Steven Spielberg Explains the Benefits of Filming THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN With Motion Capture
Published: March 14, 2011 - 12:21pm
For his upcoming film, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, Spielberg chose to film the actors in the same performance-capture technology that James Cameron used on Avatar according to the LA Times.
Combining three of Belgian artist Georges "Hergé" Remi's comic stories --The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham's Treasure -- the film depicts Tintin's (Jamie Bell) first encounter with Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) and the discovery of a clue to the treasure of his ancestor Sir Francis Haddock. They set out to find it with protection from a prison escapee who tried to get the treasure as well as Detectives Thompson and Thomson (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost).
Spielberg explains to the LA Times Hero Complex that it was his respect for artist Hergé and wanting to depict the art as closely as possible that influenced his decision to film the actors using motion capture. “Hergé wrote about fictional people in a real world, not in a fantasy universe,” Spielberg said. “It was the real universe he was working with, and he used National Geographic to research his adventure stories. It just seemed that live action would be too stylized for an audience to relate to. You’d have to have costumes that are a little outrageous when you see actors wearing them. The costumes seem to fit better when the medium chosen is a digital one.”
As for the experience, the director says that he adored it, “It made me more like a painter than ever before. I got a chance to do so many jobs that I don’t often do as a director. You get to paint with this device that puts you into a virtual world, and allows you to make your shots and block all the actors with a small hand-held device only three times as large as an Xbox game controller.”
The actors wore lyrca suits which were covered in reflective markers and their every movement was tracked by more than 100 cameras. “When Captain Haddock runs across the volume, the cameras capture all the information of his physical and emotional moves,” the director said. “So as Andy Serkis runs across the stage, there’s Captain Haddock on the monitor, in full anime, running along the streets of Belgium. Not only are the actors represented in real time, they enter into a three-dimensional world.”
Tintin stars Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Daniel Craig. Produced by Peter Jackson, with the animation done by Jackson’s Weta wizards, the film is due in theaters in 2011.