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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Wondering how animatronics work?

Grey Havens

Apr 30 2008, 3:37am

Post #1 of 3 (258 views)
Wondering how animatronics work? Can't Post

After reading Guillermo del Toro's interview recently about how he was planning to used animatronics more than CGI, I wondered what exactly is animatronics. I came across this today and thought it would help explain to those tech neophytes among you (like yours truly) what is involved in using this method of special effects...


The jury is still out for me, though, on whether this is truly the best way to handle the Smaug scenes... I don't mind the close-ups, but the full-body shots, especially when it's the attack on Lonely Mountain and Laketown... now that's a whole other kettle of fisssh.

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Apr 30 2008, 6:36am

Post #2 of 3 (240 views)
Agreed. I truly think in the end... [In reply to] Can't Post

The FX team will end up using both techniques. There are just some shots that can't be accomplished any other way other than CGI.

But for close-ups and medium shots I rather like the animatronics idea - think of the first Jurassic Park movie where they were so startlingly effective.

Malveth The Eternal

Apr 30 2008, 3:47pm

Post #3 of 3 (179 views)
Animatronics [In reply to] Can't Post

Animatronics are puppets that use mechanical devices. Walt Disney (Pirates of the Caribbean, Hall of Presidents) and Jim Henson (The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth) were pioneers in this form of puppetry, although its use can be found in cinema going as far back as Fritz Lang's 1924 Die Niblungen, and the enormous Fafnir dragon puppet:


Animatronics have the potential to look very convincing or very phony. Depends on the director. These effects tend to work better when the puppets are small (such as the humpback whales in Star Trek IV). I think Del Toro will pull it off.

(This post was edited by Malveth The Eternal on Apr 30 2008, 3:49pm)


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