How Sam Raimi Used Live Puppetry and Performance Conferencing To Create ‘Oz The Great and Powerful’

Sam Raimi employs an interesting technique with having video monitors puppets take the place of characters that would be later dropped in digitally.

Sam Raimi was faced with a predicament. Two of the characters in his upcoming film  Oz The Great and Powerful are completely fantastical (a flying talking monkey and a foot tall talking/walking breakable china ceramic doll) but he didn’t want to have the characters to be completely created and performed in post production, and he also didn’t want to use performance capture as it sometimes results in very robotic-looking performances.

“More than anything, the strength of this script was the humanity in it and that’s the strength of the great classic WIZARD OF OZ movie, Raimi told us in an exclusive interview. “So I challenged my visual effects designer with “How can I make these characters more human than human? I want to capture Joey’s performance absolutely. I want to capture Zack’s performance absolutely. I don’t want a CG performance.” Then he said, “Then we will do just that. We will capture them with the camera. We won’t do the motion control. We won’t have their performance drive some computer android.”

The alternative they came up with let the voice actors be part of the performance process and gives the live action actors something to play off of.

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