Thursday, September 27, 2012

Disney's Frankenweenie Opens Oct. 5

It's almost here! The newest collaboration of Tim Burton and Walt Disney Pictures, Frankenweenie opens next Friday, Oct. 5. This full-length stop-motion animation film expands on Burton's 1984 live-action short film, is shot in black and white, and harkens back to the classic horror films of old Hollywood.

Here is another sneak peak to get you excited:

And here are a few fun facts that will give you some insight into the making of this film:

Did you know?
  • Stop-motion animation is one of the oldest animation styles. There are 24 frames per second in the stop motion for “Frankenweenie.” This means that the animator must stop and position the puppet 24 times to get one second of filmed action. On average, one animator can only produce 5 seconds of animation per week. Multiple puppets of the same character allowed animators to work on more than one scene at once. There were as many as 18 animators working independently of each other at one time.
  • Over 200 puppets and sets were created for the film; there were 17 Victors and 12 Sparkys. Since each animator worked independently on different scenes, multiples were needed. They also needed backup in case a puppet required repair.
  • The first puppet designed for the show was Sparky and the scale that they established with him set the standard for the whole rest of the film. Tim Burton had a very specific vision for Sparky’s character and really wanted him to act and move like a real dog. The armature needed to be very intricate and 4 inches is literally the smallest they could make him and still have him display all the behavior and personality that was required. Once they had his size fixed, the puppet makers were able to scale the rest of the characters and sets properly.
  • Incredibly talented artists are able to take Tim Burton’s original drawings and sculpt them into three-dimensional sculptures, which are then cast in a combination of silicone and latex. Their costumes are all sewn with miniature stitches to keep in scale. Wigs are made for them from real human hair and then applied strand by strand so that the puppets have a more realistic hairline. Inside each puppet there is a metal armature, which acts like a skeleton and gives the animator the ability to move the puppets and act out the scenes with incredible subtlety and finesse. 
image courtesy of Disney Pictures Canada
I can't even imagine the level of dedication and the painstaking work that went into creating this film. Stop-motion animation is a fascinating art form. And when we go to see it, the most amazing thing is that we will just see the smooth final product, since the skill of the puppeteers, film crew and editors will bring it all seamlessly together.

What do you think? Is Frankenweenie lined up on your list of must-see family movies? The timing is of course perfect for a Hallowe'en viewing. Are you a fan of old-style horror films, that leave you thrilled and are full of suspense instead of gore? Would love to hear from you!

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