Andy Serkis on the set of the Lord of the Rings (2001)
Andy Serkis on the set of King Kong (2005)
Zoe Saldana on the set of Avatar (2009)
Andy Serkis plays Captain Haddock in The Adventures of Tintin : the Secret of the Unicorn (2011)
Benedict Cumberbatch (Smaug) on the filming of the Hobbit (2012)
Andy Serkis on the set of Planet of The apes 2 (2014)
Andy Serkis on the set of Planet of The apes 3 (2017)
Andy Serkis performs Mowgli (2018), and is also Baloo
From Gollum to Mowgli, the actor and director has largely contributed to the expansion of this animation technique.
Mowgli, Andy Serkis, will air from tomorrow, Friday, December 7, on Netflix. On the occasion of the posting of this dark adaptation and ambitious of the the Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling, First was able to ask some questions to the director, very talkative when as soon as he fusses performance capture, the technique of animation developed in the last twenty years in Hollywood. His incarnation of Gollum to the one of Baloo, he tells us about the evolution of this process, detailing of course his own experience, but also speaking of the filmmakers, such as James Cameron on Avatar, which have helped to revolutionize its use.
In order that the experience be as immersive as possible, we entrecoupons its responses to the video shoot showing precisely how all this works. We also collect above a couple of images from major films shot in performance capture.
Andy Serkis introduces us to Mowgli : “there will be no song in my version of the Jungle Book”
The Lord of the Rings : the beginnings of the motion capture “Performance capture has evolved tremendously in the last twenty years. At the time of the Lord of the Rings (2001), we talked about motion capture. We recorded our expressions, but it was moving a little, it was not on the plateau itself, but in a confined room enclosed, protected, and lit a certain way for that rendering to be successful. Gollum was created like that, but as soon as The Return of the king (2003), technology was already starting to change. On the third film, it was able to film a handful of sequences on to the true plateau, where the cameras could be moved more widely.” Nearly a decade later, the character was in The Hobbit, and the technique was well evolved (the link just below rests on the creation of Smaug, the dragon of the new trilogy) :
Benedict Cumberbatch is good, even in dragon
King Kong : the birth of the physical performance “The next step, it was on King Kong (2005), still directed by Peter Jackson. There, it became really physical : the movements of my body were recorded at the same time that the expressions of my face, this is where the performance capture is born so to speak. Dressed in a suit who offered me the case of the monkey, I could more move, use my body to play with.”
Avatar : a revolution “The great upheaval, it was Avatar (2009), with the use of cameras hung in front of the faces of the actors, which allowed them to play while moving in a large environment, which would subsequently be processed digitally. The recording of the facial expressions was more detailed : movements of the lips, blinking of eyes etc, All can be saved with these small cameras.”
The Planet of the apes : shoot outdoors “The Planet of the apes (2011), it allowed us to shoot inside AND outside. On the first film, the entire performance capture has been recorded on the plateau, but for the both (2014) and three (2017), we have been able to go out and shoot in different sets : the beach, the forest… with a changing weather. Every time we gained freedom.”
Mowgli : the roles more diversified “You know better animate all sorts of creatures from the game of the actors. Gollum, King Kong, Avatar, it’s still impressive for the time, but you can feel the difference with the films of now. It is this that has allowed us to multiply the different types of animals on Mowgli : panther, wolf, bear, snake, tiger… It was already on The Planet of the apes with the different kinds of primates, but we reached a level of diversification impressive : these creatures have nothing to do between them, they do not have the same behavior.”
Next step : to shoot in the water “Now, James Cameron may shoot Avatar’s sequels under the water, it is a huge leap forward ! This technology allows you to do heaps of things in our days. An actor can play everything through it.”
Avatar 2 : How to turn on the water in performance capture ?