Thursday, November 7, 2013

Hollinger Hollow 2013 Walkthrough!

Hey guys!

Normally, I would show you the video first and then do a quick description but this year, I feel I have to do it a little differently.

Due to the 11th hour nature of this years Hollow, I wasn't able to light the graveyard as well as I have in the past.

That caused the movie image to be incredibly dark.  So dark, I had to do a lot of lightening of the image in post.  That, unfortunately, messes with the color of the film as well as makes it rather grainy.

To add to that, by the time I get to the bridge, the fog in the Hollow is very thick and that makes it even more difficult to watch.

So, please keep the above in mind when viewing the video...

And there you go.

I also want to point out that to the left of the bridge is the Sarcophagus (Monster in a Box) and if you squint really hard, you may see the lid moving up and down really fast.  This, unfortunately, is the only image of this prop this year.

Not to worry though.  I plan on doing a review of the Sarcophagus as well as Andersan the Tombstone Breaker within the next couple of weeks.  I never showed how they were built because I honestly wasn't sure if I'd get them done in time.

I also need to go over some of the problems we had setting up this year so keep an eye on the blog for the next month or so.

See you then!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Halloween 2013!

Hey guys!

First off, let me apologize for the lack of updates last week.  I suspect if you look at previous years you will see I do very little updates the week of Halloween, but I don't think I've ever gone without any posts leading up to the big day.

There are many reasons for my lack of updates and since this is a blog I will tell you about it... later.

Right now, let me share some pictures of the night with you!

The Gargoyle Entrance!

Sebastian Hollinger's resting place.

The Coffin Breaker!

It wouldn't be Halloween without Hollis Weeb!

The Mausoleum!

Lynn in the Mausoleum!

Added just this year...

Say "Hello" to Andersan!

Coming up on...

The Haunted Tree!

The Hell Hole, with burning coals!  The coals are new!

Lynn and the Spider Guy!

The Coffin Guy!

The Hollow Exit!
And there you go!

Sorry for the quality of some of the pics.  I apparently didn't have the night filter set for all the pictures and had to doctor some of them up in Gimp just to be able to make them out.  I wish I had noticed the poor quality of some of the pictures Halloween night but I'm sure you understand that I'm a little busy that night and a lot of my attention is other places.

One of the things I wish I had photographed was an upgrade to one of our props, the Sarcophagus Guy.  In short, we animated it with an effect known as the "monster in the box".  Basically, a small cylinder opens and closes the lid really fast, as though something inside is trying to get out.  I added a chain across the top of the lid and that is the reason it appears whatever is inside can't get out.  It is a very easy effect to create and when all was said and done, I think it was the biggest new addition this year.  I really thought it was going to be the Haunted Tree and Andersan Tombstone Breaker (although both were a big hit).

It just goes to show, you never really know what people will walk away loving.

There is also a video, but like some of the pictures, it didn't really come out.  I'm going to see what I can do with it and post it in the next couple of days.

Also, later on, I will tell you about all of the difficulties we had bringing you Hollinger Hollow this year. 

I'll give you a hint, most of it involves 2 weeks of nothing but rain!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Unobstructed View of the Haunted Tree!

Hey everyone,

Below I posted some new pics of the Hollow but it occurred to me that you don't really get a very good look at the Haunted Tree.

That's not right, so I thought I'd show you a couple pics of the tree without a bridge sitting in front of it.

The backside/street side of the tree (obviously, before we moved it to the Hollow).

The Haunted Tree in a tombstone free graveyard.
And there you go.  Hopefully, all our hard work shows!


Haunted Tree and Tombstones Finally in the Hollow!

Hey guys,

What a busy weekend.

First, we finished the Haunted Tree and moved it into the Hollow!

This also meant that we were able to get into the attic and pull the rest of the decorations down.  So, we now have the Haunted Tree and the tombstones displayed in the Hollow...

Left of the bridge, looking into the Hollow.

The Haunted Tree sits proudly in the middle of the Hollow.
And, somehow, I managed to not take a picture to the right of the bridge.  I really have no idea how I did that.  I'm certain I took the picture but I just don't have it.

Truthfully, that's alright.  I only took those quick pictures as it was starting to rain.  I plan on getting better pics in the next couple of days.

Plus, now that the tree is done, we move on to the other projects we have in store for this year.

I will keep you posted.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Mausoleum Is Up and Haunted Tree Update!

Hey guys,

The Mausoleum has finally been set up.

Not sure why I didn't take a closer pic, but there it is, way in the background.

As you can see, still no tombstones.  We really need to get on that!

Plus, we also got the second coat of paint on the Haunted Tree.  There's no need for a pic since it really doesn't look all that different.  The difference will come when we shade the tree, which we hope to finish up the next couple of days.

Of course, I'll have pics when that is done.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It Rained All Weekend!

Hey guys,

Well, as it says in the heading, it rained all weekend and pretty much made doing any real work on the Hollow impossible.  I wasn't able to put out the tombstones or anything.  :(

We did, however, get the first layer of paint on the tree!

Adding the first coat of paint.

First layer of paint complete!

And that is what we were able to do this weekend.  We're actually excited about painting the tree because for the first time, we aren't using paint brushes.  We got a sprayer, like the one's you paint cars with, and pretty much did the entire first coat in 30 minutes! It would have been a tremendous ordeal to paint by hand.  I'm very hopeful that we can put the second coat on tonight and then finish the tree in the next couple of days.

This is great news because we can then, finally, move the tree out of the garage and get some space back to finish all the other projects we have going.

Nothing like working until the last minute!


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Hollinger Hallow Update!

Hey guys,

Alright.  Been pretty busy working on the tree these last couple of days.  We finally have it coated with a layer of latex and when it dries, we're going to paint it!

There's no point showing a picture since it pretty much still looks like the pictures I've already posted (except for a slight color change).

But, here is a picture...

Ah, the beginning of the Hallow.  It has already started to draw some attention in our neighborhood and we haven't even really started!

I hope to paint the tree tomorrow and work some more in the yard.

I'll let you know how that goes.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Hollinger Hollow Starting to Emerge!

Hey guys,

I worked into the late hours last night getting the Hollow started.

Literally.  The evening ended with me with a light strapped to my head so I could finish setting up the fencing.  I also have the Bridge and the Hell Hole (minus charred guy) set up. 

But, since it was dark, I wasn't able to get any pictures worth posting. 

I still have to bring out the Mausoleum and setup the tombstones before I can say the foundation of the Hollow is complete.  I'm hoping to do that Friday.  I don't want to run into another situation where I'm wearing a light on my head to finish and Friday is my next day off.

Over the weekend, we also started covering the Haunted Tree in a layer of latex and we continued working on a new prop (of which I'm not ready to start talking about).

So, it was a pretty productive weekend.  I'm hoping to have some photos for you tomorrow.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Haunted Tree Progressing!

Hey guys!

Finally, the Haunted Tree is sculpted!


...too big...

...for one picture!

But, we're probably only half done.  Since the tree is foam, we want to seal it up so the plan is to cover it with a layer of latex.  Then, we need to paint it and that will require several layers of paint.  As I said, still a lot to do!

And, since the idea of the tree is display our pumpkins, here is a pumpkin update...

I dare you to say "Staple Pumpkin" in a mirror five times!

So, we have a lot to do.  Especially since this weekend I plan on setting up the Backbone of the Hollow.

For those who don't remember, the Backbone is the foundation of the Hollow.  Fencing, Bridge, Mausoleum, Hell Hole and Tombstones. I hope to do that either tomorrow or Monday.  I'm not sure which since it is supposed to rain this weekend and although it's true to say that rain isn't a show stopper when it comes to setting up the Backbone, it sure does suck!

Updates to follow.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tree Moving Along!

Hey guys,

Work on the tree continued this weekend!

Here the trunk is shaved down and the skeleton of the branches has been added.

Here the tree trunk has been partially carved and we started foaming and shaving the branches.

The tree is coming along nicely.  Most of the left branch has been shaved down.  The right branch had just started being foamed when I took the last picture.

This has turned out to be a real labor of love.  Overall, it isn't difficult.  I originally wanted the branches to be removable but at the last minute I decide to attach them permanently to the trunk.  It turned out that the foam was too heavy for the 1/2" PVC and I was afraid if I didn't permanently fix the branches to the truck they might just fall off.  Needless to say, that would not be good.

I guess I'll have to figure out where I'm gonna store this thing at a later time.

For now, we move forward with the tree.

I'll keep you updated!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Took Last Night Off!

Hey everyone,

I have to report that no work was done on the Hollow last night.

So, why report that?

Because we got last minute tickets to see the Steve Miller Band!

Man, what a night.  It was so much fun and I got so many videos.  I posted Jet Airliner because it's one song, for some unknown reason, I wasn't singing throughout!  Not sure why I wasn't singing.  It's a great song.  Must have been giving my voice a rest.  But, that's a good thing!  Because I wanted to post something but didn't want to beat anybody down with having to hear me sing.  No person should ever have to listen to that!

I know, I know.  This has nothing to do with Halloween but it is the reason that work on Hollinger Hollow came to a screeching halt for one night and I thought I should explain.

OK.  Back to work.

Talk to you all later!

Spider and Pumpkin Updates!

Hey guys,

Just a few quick updates from earlier this week...

The Spider is coming along nicely!

Staple Pumpkin will glow green!


Looking more and more like a pumpkin!

Work also continues on the Haunted Tree but I don't have any really cool pictures to show so more updates on that to follow.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Starting the Tree!

Hello everyone,

I'm still waiting on the delivery of the parts needed to make this years new and updated attractions so this last weekend we started working on the tree that will hold my wife's pumpkin creations!

And just how are we going to construct our Haunted Tree?

Yep.  We're going to attempt making a 7 foot tall tree out of PVC, chicken wire and Great Stuff foam.

The "skeleton" of the tree walking like an Egyptian!

Decided to add a sturdier base. Used zip ties to attach the board. I LOVE zip ties!

I added the newspaper to help the chicken wire keep it's shape. It's not really needed but it did give the Great Stuff something extra to hold on to.

This took 14, 16oz. cans of Great Stuff!

After an hour of finishing the chicken wire and adding another 12 cans of Great Stuff I have the trunk of the tree. That's right! It's a tree!

And that is where we are at the moment. 

So, why did I do the things I did? 

The skeleton of the tree is to hold the branches.  I didn't want to just stick some PVC into the sides of the Great Stuff trunk and hope they stayed attached.  The legs and spine of the skeleton is 3/4" PVC and the branches is 1/2".  The TV Screen (as my wife likes to call it) at the top of the skeleton is so I can get the PVC Fittings where the branches attach to the side of the tree. The fittings actually extend through the chicken wire and are left exposed on the sides.

Doing just the trunk used all of the Great Stuff I purchased so the rest of the week I will shave/shape the foam to look more like a tree trunk. 

I will let you know how that goes.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pumpkin Display... Dare We Try This?

Hey everyone,

This year we want to show off some artificial pumpkins my wife has been making and we were really trying to come up with a cool way of displaying them.

Well, this is what we came up with...

A Haunted Tree with branches that will hold all of my wife's pumpkin creations!

The picture, of course, is just some more of my animation and Photoshop "skills" at work.

The real question is are we able to build this, especially with all the projects we have left to finish and Halloween just a little over a month away?

Time will tell.


Working Hard!

Hey guys,

Been really busy this week.  Let's see what we've been doing.

So, this is the beginning of the Hot Coals prop we're working on to place in front of the Hell Hole. (The hands are for something else I'll show you later. You can also see the new columns in the upper right corner.  Still so much to do!)

Here is the fleet of pumpkins my wife is building for a new Pumpkin Display.

Here's my contribution to the Pumpkin Display.  I still have a lot more painting to do.

And my wife is also building a spider to add to our Spider Guy display.  I'm hoping to animate him.

We are also building something new for the Pumpkin Display that I will tell you about later.

Talk to you later!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Animated Tombstone!

Hey guys,

Those who regularly visit my blog may know I dab a little in animation.  I'm certainly no expert, it's just a little hobby I have.

Anyway, I've seen online, Mr. Chicken's Yard Haunt to be precise ( where he projects shadows of creepy hands, cracks with roaches coming out, and various graveyard animals on a blank tombstone and thought how much I'd love to do something like that.  I mean, it's a tombstone!  I have a graveyard! It was like it was meant to be!

Of course, I don't want to use shadows in my video, since that is really very cool and I don't want to blatantly steal Mr. Chicken's idea, so I made my own little animation.

And, here it is...

So, the plan is to project that on a blank tombstone in the graveyard and set up some speakers to play the sound.

We have the little projector.  I'm just not sure about the sound yet.

I will eventually do a test of the prop and of course, I'll show you how that goes.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Building More Columns....

Hey guys,

We're back to building more gate columns.  Weeeeee!

I've outlined this a couple times in the past.  Click here, here and here to see everything that's involved.

So, I'm not going to beat you down with details since I've already done that in previous posts.  I just wanted you to know we're working hard!


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Now We're Really Getting Started!

Hey guys,

Well, forget about the Sotoportego. :(

In my last post I spoke about the plans I had for a new addition this year.  Well, after looking at all the things we want to do this year, I'm afraid the Sotoportego would put us way over our budget.

So, I'm putting a pin in that idea and saving it for next year. 

But what are we doing this year?

We want to properly finish Sarcophagus Guy.  He's supposed to be someone trying to get out of the sarcophagus and not someone who already broke free.  He's not like Coffin Guy though.  The idea is that Sarcophagus Guy is trying to open the heavy lid and is stuck.  He's not going to be happy about that.

Speaking of Coffin Guy, he broke at the end of last year so I'm going to have to fix him.  It wouldn't be the Hollow without him!

We also have plans for a new type of Grave Popper, one that rips the tombstone apart.

And, hopefully, we have a couple other surprises that we will tell you about later.

So, keep checking back at least once a week.  The ball is really rolling now!


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Gearing Up for Hollinger Hollow 2013!

Hey guys,

Well, we're nearly halfway through April and it's time to start thinking about what we're going to add to the Hollow this year!

The wife has already started working on more pumpkins.  I will show you some pics of those later.  The idea is to have a display of some kind for all the wonderful pumpkins she makes.

We've also started working on an idea that has been evolving this last month.  I Originally sat down to create a facade to add to the house that would sit between the house and the bridge.  Problem was, I though that looked really odd.  I don't know why, it just wasn't working for me.

So, I extended the facade over the bridge and instead of having a facade I created a covered bridge of sorts.  This is funny because when I originally worked on the idea of the bridge I wanted to do something like the covered bridge from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  That was proving too much for last year so I did a simple bridge.

Now, by extending the facade over the bridge I created something between a covered bridge and a facade.  We're calling it the Sotoportego which from what I can tell is an Italian covered walkway connecting two streets, usually along a canal.

And here is a pic of the design... 

OK.  So, perhaps it's not a Sotoportego, but it does cover a bridge that connects the two sides of the cemetery and the word is cool so that is what we're going to call it.

Now that I have the design, I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to build this thing.  That will be a whole other adventure.

I'll keep you posted!