How Actors Become Animation: Behind The Scenes Of Disney’s “A Christmas Carol”

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The DVD release of Disney’s A Christmas Carol starring Jim Carey as yuletide tyrant Ebenezer Scrooge, will reveal the tech process behind Carey’s transformation from live-action actor to cartooned character.

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The film, released in theaters last fall, hit store shelves today on DVD and Blu-ray – and we got a sneak peek at the disc’s extras. A behind-the-scenes look at motion capture is a nice quick explainer of process, one of Hollywood’s most adept methods of transferring the physical performance of a performer into animated films. No matter how many times I click through a “James Cameron: How He Did It!” photo essay, I’m always impressed by the tiniest inflections captured by the CG teams. It’s virtual puppetry, if you will.

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Small dots are applied to the actor’s face and filmed by a series of cameras positioned around him at different angles. The motion footage is then applied to the face of the digital actor, creating that classic Jim Carey, jaw-dropped look of surprise. You know the one. If the DVD is on your kid’s holiday wish list, make sure to check out the tech how-to together. That way, your kid will grow up to be James Cameron/The King Of The World.