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NEWS
December 9, 2009
Although making a film version of Charles Dickens' 19th century classic tale of a miserly man is nothing new, using motion-capture technology to animate "A Christmas Carol" is a first. Director Robert Zemeckis has been honing "mo-cap" since 2004's coolly received "Polar Express," with an eye toward imbuing the characters with a somewhat intangible but relatable quality. "What we focused on was getting greater nuance and fidelity in the performance of the actors," says producer Steve Starkey, who worked with Zemeckis on "Polar Express" and "Beowulf."
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ENTERTAINMENT
June 28, 2012 | By Nicole Sperling
To make "Ted," his R-rated film about a man-boy and his teddy bear that comes alive, Seth MacFarlane spent years working with his producers and visual effects supervisor Blair Clark to adapt the motion-capture technology that has been reserved for action-adventure and fantasy movies for a raunchy comedy. But MacFarlane didn't just hand things over to the special effects whiz kids. Not only did the Connecticut native lend his best Boston accent to the bear, he also wore the motion-capture suit off-camera, so he could animate the character and interact with his actors Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis throughout the production.
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ENTERTAINMENT
November 1, 2009 | Glenn Whipp
Charles Dickens' most popular creation, Ebenezer Scrooge, usually takes on the tenor of the times, so it's not surprising that Robert Zemeckis' new performance-capture animation version of "A Christmas Carol" has its star, Jim Carrey, musing about where his Scrooge fits in today. "I was thinking about it this morning, how this story ties into everything we're going through," says Carrey, who, thanks to the technology, plays Scrooge as well as the three ghosts haunting him. "Every construct we've built in American life is falling apart.
NEWS
December 8, 2011 | By Rebecca Keegan, Los Angeles Times
After losing an Oscar, Walt Disney once remarked, "Disney has never actually been part of Hollywood ... I think they refer to us as being in the cornfield in Burbank. " Consider this the year Hollywood invaded the animation cornfield. The animated feature Oscar field is crowded with traditionally live-action Hollywood filmmakers, including Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson ("The Adventures of Tintin"), Gore Verbinski ("Rango"), George Miller ("Happy Feet Two") and Guillermo del Toro (executive producer of "Puss in Boots" and "Kung Fu Panda 2")
ENTERTAINMENT
February 28, 2010 | By Charles Solomon
For decades, it was easy to tell the two media apart: There were real people in live-action movies; animated films had drawn characters or stop-motion figures. But as filmmaking technology has grown more complex, it's not clear if a single term can encompass movies as different as the five Oscar nominees for best animated feature, the additional 15 films that qualified for the category and the visual effects in movies such as "Avatar." An often heated debate over what is -- and isn't -- animation rages among animators, filmmakers, critics and fans.
BUSINESS
March 13, 2010 | By Claudia Eller
In a cost-saving move, Walt Disney Studios is shutting down Robert Zemeckis' ImageMovers Digital studio in Marin County, which employs 450 people. Those employees will be phased out over the course of the year until the facility closes by January. The director and producer's San Rafael-based studio, which Disney has been bankrolling, produces motion-capture animation technology that was used in Zemeckis' 2009 big-budget holiday movie "A Christmas Carol."
ENTERTAINMENT
March 10, 2011 | By John Horn and Amy Kaufman, Los Angeles Times
"Mars Needs Moms!" is a short children's book filled with outsized illustrations and an even greater moral: Don't undervalue your mother. The challenge for the makers of the pricey 3-D Disney film based on Berkeley Breathed's story is to make sure ticket buyers don't undervalue the movie, too ? or worse, ignore it outright. "Will it go out and touch people? I really, really hope so," says Simon Wells, who directed "Mars Needs Moms" (the movie lost the book's exclamation point) and co-wrote the film with his wife, Wendy.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 6, 2011 | By Susan King, Los Angeles Times
Wade Robson has directed music videos for the likes of 'N Sync and Britney Spears, hosted the 2003 MTV series "The Wade Robson Project" and has been a judge and choreographer on Fox's competition series "So You Think You Can Dance" since 2007. And now his choreography is for the birds — specifically adorable singing and dancing animated penguins. He's choreographed the opening number of "Happy Feet Two," the 3-D sequel to the 2006 Oscar-winning animated comedy, which opens Nov. 18. Robson used 15 dancers to perform the opening dance number that was shot by motion capture in Sydney, Australia, last year.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 28, 2012 | By Nicole Sperling
To make "Ted," his R-rated film about a man-boy and his teddy bear that comes alive, Seth MacFarlane spent years working with his producers and visual effects supervisor Blair Clark to adapt the motion-capture technology that has been reserved for action-adventure and fantasy movies for a raunchy comedy. But MacFarlane didn't just hand things over to the special effects whiz kids. Not only did the Connecticut native lend his best Boston accent to the bear, he also wore the motion-capture suit off-camera, so he could animate the character and interact with his actors Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis throughout the production.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 2, 2006 | Susan King
MOLLUSK-FACED Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) and the sea phantoms that crew the ghostly Flying Dutchman in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" are part human, part sea bottom creatures brought to life by a new generation of motion capture and computer-generated special effects.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 6, 2011 | By Susan King, Los Angeles Times
Wade Robson has directed music videos for the likes of 'N Sync and Britney Spears, hosted the 2003 MTV series "The Wade Robson Project" and has been a judge and choreographer on Fox's competition series "So You Think You Can Dance" since 2007. And now his choreography is for the birds — specifically adorable singing and dancing animated penguins. He's choreographed the opening number of "Happy Feet Two," the 3-D sequel to the 2006 Oscar-winning animated comedy, which opens Nov. 18. Robson used 15 dancers to perform the opening dance number that was shot by motion capture in Sydney, Australia, last year.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 10, 2011 | By John Horn and Amy Kaufman, Los Angeles Times
"Mars Needs Moms!" is a short children's book filled with outsized illustrations and an even greater moral: Don't undervalue your mother. The challenge for the makers of the pricey 3-D Disney film based on Berkeley Breathed's story is to make sure ticket buyers don't undervalue the movie, too ? or worse, ignore it outright. "Will it go out and touch people? I really, really hope so," says Simon Wells, who directed "Mars Needs Moms" (the movie lost the book's exclamation point) and co-wrote the film with his wife, Wendy.
BUSINESS
March 13, 2010 | By Claudia Eller
In a cost-saving move, Walt Disney Studios is shutting down Robert Zemeckis' ImageMovers Digital studio in Marin County, which employs 450 people. Those employees will be phased out over the course of the year until the facility closes by January. The director and producer's San Rafael-based studio, which Disney has been bankrolling, produces motion-capture animation technology that was used in Zemeckis' 2009 big-budget holiday movie "A Christmas Carol."
ENTERTAINMENT
February 28, 2010 | By Charles Solomon
For decades, it was easy to tell the two media apart: There were real people in live-action movies; animated films had drawn characters or stop-motion figures. But as filmmaking technology has grown more complex, it's not clear if a single term can encompass movies as different as the five Oscar nominees for best animated feature, the additional 15 films that qualified for the category and the visual effects in movies such as "Avatar." An often heated debate over what is -- and isn't -- animation rages among animators, filmmakers, critics and fans.
NEWS
December 9, 2009
Although making a film version of Charles Dickens' 19th century classic tale of a miserly man is nothing new, using motion-capture technology to animate "A Christmas Carol" is a first. Director Robert Zemeckis has been honing "mo-cap" since 2004's coolly received "Polar Express," with an eye toward imbuing the characters with a somewhat intangible but relatable quality. "What we focused on was getting greater nuance and fidelity in the performance of the actors," says producer Steve Starkey, who worked with Zemeckis on "Polar Express" and "Beowulf."
BUSINESS
November 18, 2009 | Ben Fritz
When "A Christmas Carol" opened well below expectations this month, Walt Disney Studios' president of domestic distribution, Chuck Viane, counseled patience. "Christmas-themed movies opening in early November tend to have a much greater multiple than others, and we know [director] Bob Zemeckis always tends to over-deliver on his multiple," Viane said, pointing to Zemeckis' last 3-D, motion-capture animated Christmas movie, "The Polar Express," which ultimately collected more than seven times its opening-weekend take.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 18, 2007 | Susan King
Special effects To create a tentacle-faced Davy Jones and other cutting-edge computer-generated special effects in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," John Knoll and other members of Industrial Light & Magic first had to create Imocap, a new motion-capture system. Until Imocap, it took 16 cameras, specific lighting cues, a sound stage and a blue screen to digitally record movement in a motion-capture system. The setup was the opposite of portable.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 17, 2001 | KINNEY LITTLEFIELD, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Into a brave new parallel world. That's where genre-crossing artists Paul Kaiser and Shelley Eshkar boldly take us with "Ghostcatching," a mesmerizing virtual dance installation on view today through April 22 at UC Irvine's Beall Center for Art and Technology. Created in collaboration with famed dancer-choreographer Bill T. Jones, "Ghostcatching" is aptly if eerily titled. Kaiser and Eshkar have in a sense stolen Jones' body and soul for a seven-minute film that is the show's principal work.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 6, 2009 | BETSY SHARKEY, FILM CRITIC
Have you ever wanted to strangle a ghost? You may well feel the urge after seeing "A Christmas Carol," Robert Zemeckis' exasperating re-imagining of the Dickens classic as a 3-D action-thriller zooming through Victorian London and the fever dreams of that most miserly of men, Ebenezer Scrooge. The "it's better to give than receive" moral to this story is almost lost under the snowdrifts of special effects. Then there is the blizzard of Jim Carrey's theatrics to weather. The actor voices eight characters, including Scrooge at all ages as well as the three ghosts who haunt him -- you can just see him in the recording studio pingponging manically around during one of the Scrooge-ghost tête-à-têtes.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 1, 2009 | Glenn Whipp
Charles Dickens' most popular creation, Ebenezer Scrooge, usually takes on the tenor of the times, so it's not surprising that Robert Zemeckis' new performance-capture animation version of "A Christmas Carol" has its star, Jim Carrey, musing about where his Scrooge fits in today. "I was thinking about it this morning, how this story ties into everything we're going through," says Carrey, who, thanks to the technology, plays Scrooge as well as the three ghosts haunting him. "Every construct we've built in American life is falling apart.
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