【tdr0067】Shooting “Nightmare before Christmas” was such a nightmare?


“Nightmare before Christmas” was released in 1993, October 29th in United States of America (1994, October 15th in Japan). “Tim Burton”, who is familiar with “Edward Scissor Hands” or “Batman”, writes this story and it is a musical animation movie used stop motion animation technique.

Even it is a musical animation, but the story is not just with fantasy or fairy tale, it is so Tim Burton’s horror style that it is fantastic and unique, but the amazing atmosphere is fascinating. Inside the mysterious atmosphere strong characteristic characters move lively as if they are not dolls and attract us into the story.

Stop motion animation technique that used in this movie incorporated newest digital picture technique other than “traditional technique, which descended from “Ray Harryhausen” (American visual effects creator and stop motion animator. He is a person who made the history of visual effects of 20 centuries movies.)

Even using the newest technique, the analogous work of moving the doll single frame by single frame and shoot doesn’t get different. Therefore, to shoot a minuet long scene takes more than a week to shoot. Nightmare work is lined up.

No wonder, because 24 frames per second. It is same for illustration animation, but to make the move smooth “24 frames per second” is the standard. Therefore, the doll action needs “24 frames per second” and when shooting one minuet it becomes 1440 frames. To shoot 1440 times, they move the dolls little by little.

It’s not done just moving the dolls, the facial expression or around mouth have to be changed according to the line, so the head of main character “Jack” had to prepare 400 different patterns. That already seems overwhelming, but to calculate which head goes in which frame is difficult.

To cope with this, it requires great patients and concentration even with a professional animator.

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