Commentary &Puppet Animation 27 Feb 2009 08:56 am

Puppets

- Brian Sibley has written a quite wonderful piece on Viewmaster slides. He shows people prepping to photograph these little sets and characters for the 3D setups. It’s a chance for many of us to get a quick joyride from the past.

Brian’s post had me do a bit more research, and I came across Brian Butler‘s site, What My Dad Saw which has many posts on the subject and actually posts a number of the slide images recreating the 3D effect.

Likewise, this led me to Brian Hunn’s site Mystery Hoard which had a longer piece on Florence Thomas and Joe Liptak who created many of these scenes.

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.- For those of you who’d like to see more puppets on parade, Ken Priebe sent me the link to a beautiful copy of a hard-to-see George Pal Puppetoon on YouTube. Rhythm in the Ranks.

The color on this piece, given the format, is exceptional, well preserved.


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- For those of you who get excited reading new material about puppets, Wade Sampson has an excellent article about Bob Baker’s puppet productions of Walt Disney’s animated musicals. This is an entertaining read.

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- I’ve yet to see Coraline, but I’ll have to get there.
I would prefer not seeing it in 3D (polarized glasses HAVE to grey/green down the image, and I’d prefer seeing actual colors on the screen, despite the 3D effect. However, I don’t believe it’s playing in Manhattan except in 3D. The film seems to be top of the craft, though I’ve read enough semi-negative about the story. I like most of the voice talent and expect that to give the animators something good to work with.

Like Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, Coraline enhances the 3D stop-motion animation with cgi enhancement. This is a distinct advantage modern animators have. Even 2D animation isn’t solely dependent on the Pencil Tests and computerized compositing; animated 2D films are also filled with cg embellishment. And they should be. All tools are available and should be used (although I’m not sure many cg films use 2D enhancement.) I think that’s why I get such joy out of the old George Pal and Ray Harryhausen films. What they saw was what we got. If they opened the shutter, they were usually committed to that frame. It’s amazing that we still haven’t improved on Pinocchio or Bambi or, in some ways, John Henry and the Inky-Poo

6 Responses to “Puppets”

  1. on 27 Feb 2009 at 9:10 am 1.Steisha Pintado said …

    I haven’t watched Coraline yet either. I do have a question though, is there anyway to watch Coraline not in 3D? This whole 3D fad doesn’t really interest me, but I feel that it will be unavoidable in order to watch this film.

  2. on 27 Feb 2009 at 9:26 am 2.Michael said …

    The film is also playing in many theaters in 2D. (It costs more to see it in 3D.) Unfortunately, it’s only playing in 3 theaters in Manhattan all in 3D.

  3. on 27 Feb 2009 at 12:13 pm 3.David Nethery said …

    I saw Coraline in both conventional projection and in 3D. The 3D effect was quite good (there were no out-of-alignment , headache-inducing frames) , but I enjoyed watching it more in conventional projection. The 3D was technically impressive, but I was never unaware of it . To me wearing the 3D glasses is like wearing a suit that looks like a million bucks , but is very uncomfortable , I know it looks good, but I can never really forget that I’m wearing it and be comfortable.

  4. on 28 Feb 2009 at 3:50 pm 4.Ward said …

    Mike, I’m not sure just how much of the 3D effect was enhanced by cgi. There are some cgi elements in the film, but none of which are offered to ‘enhance’ the 3D effect. With the film shot stereoptically, and in-camera, Henry was trying to get the most out of “true” 3D, and without cg trickery. At least, that’s what I was lead to believe while watching the film.

    The 3D effect definitely worked for me, especially when Coraline opens the door to the “other” world and looks down the tunnel: it looks like it keeps going and going. A nice change from the usual objects coming “at’cha”.

  5. on 01 Mar 2009 at 9:03 am 5.Michael said …

    Ward, I wasn’t talking about the “3D effect” when I wrote about cg enhancement. I was talking about the 3D puppetry. CG offers them, like live action filmmakers, a chance to enhance a scene. The Corpse Bride: An Invitation to the Wedding – a “making of” book – details such work.

  6. on 03 May 2009 at 11:06 pm 6.Dave Mackey said …

    Unfortunately, the “Rhythm in the Ranks” video has been removed from YouTube due to a copyright claim by Arnold Liebovit Entertainment.

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