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Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Look Inside the Henson Studios and the Making of "Splash and Bubbles"

It's animation like you've probably never seen it. Jim Henson's Studio is using the latest technology to make their characters in their show 'Splash and Bubbles' come alive.

It takes puppetry and animation and it combines it.

It's a marine biology show told through four fish friends. But it takes two people to bring each fish to life.

"It's about learning each others rhythm and breathing," says show creator John Tartaglia.

Tartaglia plays half of the character, Splash.

"Our double performers are out on the floor, playing the characters. And inside the computers, the combining the faces and body to together to create one character," said Tartaglia.

That one character has a dimension that just a computer couldn't give it.

When he's digitally puppeteering, his right hand does the front fin and lip movements movements. His left controls the eyes and eyebrows

"It's like playing a one man organ where everything is working in different ways and different times and all to create this face on the screen," said Tartaglia.

They have foot pedals too for some of the more emotional movements.

"This one two approach of all of it being done by puppeteers is really new to us," said Lisa Henson, the company's CEO and the late Jim Henson's daughter.

A new technique the creators hope kids don't think about too much, but feel, says Henson.

"The difference comes through in the performance in the likability of the characters how kids relate to the characters because they're very alive...and that quality feels different," said Henson.

She says the seeds of the technology, came from one of Henson's very own last projects.

"My father was incredibly fascinated by computer animation so one of his last projects was a 3D movie for the Disney parks," said Henson.

'Splash and Bubbles' premieres on PBS KIDS November 23rd.

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