it. Thanks, Fiona. I’ve been using the new greenscreen backdrop in this episode. I’m still getting used to it. Some of the focus and lighting conditions were not ideal since I’m still experimenting, but it does give me more freedom simply because it’s bigger than my good old green piece of paper.

Creative Commons License

Episode 10 – Silent Sneeze

Episode 10 is here! This week, Bottle Monster keeps wanting to sneeze. Mac and Cheese, Bobby, and Moostifer try to help him find a cure through the power of… silent films.

If you can’t see the embedded video,
Click here to watch it on YouTube.
Or download Quicktime movies here:
m4v format (33MB)
mov format (11MB)

The music is Improbable by Kevin MacLeod. It’s licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

I considered using a sepia effect on the silent film part, but later decided against it. Also I tried rolling the credit for the first time instead of using still ones. It’s kinda cool. I discovered the rolling credit tool when I was editing. Otherwise I was considering possibly animating the rolling motion myself, but that proves to be unnecessary.

Oh yeah, and I was sneezing every now and then when I was making this film, but once I’m done, I stopped sneezing. Man, the human mind is powerful. Okay, maybe it’s just me.

Creative Commons License

Episode 9 – WordCraft

Episode 9 is here! Last time, in Episode 8 – Nobody’s Watching, Mac and Cheese and Bottle Monster decided that they should teach English. Instead of teaching letters like Sesame Street and teaching vowels and consonants like Between the Lions, they decided to teach words with a second meaning that people don’t normally know about. The list of words include stereotype, lexicon, hamlet, listless, sidewalk and multiplication table.

If you can’t see the embedded video,
Click here to watch it on YouTube.
Or download Quicktime movies here:
m4v format (52MB)
mov format (18MB)

The background images for “stereotype” is “DAB Radios” by Salim Fadhley, for “lexicon” is “Lexus” by Der Kraken, and for “listless” is ” ‘Overflow’ effect at Shaw’s Supermarket” by happylilcoder. All three graphics are generously shared by their original author under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Speaking of Creative Commons, starting from this episode (because I’m too lazy to go back and change previous episodes), I’m going to release my videos under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License, thus removing the “All rights reserved” label.

Creative Commons License

How to make a moving mouth puppet with glove hands (Bottle Monster)

If you are looking for a tutorial on how to make a puppet that has a movable mouth and hands that can actually grab things, this tutorial is for you! In this post, I’m going to talk about how to make Bottle Monster, who has a structure similar to that of Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster, Avenue Q’s Trekkie Monster and The Muppet Show’s Rowlf. A lot of these puppets use furry fabric but of course, that’s not a requirement.

Note that Bottle Monster is a variation of my prototype Mac and Cheese. I will not go as much into details as I did in the tutorial on how to build Mac and Cheese (a moving mouth puppet with arm rods), so I strongly recommend you to take a look at that post if you haven’t. First, the materials:

Parts Bottle Monster
Main body furry fabric
Mouth board (interior) cereal box
Mouth board (exterior) black T-shirt
Eyes Index card
Pupil drawn in with a marker
Head stuffing bag of polyfill
Sewing Sewing machine
Glues hot glue gun

Now, the steps: (The pictures match the number of steps. Click to enlarge.)

make-bm-1.gif

1) Draw your pattern onto the fabric: First draw your pattern onto the non-furry side of the fabric if you are using furry fabric because you will be flipping this inside out later. You want to first fold this piece of fabric in half, and then sew along the line you drew. And then cut it out (be careful, don’t cut the lines you’ve just sewn). At this point you should have some kind of giant bag made of fabric. Now flip it inside out. This would be the basic structure of the puppet.

Note that I have two types of patterns here. The one on top is the most straight forward way of doing it. Once you sew it and cut it, you pretty much already have the head, the body and the hands. However, if you didn’t buy enough fabric (I didn’t), then you can do it like the one at the bottom. The basic structure will lack the hands and you’ll make up for that by making two furry gloves that you will sew to the main structure when they are done. This is a little more work but it’s the way to go when you don’t have big enough fabric.

Also, make sure that you draw the hands way bigger than your actual hands. Why? This is because your fingers have some volume. If you just trace your hand instead of drawing it bigger, your fingers will not fit in the gloves when they are made. Also, in the process of sewing things and flipping it inside out, you lose some room too. So make sure you draw the gloves way bigger than your hand.

make-bm-2a.jpgmake-bm-2b.jpgmake-bm-3.jpg

2) Make the mouth board: I cut out a piece of cardboard from the cereal box shown in the picture. (By the way, my ex-apartment-mate Scott said it’s very good cereal. I never tried it though.) And then cover this cardboard with a black piece of fabric. You can use felt or sheet foam if you want, but I just used a black T-shirt that I got from Rite-Aid for 2 bucks.

3) Cut a slit across the face to put the mouth board in: For maximum flexibility of the mouth, cut this slit about equal distance to the top and bottom of the face. Use some trials and errors to determine how wide this slit and how big the mouthboard should be. Before you actually glue them together, you can always make changes.

make-bm-4.jpgmake-bm-5.jpg

4) Glue the mouthboard in: Glue the mouthboard in. If you had done some experimenting in the previous step, the edge of the mouthboard should fit the edge of the open slit fairly well.

5) Put on the eyes: I drew these eyes on an index card, cut them out, and then glue them to the puppet. You can decorate it some more but I chose to keep it simple.

So that’s how you make a moving mouth puppet with glove hands! Now how do we operate this new puppet?

When this kind of puppet appear on TV, it’s usually operated by two puppeteers. One person will use his/her right hand to control the puppet’s mouth, and his/her left hand to control the puppets left hand, while another puppeteer uses his/her right hand to control the puppet’s right hand. But when you only have one puppeteer, you can go without the right hand. In fact, if you’ve noticed in our podcast, Bottle Monster almost never uses his right hand and I often put him on the right side of the screen as a result. What’s awesome about this kind of puppet is that his hands can actually hold things and have flexible gestures. That’s why in my podcasts, he’s usually the one holding a piece of paper reading questions from viewers.

Speaking of which, if you have a question for Mac and Cheese, Bottle Monster, Bobby and Moostifer to answer in our podcast, send an email to puppetkaos@gmail.com! Don’t be shy!

Related post:
How to make a moving mouth puppet with arm rods (Mac and Cheese)

Episode 8 – Nobody’s Watching

Episode 8 is here! Mac and Cheese, Bottle Monster, Bobby and Moostifer sit down to have a meeting because more people are watching Grey’s Anatomy, Law and Order: SVU, and American Idol than Puppet Kaos. They all brainstorm and come up with ideas. And finally they have a trailer for the possible new fall show line-up.

If you can’t see the embedded video,
Click here to watch it on YouTube.
Or download Quicktime movies here:
m4v format (38MB)
mov format (14MB)

The announcer for the trailer segment of the video is my friend and co-worker Alvin Lam. He’s an actor who’s been on CBS’s “The Unit”. In this podcast episode, you only hear his voice. To watch him, check out episode “Freefall” (Season 2, Episode 22) of “The Unit” where he played a spoiled Thai prince. Many thanks to his highness for voicing over our little puppet show.

The music is Welcome to the Show by Kevin MacLeod. It’s licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

The background picture used in the “Who’s Smarter than a Chair” shot was by “Sports Chair” by Jeff Kramer. It’s also licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

If you have any thoughts, feel free to leave me a comment. Also remember that you can have new posts emailed to you or subscribe via iTunes.

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