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Bluefish Documentary

BLUEFISH – An Indiegogo Project Waiting To Be Funded

Bluefish – Prince of Bosphorus from mert gokalp on Vimeo.

My friend Mert Gokalp is a marine scientist, photographer, videographer and documentary film maker, who spent his entire life on exploring the blue depths. After making of IRME an award winning “Sponge diving movie” in 2014, Mert and his team is now working on a 1.5 year long underwater documentary project about disappearing of Bluefish from Bosphorus waters.

One by one fish is disappearing from Bosphorus waters, the narrowest and most productive sea canal in the entire planet. The canal waters are busy in all terms, both underwater and above. Ferry traffic, small boats, water taxis, oil tankers coasters, private boats, fishing fleet. Nearly 20 million people living around, 20 million hungry people ! All that industry, pollution heavy fishing!

Fisherman with small boats using traditional fishing methods for hunting bluefish and other fish species use similar methods for thousands of years in Istanbul.

Fisherman with small boats using traditional fishing methods for hunting bluefish and other fish species use similar methods for thousands of years in Istanbul.

I was involved in making of IRME; his first underwater film. Now, I would like to invite you to either fund or promote through social media to help this wonderful project to come to life.

If you think that you could introduce the campaign to the people whom can aid, please do that. We will be most grateful.

Facebook page of Bluefish >

Indiegogo campaign page >.

Useful Website With Animated Mechanisms is one of the websites I would recommend for automata makers. I am working on a new automaton and animations here help me a lot to plan the mechanism. There are videos of different mechanisms. On some of the pages, there are flash animations where you can change the values and see the result immediately.

Sample Mechanisms:

Here I am attaching two screenshots from the website:

Four Gaps Genova

Four gaps geneva mechanism.


Cardan Gear

A Cardan Gear Mechanism

For more you can visit

Basil Twist Puppets Alive

Puppets Alive

There is something kind of freaky about it being alive but not. And it’s a line between our imaginations and what we believe in and what’s alive and what’s not. And it’s basic and simple. It’s been going on for thousands of years.
-Basil Twist

There are some books, I read over and over again. Some films I watch again every once in a while. Some songs I never get tired of listening to. This video about the puppeteer Basil Twist is one of those. The way he describes puppetry and the passion in his eyes…

Basil Twist is a director, scenographer, puppetry artist. He is now best known for his underwater puppet show, “Symphonie Fantastique” I have never gotten a chance to watch his shows alive but have been following him online. I especially like the “Dogugaeshi” show where he uses the Japanese art form of sliding screens.

For more info wikipedia page, his website. and a video by The New Yorker about him..

Automata artwork - Kiftaro

My First Automaton – Kiftaro

Automata artwork - Kiftaro

Finally I am posting here about Kiftaro. I started making handmade wooden automaton couple of months ago. There was another try dated back couple of years ago when I was working on my stop motion film. It was going to be a carousel but I just made some wooden gears, etc.. and did not finish.

Here is a quick video. Lighting was not good. Shot with a cell-phone and edited using windows movie-maker because of the problem with my actual editing software. Next videos will be better hopefully. BTW, hands belong to my hubby…

Making of Kiftaro took some time. Even though I knew about mechanics and working with wood, had some hand tools; it took some time for me to find the right materials. Which kind of wood to use for what part, screws, rods, wires…

Automaton Mechanism

automata mechanism

There is a linkage mechanism working behind. Rods connected to a crank. For the up/down movement of the fish there is a cam and follower. I transferred movement from back to front. I started out with drawing the mechanism in the computer. And then made a prototype using mdf wood. It was a simple one but helped me a lot to overcome the problems I ran into while applying the drawing from computer.

I am not a kind of artist who produce exactly what she sketches at the beginning. I start with sketching and the piece shapes itself along the way. When I first see the end result, it is like seeing someone for the first time in my life. So, same happened for Kiftaro. The design was very different on the paper and computer screen. After I carve pieces of the puppet and put together, meeting her was a joy for me and for my daughter as well. My daughter Zeynep is 8 years-old. I really like talking to her about whatever I do. We have discussions over the design, art, etc… Kids are just amazing! Sometimes she comes up with some ideas from another universe. You know… So, when she looked at the first montage of this piece, she said “Kiftaro”. I did not know what was she talking about. She said the name of this puppet was “Kiftaro”. There is no meaning in any language.

automata painting

Painting Automaton

Painting part was fun. I like working with new, old, used, any kind of wood and try making it look very OLD. As if the thing got old over the time. Wabi-sabi… Let me not get into this right now. I will make a separate post about this beautiful Japanese philosophy.

So, going back to mechanism: I studied textile engineering. Kind of like textile machinery engineering. Mechanics was one of the subjects I liked a lot. But over the years, I did not use my knowledge except 4 years of engineering career. It has been 20 years.. So much huh!! Now I am familiar with automata mechanisms but barely remember details. I drew this simple linkage mechanism for Kiftaro. But for complex ones I am studying the resources I have found on the net. Hey.. another post to come about resources.

Here she is Kiftaro. I like this as a first piece but not sure about style. I have completed another one which is in a totally different style. The next one I started thinking about will probably be a mixture of these two in terms of design style.

Making of Kiftaro Automaton:

Pictures are self explanatory. Please click thumbnails to enlarge.

There is a wooden duck without the head on the second picture. A friend of us found that on the street and brought for my daughter. It was a perfect thick balsa for puppet’s pieces after Zeynep’s permission ofcourse…

I use Dremel and carve in hands where needed. All works fine but just soo much dust with Dremel. Oh well….

Rowland Emett

Rowland Emett’s Marvellous Machines

I want to start my automata blog with a Rowland Emett video post. His kinetic artworks take me to a fantasy world; the other side of the mirror. Flying pans, windy spoons, sliding dishes, turning bicycle wheels, toy passengers… I happened to learn about him last summer. I run into this video below while I was browsing about automata and I got totally fashinated by the art he created. This video was made by David Sweeney using a serious of clips he shot during Rowland Emett machines exhibition in The Ontario Science Centre in 2012.

Rowland Emett was an English cartoonist and constructor of whimsical kinetic sculpture as it is described in this wikipedia page. For further information this is the homepage for The Rowland Emett Society Society..

Stop Motion set - photos on the ground.

Chronos – Late Goodbye To An Old Friend

Time was made for slaves…

Yes, I was never able to finish Chronos. After my post dated Feb 2011 here, I kept working on my stop motion film for more time but did not post here. During that time, I added more scenes, puppets, ideas, etc.. And eventually we moved out to a new house one more time. (fall 2012) A long term rental, small stone house inside a big tangerine garden with a lot of renovation work. (my dream house..)We almost had the house rebuilt. After we moved, I spent most of my available time making things like kitchen cabinets, bathroom renovation, tables, chairs, sofas… so much fun, effort and time. I was working like a half carpenter, half artist for about a year .


After all, I needed to spend more time on my professional graphic design works,… you know life. And now, I am here at the end of 2014. Couple of months ago, I started doing automata artworks and I will be posting about it regularly.

So, I want to post some more from my latest work on Chronos dated 2012.

Madam Anahit

Madam Anahit

Latest addition to Chronos was a puppet of Madam Anahit. She was a street accordionist playing her beautiful songs on the streets of Istanbul Taksim. (more info / in turkish) I remember hearing the amazing sound of her accordion while I was walking down the Istiklal Street when I was in collage. She died in 2003. I wanted to have a puppet play accordion while Adem was spending time in my stop motion set.

Here is a test shot from 2012:

(This video was meant to go with an accordion song. I tried finding a royalty free clip but I could not. I am adding an URL for a nice accordion sound right after video. You can click both play buttons and try watching this little animation with accordion sound.)

Old Pictures On The Ground

These are one of the things came out very good to me. I really liked how those looked on the set. I found some old pictures on the net, printed out and then made look old by using walnut ink (from my dear friend Shelley Noble) and a piece of sand paper.

old pictures


I tried many shots with mirrors inside the set. I was thinking about animating mirrors. I got some cool pics. Here are a couple of those:

Madam Anahit

stop motion set - mirrors

And you see there are one more puppet and a small sculpture in the set. I was not going to use those in Chronos. Those are my experimental puppets and test shots.

So, it is time to say goodbye. I know I have not been posting here for a long time… but, my film was there in my studio and in my life. It was like it would come out someday and continue its adventure. Now…, I know that Chronos’s time is up. During those years I was working on Chronos and posting the process here, I learned sooo much AND more important than that I met so many wonderful people. I would love to THANK ALL who were here supporting me all through the way.

It is time for new; art, life and all. I am going to be here sharing with love!!!

Stop Motion Set

Chronos Stop Motion Set Building: 2012/I

My last post dated 24 Mar, 2011. And today it is 25 Dec, 2014. Loooong time away from my blog…

I have never got to finish Chronos. After my last post dated 2011 here, I kept working on my stop motion film for a while  and then eventually I quit totally. Before posting about what I have been doing, I want to publish some posts about my latest work on Chronos here. So, I will have more things documented here and share with who ever is interested about the process.

First is about building the set. We moved to a new house 3 times while I was working on Chronos. So, pics are from my latest space in 2012.

Stop Motion Set

The picture above shows how my stop motion set looked like when I finished it:

And some pictures about making of the set for Chronos:

And and… my little cat Zeytin… She passed away on 24 Aug, 2013. I found some pictures of her inside backup folders while I was looking for latest Chronos works. It was very hard to say goodbye to her after spending 15 years together. Hi my little Zeytin:)



World’s First 3D-Stopmotion TV series: T-Bot by MAARA

T-BOTNiyazi Ozyurt is one of the great people I met during my stop motion adventure. He is a professional stopmotinist applying his extensive experince and educational background to create inventive films. His studio is called Maara Animation based in Istanbul Turkey. He and his team created many of both commercial and noncommercial films. They are young and enthusiastic people devoted themselves to create stop motion films.

This is how they describe their approach: “Tracking the footsteps of Hayali* in our culture, Maara creates projects that we write, draw and design. (*Hayali: Shadows play artists are called Hayali. These people create their own imaginary plays, stories and puppets, and animate them.)

They have been working on a 3D-stopmotion TV series. The other day I received an email from him saying that the trailers of T-BOT are on the website. I was totally amazed by the creativity and quality. Everything… models, set design, puppets and animation are all perfect like their other films but this time it is in 3D! If you have 3D glasses handy, try putting those on and watching trailers here: Making of photos are also worth to see telling a lot about the process:

Niyazi Ozyurt

Congratulations Niyazi and Maara Team!!! Me and also my little girl Zeynep are your fans here wathcing your wonderful films..

Scene: Dropping Pearls – Test shots and making of floor

The first scene I will be shooting is Adem dropping pearls on an old wooden floor. I made the floor and did some test shots. What I wanted to have here was a shallow depth of field. Mike has been a huge help on setting up FZ50 and learning about shallow depth of field. Comment section of the previous post here filled with valuable info from him.

As you see in the above picture I have not been able to get the shallow depth of field. I need to get real closed to puppet like it is here:

shallow dept of field test 1

I am learning things about both photography and using FZ50. It is probably possible to get the shallow depth of field while puppet as a whole and pearls are visible. But I have not been able to make it. So, I tried another way. Just lit the puppet and pearls (I have not made pearls yet. The ones you see here are some steel balls for armature making) and I was able to make the floor’s back edge invisable. Still not there though. I am not totally happy with the quality of the picture… I might make some walls around the floor as I will be also animating the shadow of tree branches before the dropping occurs. I need somewhere to cast the shadows. Maybe right over the spotlight on the floor… I will see. Testing, testing…

I may change Adem’s hands too. I kind of like these big, rough hands. Have not decided yet.

(the following 2 pictures are added on feb 20th.)




If you click on pictures above you can view on flickr. Both larger versions and exif data is available there. There are also pictures with some other exposure settings.

Here you see the floor and making of it:


As a base, I used one of those sticky papers; the ones hanged on the wall to stick stuff. It had some texture and design, which I thought might look good for wooden texture. Washed that with burnt sienna. Cut in pieces. Glued together. Applied some talcum powder. Finishing touches with some walnut ink sent by Shelley! Later after talking to Mike, I made this floor bigger to have a little more space for shooting.

Zeynep… she is 4 now. She came to me saying that she wanted to paint wood piece too and then she decided to paint her face..

And some music time… music is a big part of my life. As a computer graphics designer, I spend most of my time either in front of computer or working on the set. There is always something playing here. I will be posting one song a post. The first one here is from Mercan Dede. (Grabbing video from youtube. No video clip to watch. Or dont even take a look at the video…) I wanted this song to be the first one as this is one of the songs tells a lot to me. Name of the song is “Kanatlar Kitabi” means “The Book of Wings” If you like it, try listening in front of the window when it is raining outside…


Just clicked on new post button after months…. I am back!

Another long time with no post and this time I am back… Actually it has been some time since I started working on Chronos again but I wanted to post when I am ready. So, it is about time…

While I was away, we moved to a new house. I did not have a real room to shoot this film so I looked for a rental to make a studio. A cheap place, a barnhouse.. somewhere we can turn into a daytime studio for my film. But, we could not find it. Long story short, I decided to turn a little space here on the roof into a stopmo studio for shooting. This meant Chronos to be a different film. Such a small place for my actual set… It took a while for me to accept this idea. Changing scenario, shooting something else around the same idea… As a “dear friend” said -who has been very suppotive all through the hard times I was going through- maybe my film was born to be something else… Anyways… I have been working on scenario for the last two months. Papers of ideas, different scenarios… As a result there is no real scenario starting from the beginning and ending somewhere. Instead I have some scenes to shoot, to improvise if it is the right word. Actually this fits very well to the life itself. Life we spend in time! Now, there is no big clock. I removed it completely. I will have kush, tree and Adem. Will shoot each seperately and then put together later in the post. No blue screen. Just different scenes coming one after the other. I have some ideas to make it continuous but I will decide when shooting each. I will see how it will turn out. If it does not turn out well; I will be happy because I will leave with such a powerful experience of shooting a stop motion film for many years 🙂 If it turns out well then I and maybe you will enjoy watching couple of minutes of stopmotion film. Both worth trying huh?

So, in this house now I have a space to make props, set, etc.. in the room where we do our web design work and I have a studio in the upstairs for shooting. The other day, while I was trying to setup lights I thought about the places I tried over the last 3 years. In the last 3 years, we moved 3 times. I started this film in a house and then we moved. In that second house, I moved all of my stuff in between different rooms 3 times. And we moved to another house -third one- last summer. This time, while I was settling down with all my stuff I felt really tired.. At the beginning of this film adventure I did not have many things like paints, lights, small and big things.. you know. But, over the time I collected a lot. Now I have many boxes filled with all different kinds of things. Now all settled down, ready to move forward. Ok, enough about my excuses…

Here are some pics of my new studio in the upstairs. There is not any nail on the walls here. To prevent humidity, we need to be careful about putting nails on the walls here. Wood pieces supported with other wood sticks making something like a cage. And lights, curtains are hanged on the wood sticks. It is such a small place but the best thing is it being totally seperated from the house. A spot just for animating. I am still working on setting up lights; just bought some new stuff to hang lights and fish lines to animate some little things, etc…

I will probably replace that green paper cone with a black one. It serves as a spot light. The barn door light you see in the middle is the one I made out of coke cans (by spray painting coke can metal sheets in black) and a garden light while I was working on The Invasion. My turning table is there as a set table and the farest distance my tripod can go is the place you see in the pictures. Not much room to get a real depth. But any problem can be solved huh?… I have a very flexible story to shoot so I can change things anytime I have a problem just like the first scene with a floor turning into a room with walls around. My next post is going to be about this soon.

While I was away I also finished working on The Invasion. Montage was finished and I sent all to my sister for her to do final touches and make the sound. I did not update that film’s blog either. Will post some pics of shooting and part of animation there too.

Two weeks ago there was a really serious flood here where we live. We were out of city for couple of days and it happened. Water was 2 meters high from the ground couple minutes away from our house. It was about 30 cm high here. Nothing happened to our house but many people lost their houses, offices, restaurants,.. I am so sorry for those people who are trying to recover… (Picture on the left is from the news on the net) The strange thing is the flood was very bad around the area I looked for the studio. If had found a place and turned it into a studio for my film and set everything there I would have lost all. My set, camera, lights, puppets.. were going to be all under the water. So, how would you call this? Fate maybe, maybe not… Again I am so sorry for all those people and I am grateful for not being able to rent a place in the fall past.

Edit: Adding this pictures to show the dept of field problem ( or shallow dept of field problem..) to Mike.


Time was made for slaves

It has been months since my last post. Time.. huh.. Months, days, hours, years. What do they all mean? Here is my film on a computer screen as blog posts. And all the things I made, Kush, Adem, tree, clock, set pieces.. are inside boxes waiting for the day to become alive again. “Waiting”: what a word to describe the meaning of time, the power of time! Waiting happens when there are “other things” take their course in time. We; me, kush and Adem are all “waiting” for the other things to leave me some time again for Chronos.

Not so much left… In a month or two I will be back here. When I was away I shot The Invasion. I will montage frames, finish that film first and then go back to Chronos. My sister has been waiting for me to finish Invasion for months too…

I love seeing Kush flying. I think I want to see her here until my next! post.