Hakanaï is one of the more unconventional examples of a digital puppetry performance I’ve discovered (although, is there anything truly “conventional” about any form of digital puppetry?). It was created by the French Company Adrien M / Claire B, who describe it as a “haiku dance performance taking place in a cube of moving images projected live by a digital performer”.
The performance involves a dancer performing live, whose movements are tracked in real-time and used as the basis for an interactive, digitally animated environment that is projected around them:
Very cool. no? You can learn more from the video’s description on Vimeo.
Cross-posted from Machin-X: Digital Puppetry.
Following up on the image released last month, here’s another still from PuppetVision: The Movie the feature length documentary I’m producing that is loosely based on, well, the blog you’re reading. This is one of the pieces of original puppetry created specifically for the film, an example of “hand manipulation” using body paint and a slightly modified pair of Peepers.
Look for an update with lots more here over the weekend!
14/05/13 Update: Unfortunately, the desktop PC that I use as my primary workstation died the day before I was planning to put together material for an update. Until I have it replaced, working with HD video and other materials from the film is next to impossible on my poor, slow, underpowered laptop, but as soon as I have the desktop replaced I’ll have more to share.
Giant Bunraku-style puppets are brought to stunning life by a team of puppeteers in this amazing Lexus commercial, Steps. Ad Week reports that it was directed by Daniel Kleinman, who is probably best known as the designer of every James Bond opening sequence since GoldenEye excluding Quantum of Solace (a fact that I think just further solidifies his reputation for having excellent taste).
Both puppets featured in Steps were designed digitally so that their shells could be 3D printed (the puppet’s rods and underlying structure were made of light weight carbon fibre). The result were two puppets standing over 11’0 tall that weighed under 7 kg.
The performance of the puppets is extremely well choreographed, but actually fairly conventional. The core weight of each puppet was supported by a central puppeteer using a backpack/shoulder harness. Another puppeteer was responsible for controlling a puppet’s head and torso while two others performed its arms and legs. The result is a testament to what can be achieved by traditional puppetry techniques with good, old fashioned real-time puppetry.
Bravo Lexus. This is supposed to be the first in a series called Amazing in Motion so please, Lexus, make more things like this.
Special thanks to everyone who sent this in!
The Nerdist Channel series Blood and Guts pays a visit to the SFX wizards at Spectral Motion (see previous post). Among other things, we get a closer look at that amazing animatronic troll from Hansel and Gretal: Witch Hunters.
Burma (also known as Myanmar) is one of the most culturally rich countries on Earth, but tragically its people have been subjected to decades of suffering and international isolation under a brutal military dictatorship.
Thankfully, after years of struggle, that is finally coming to an end and the Burmese people have new hope. A transition to democracy has begun and the Burmese people are in the early stages of re-taking their rightful place on the world stage. Against this hopeful backdrop it’s sad to see this report about traditional Burmese puppetry – one of the countries most famous cultural traditions – struggling to survive.
One of the most interesting comments in this report comes from a puppeteer who mentions that even as local enthusiasm for their traditional art fades, foreigners enjoy it tremendously. I’ve heard similar very comments from traditional puppeteers in other parts of Asia. They struggle to survive despite puppetry’s resurgence and international interest in their work.
What can we do to help support and promote traditional art forms like puppetry in places like Burma?
I really wanted to like Strings The Documentary – a short film produced here in Toronto at York University – because it features a trio of great local (Toronto) puppetry artists, but I found it incredibly frustrating to watch because of the way it was executed. This had enormous potential and perhaps a different editor could make it captivating, but the way it is I just don’t think that it does its subjects justice.
Forgive the shaky camera work and disjointed editing and watch this to hear what Joanne Bingham of Open Door Designs (a Toronto puppet shop) and the acclaimed Anne and David Powell of Puppetmongers have to say about puppetry as an art form.