Disclaimer: I was provided on an all expense trip to visit The Boxtrolls set in Portland. It has been under embargo until now! I am so excited to share this AMAZING geek filled experience with all of you. All opinions are my own.
Everyone talks about their “Bucket List” this was never on mine because I wasn’t aware! When I went on set to this movie it was absolutely amazing and nothing like I had EVER experienced before. I hope you enjoy my post, I can’t even EXPLAIN to you how awesome, amazing, and magical it was to be on set!
For those who understand what stop-motion animation is, you might be wondering why Laika is still producing movies using this way of film making. Stop-Motion animation takes about 4 years to create one movie. It is very tedious in having to actually move each puppet frame by frame to create a film. There are difficult scenes and motions by characters where animators, designers, and engineers have to come together to create. An animator took 1 week to complete only 3.7 seconds of the movie which is just under 90 individual frames. One mistake can be very costly in time to fix.
I had the opportunity to visit Laika and listened to WHY they still do films this way and some advantages that they have.
- It is a creative art! This is how films were always made and there is something magical about it. Kids like to play with toys and puppets and make them move and talk. Stop-motion animation makes it real and makes it come to life.
- It costs a lot less to make a film like this. One COULD argue the fact that maybe there is a missed opportunity cost because of how long it takes to produce one movie. The minds behind Laika have created ways to increate the quality in facial expressions in the characters/puppets by using items like 3D printers with face replacement which truly cuts down on price. They also use detailed spreadsheets in frame what takes place frame by frame.
- Travis Knight and Passion. You know, feel, and see the passion the CEO of Laika when he talks about animation. Being the boss and CEO keeps one person extremely busy. Travis Knight is also an animator! He put in more time animating on Boxtrolls than any other animator PLUS he is the boss. Can you imagine? What a great example in leadership when your boss does as they want you to do and doesn’t just tell you how to do something.
Here are some VERY interesting facts about The Boxtrolls Puppets and Props:
- An animator typically took 1 week to complete 3.7 seconds worth of footage, which is just under 90 individual frames
- There are 14 different fabrics in Lord Portley-Rind’s white hat
- The movie’s smallest costumes were for Eggs as a baby: the sweater, measuring 3.5” from cuff to cuff across the length of both arms and chest, and the baby socks measuring 5/8” long
- The stop-motion flames “burning” in the furnace of the Mecha-Drill are courtesy of a working iPad displaying a loop video inside the “mouth” of the device
- More than 20,000 props were handmade for the movie
- 55 different sculpts of prop cheeses were created for “THE BOXTROLLS”
- The movie’s smallest prop was a tiny sewing thread and needle
- Riggers are used to keep the puppet in place. They first take a picture of the scene without the puppet then take them with riggers. The easy history brush tool can remove the rigger from the image.
- They use good ‘ol regular Canon DSLR cameras that you can purchase at Walmart.
- Each character has it’s OWN 3D printer because of the alterations in color that could happen if you switch from printer to printer on the different characters.
I said earlier, that this item wasn’t on my bucket list, but knowing what I know now…you definitely need to add this to your bucket list! It was as magical (different) as going to Disney World as a kid!
The movie comes out September 26, 2014! I was able to watch clips from it and it looks SO good…SOOOO GOOD (I think that is the official critic way to say it)!