While I have had rigs before, this was my first attempt at something so apparent in the shot. The crane was made out of wooden dowels, old k'nex pieces, and painted black to try and hide amongst the black mountains and fence in the shot. I would have just used a wire, but I wanted to be able to control the rotation of the skull. To make it a smoother process I went ahead and clipped off the head before the animating began, so for the first moment the skull is actually just resting on the body. The rig required a hefty amount of post production to get rid of. I'm no Michelangelo with after effects, but I think it turned out alright:
The majority of the work was taking bits of the sky & ground from other in-between-fence segments and transposing them over the parts with the rig that were showing frame by frame. That is part of the reason why there is a short pause in the beginning of the animation, so that I would have a tiny loop of static footage to use for masking it out that would still have a natural shifting grain to it. Add the color correction, bit of digital rain, and slight camera motion, and KAZAAM hopefully the finished shot for the final edit.
Thanks for checking out the blog, and I hope this was interesting!