It was great to see the launch of a teaser tailer and advance posters for TINTIN, a movie I’m making with Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy. It’s been a very long time coming. This film, like all CGI-based movies, required a long period of previs and R&D—and then, once the movie is “shot” on the motion capture stage, it takes another two years to complete. It’s probably been 5 years since Steven and I started working on it.
What was great about making this film, was watching Steven step inside the world of motion capture film making, and unleash all of his skill and creative instincts. When you make a live-action film, so many things are working against you—weather, equipment, time. You may imagine shooting a scene with a wonderful crane shot, or a complex Steadicam move, but on the day, time, logistics or sheer physical difficulty forces you to compromise. On a motion capture stage, the “camera” can be a block of wood with tracking markers on it… you point this “camera” in any direction and on a monitor you see the world of Herge’s Tintin in three dimensions. Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis are in front of you wearing motion capture suits, but point the camera at them, and on the monitor you see Tintin and Captain Haddock. When Jamie and Andy move or speak, so do Tintin and Haddock, all in live, real time. Crane moves and tracking shots are performed by moving your thumbs on a Playstation style controller. This is not animation—it’s live action film making in a real-time virtual world. You shoot many takes, just like a normal movie, and each take is fresh and original, as are the camera moves.
Steven embraced this new film making very quickly, and I could see him loving the almost complete freedom he suddenly had. Steven operated the camera on Tintin himself—all the hand held, tracking and craning shots are his. But the really cool thing is seeing how his imagination and gift of story telling went into overdrive. It’s all there in the movie. Something to look forward to.