Thursday, March 6, 2014

Imagining the Invisible

I know this blog is supposed to be for discussion on the post-production side of things and how motion graphics and animation are done, but this week, after being inspired by our class projects, I'm going to focus on the actors and their performances in front of green screens. As an actor at heart, I loved the opportunity to film on the green screen this week in class. It was such a fun moment to really test the limits of one's imagination. Can you really visualize the world you will be putting yourself into?  I was curious to find out how a professional set would look if there was an intense amount of green screening going on. The first hit I found was the most recent Alice In Wonderland, directed by Tim Burton. First watch this video:

Can you imagine being on set and having to see ALL OF THAT you in your minds eye? Our little exercise in class looks like a walk in the park compared to this. Everything is planned out in every detail. Every second counts, just as we learned in our own smaller projects. I think, for actors, this is exactly what they would live for. Being able to envision the world around you, while it is difficult, can really make a character come alive. I specifically loved watching how Johnny Depp played his character within the world his mind had helped create. Even when directions or creature appearances were called out, the actors had to be able to adapt to the world they were seeing in their minds and react. Watch this video and see the transformation of some of these green screens into the actual world of Wonderland:

This is incredible to watch these scenes come alive. It must be so rewarding for an actor to watch the film and see that invisible world come alive around their character. On the flip side, think about all the time, sweat and hard work the post-production crew put in to making this world come alive. (And I'm stressed about a thirty second clip!) It would be quite the joint effort. As hard or maybe awkward as it was for us this week (or maybe, like me, you really enjoyed it!), for a lot of professional actors it is just part of the job. In the beginning of this interview with Rachel Weisz (an amazing actress), she talks about what it is like for her to act with a green screen, specifically for the film Oz the Great and Powerful.

For a well seasoned actress to call it "simple" or "easy" is expected. I would think that if you walked onto a green screen set for the first time, you would be very intimidated and excited by the prospect. I have definitely been inspired by the ability of actors to imagine the invisible. What a talent to be able to act in a world that you can only see in your mind!

By Amber Capogrossi 

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