Some of Rod’s illustrative work
“It all started in 1964 with my first film, ‘A Man’s Best Friend’; The magic of puppet animation had cast its spell over me and I was enchanted.”says Rod.This is the fascinating true story of a person’s love for puppets. Rod shares his life growing up in Natal and later in Johannesburg, South Africa. His hobbies and career at the SABC reveal a journey of puppetry from stop frame to the unique Micromation and Mechamation rod controlled puppets which were used in the well known ‘Wielie Walie’ and ‘Liewe Heksie’ series. This book is a first documenting of those pioneer years at SABCTV, and will be enjoyed by all those interested in the making of puppets for film and television. Rod generously shares his knowledge and experience in puppet making and includes some cost effective ‘how to’ information with many detailed illustrations.
An ibook version will soon be available for download
I was fortunate enough to be one of the pioneers who got to be on the SABC team when television first came to South Africa, and to be part of a small group of creative people who produced the following puppets children’s entertainment. I was given the task of setting up the model making/ scenic services department and our first project turned out to be the well known Has Das with his entertaining news reports, then came
1965 stop frame puppet animation 8mm film. At the age of 24 this personal project was done using a Paillard Bolex P1 with single frame attachment. I had had no formal training and had just read as many books as I could find on stop frame film making.This project was done over about eight months working in my spare time. It won several local and international awards.
This stop frame puppet animation was made in 1965 in my garage at home. I used an 8mm Paillard P1 Bolex camera to shoot frame by frame. The puppets made are about 3 inches in size. The biggest challenge was to animate in sync to the music. This was achieved by scratching the timing of the music onto 8mm film with a pin and thereby calculating the frames needed for synchronization.
Shot on commercial Ektachrome Colour Film (1973). The Frog Steam Band was intended for a 10 minute short film. It was never completed as I began working for SABC Television in 1975.