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View Full Version : Rare footage of animatronic SOTO Michaelangelo


Bmaga123
09-01-2014, 03:40 AM
I have never seen this video before and find it very fascinating. Brian Henson shows how the animatronics work on the Mikey head from SOTO with a rare close up look at the inside of the head as well. Terrible quality but well worth the watch IMO. Enjoy :-)

Brian Henson Animatronics: http://youtu.be/z6Fg296MZ4Q

z6Fg296MZ4Q

[Edit by Machias: Makin it Biiiiig! :D ]

Leolead
09-01-2014, 04:24 AM
UNBELIEVABLE! that's amazing! really makes me appreciate the original Turtles!!

Kingoji
09-01-2014, 05:22 AM
I remember seeing this when it first aired. I must have been ten or eleven. How the animatronics on the Turtles worked always stuck with me after this, and every time someone over the years said they looked like crap I'd be annoyed at them for not respecting the craft and how cutting edge it was for the day.

Bry
09-01-2014, 10:00 AM
Very cool find! The animatronic work the Henson folks did always impressed the hell out of me, and considering this was from 24 years ago, it's still really impressive. I can only imagine how great a similar take on them would look today.

Bmaga123
09-01-2014, 12:04 PM
Very cool find! The animatronic work the Henson folks did always impressed the hell out of me, and considering this was from 24 years ago, it's still really impressive. I can only imagine how great a similar take on them would look today.

I agree 100% and I believe they would still look much better than CG turtles.

thebrownranger
09-01-2014, 05:14 PM
Very cool find. Thanks for the share!

PizzaPower1985
09-01-2014, 05:54 PM
Thanks for this! Awesome!

Found this as well...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6LNBm8v4wY

Bmaga123
09-01-2014, 06:21 PM
Thanks for this! Awesome!

Found this as well...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6LNBm8v4wY

No problem buddy. I posted the link you posted a long time ago but thanks for sharing it again it's a great video :-)

The Boston Ninja Turtle
09-01-2014, 06:23 PM
these are amazing!

pennydreadful
09-01-2014, 06:46 PM
That's great! I seriously will never understand why they decided CG was a better move for the new film - animatronics are way better, IMO.

IndigoErth
09-01-2014, 07:27 PM
[Ah, always found the decapitated heads a little unsettling, beyond that however... lol] Really cool videos, guys, thanks for sharing the links. :D:tcool:

Did not realize even back then they were already using sensors to catch someone's mouth movements, pretty cool!


That's great! I seriously will never understand why they decided CG was a better move for the new film - animatronics are way better, IMO.
Couldn't figure out how to make the costumes bullet proof. lol

Autbot_Benz
09-01-2014, 07:33 PM
Costumes are limited with CG you can get better facial expressions instead of it looking like its talking like a sock puppet.

TechnoJerome
09-01-2014, 09:16 PM
[Ah, always found the decapitated heads a little unsettling, beyond that however... lol] Really cool videos, guys, thanks for sharing the links. :D:tcool:

Did not realize even back then they were already using sensors to catch someone's mouth movements, pretty cool!



Couldn't figure out how to make the costumes bullet proof. lol

Really impressive they had that kind of technology those days... I didnt think they did. This stuff was ahead of it's time for sure.

Mellie
09-01-2014, 10:05 PM
Nice find!

The animatronic turtles have way more 'soul' than any of the new CG turtles.

Bmaga123
09-02-2014, 05:19 PM
Costumes are limited with CG you can get better facial expressions instead of it looking like its talking like a sock puppet.

The range of facial expressions and emotion that a character can express through animatronics is far superior to any sock puppet :trolleye:

Glados
09-03-2014, 01:39 PM
The range of facial expressions and emotion that a character can express through animatronics is far superior any sock puppet :trolleye:

Hey, look at Kermit! Basically a sock puppet, but so many great expressions... Okay, I'll agree that animatronics scores better at some areas, but don't underestimate the sock ;)

Leolead
09-03-2014, 08:20 PM
The range of facial expressions and emotion that a character can express through animatronics is far superior any sock puppet :trolleye:
If animatronics were better they'd still be used today, we've moved past animatronics now.

As a matter of fact, my friends even make fun of the 1990 Turtles! (Which pisses me off, because they don't understand the time and effort put into them) point is CG is better.

IndigoErth
09-03-2014, 08:41 PM
Well, beyond just TMNT, I dunno if I'd agree that we've moved past animatronics; they're a separate art so I don't really see CGI as being an intended replacement for it, rather an advancement in what computer animation is capable of.

I'm sure animatronics will always have it's place and continue to grow and advance in techniques. Never know what will be possible with it years from now if they have new materials and methods developed and in use. But which is used right now just comes down to a style choice imo, and at the present moment CGI was that choice.

Powder
09-03-2014, 08:58 PM
If animatronics were better they'd still be used today, we've moved past animatronics now.


Wrong. CGI is preferred by most filmmakers because it's cheaper.

Bmaga123
09-03-2014, 11:55 PM
Wrong. CGI is preferred by most filmmakers because it's cheaper.

This exactly!

Leolead
09-04-2014, 12:58 AM
Wrong. CGI is preferred by most filmmakers because it's cheaper.
You're right and wrong, CG is cheaper, but... it's better and more advanced than animatronics. why do you think you never see animatronics being used in movies nowadays? it's because animatronics are outdated, and almost laughable to what we can do now.

No one wants to spend the unnecessary time and money making real props and costumes when they can just use CG/Mocap it's faster, cheaper and better looking.

Young adults and Teens nowadays would laugh it off the movie screens. trust me I know I am one, and I'm around them everyday.

Bry
09-04-2014, 06:53 AM
You're right and wrong, CG is cheaper, but... it's better and more advanced than animatronics. why do you think you never see animatronics being used in movies nowadays? it's because animatronics are outdated, and almost laughable to what we can do now.

No one wants to spend the unnecessary time and money making real props and costumes when they can just use CG/Mocap it's faster, cheaper and better looking.

Young adults and Teens nowadays would laugh it off the movie screens. trust me I know I am one, and I'm around them everyday.

I think that's over-simplying things. Powder's right that CGI is used more often than animatronics because it's cheaper and "easier", but it's also kind of trendy and widely-accepted at this point. And you can do a ton with CGI, and I'm not disputing that the technology has grown by leaps and bounds, but a lot of the time you can still tell it's not "real". Characters and objects still often feel like they're not in the same plane as the live actors and physical objects, and humanoid characters still often have that "uncanny valley" vibe. The right artists can almost make this seamless, but I don't think most are at that level yet.

In theory, CGI is limitless, but physical costumes/props and animatronic/puppet characters still blend better onscreen with actors and physical sets because they're actually a real part of the same environment. This is why the best CGI work is often done in backgrounds and touch-ups where it's not the primary focus. If it's done well, your brain shouldn't be saying "that's CGI" while you're watching it.

I do think there's a place for both, though. In fact, I feel like puppetry/animatronics with CGI touch-ups and detailing could look better than either one on their own.

Candy Kappa
09-04-2014, 07:25 AM
dissing Practical effects is just petty. CGI and Practical FX are different paths to the same goal, and both have their strength and weaknesses.

fitzcarraldo
09-04-2014, 12:46 PM
This just took me right back to my childhood!! I remember watching this when it aired! Thank you!
The animatronics for the Turtles is one of the main reasons I love practical effects over cgi.

Ville Leskinen
09-04-2014, 02:55 PM
Young adults and Teens nowadays would laugh it off the movie screens. trust me I know I am one, and I'm around them everyday.

It's great we don't all have to like the same stuff. What I also find great is that there still are some directors who PREFER to use animatronics over CGI.

Even with them kids laughing...::lol:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1iVJExd5vA

Leolead
09-04-2014, 03:39 PM
You're one out of thousands! most Teens/Young people aren't interested in animatronics or anything dated.

Most not some, most directors would rather work with CG than practical effects/Animatronics/real costumes.

Candy Kappa
09-04-2014, 03:46 PM
I'd imagine most people wouldn't care I'd it's practical effect or a cgi effect, as long as it looks good and is well integrated to the live-action parts of the movie.

Ville Leskinen
09-04-2014, 04:01 PM
You're one out of thousands! most Teens/Young people aren't interested in animatronics or anything dated.

Most not some, most directors would rather work with CG than practical effects/Animatronics/real costumes.

Does this mean I ain't hip and down anymore, kids? Damn, I knew this day would come! :lol:





I'm just messing with you. I know animatronics have been out for a long time. But I disagree with the idea that "kids/teens/young people" as you put it, would actually be the ones having a say in anything considering what's used. It's the big boys with the money who run the show. And these guys are probably older then YOUR DAD! :D

Leolead
09-04-2014, 04:27 PM
Can't argue with that.

IndigoErth
09-04-2014, 04:31 PM
It's the big boys with the money who run the show. And these guys are probably older then YOUR DAD! :D
Yeah, very much that. When you've got Bay and his people and others more similar to them involved, even if modern animatronics could come out stellar, their associates and prior colleagues are prob more FX department than they are Henson studio. If these film makers have not dealt much with animatronics in film making I have my doubts they could have handled it anyhow.

Bmaga123
09-05-2014, 10:12 AM
It's great we don't all have to like the same stuff. What I also find great is that there still are some directors who PREFER to use animatronics over CGI.

Even with them kids laughing...::lol:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1iVJExd5vA

The kids laughing are probably watching TMNT3 which I understand because AllFx did not do a good job on the Turtle suits and Animatronics. Jim Henson did such a spectacular job on the first two films I think they hold up very well, especially the first film.

Sighphi
09-06-2014, 05:41 PM
it was creepy when it was just there alone blinking.

Monte Williams
09-07-2014, 11:11 AM
How the animatronics on the Turtles worked always stuck with me after this, and every time someone over the years said they looked like crap I'd be annoyed at them for not respecting the craft and how cutting edge it was for the day.

I never knew anyone thought they looked bad until recently. I assert that such dismissals stem from a place of ignorance rather than discernment. It's the condescension of posterity on a pop cultural rather than a socio-political scale.


I feel like puppetry/animatronics with CGI touch-ups and detailing could look better than either one on their own.

I cannot agree with this enough. I agree with everything you said, but this especially.

CGI has come a long way in recent years. Where once I dismissed it completely, I have recently, begrudgingly come to accept that it has its place; Rise of the Planet of the Apes featured breathtaking CGI, and while I don't care for the movies themselves, the CGI in Michael Bay's Transformers films is amazing; it looks for all the world like an assortment of ugly, interchangeable robots really exist! :)

Ultimately, though, for me, as others have noted, most CGI characters lack weight and believability, and heart. I am frequently reminded of something Roger Ebert wrote about 1939's The Wizard of Oz:

Modern special effects show *exactly* how imaginary scenes might look; effects then showed how we *thought* about them. A bigger Yellow Brick Road would not have been a better one.


Compare the 1939 classic to last year's already-forgotten Oz the Great and Terrible, and you'll see Ebert was correct.


I eventually came around to accepting the new designs of the Turtles, and in the case of Donatello I actually like his new look. It's clumsy and on-the-nose, but I find it endearing. But while their faces were convincing in most every scene in the new Bay film (for me, at least), their bodies and skin were too frequently a muddy, ambiguous mess. There is not enough texture or, again, weight to most CGI, although again, it is improving.

Compare the haunting, ballet-like treetop balancing work in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to the off-putting cartoony boredom of the web swinging in the first Spider-Man movie for another example of the triumph of practical effects, although to be fair, from the trailer at least, the web swinging in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 looks pretty brilliant.

Hellboy II is another triumph of practical effects; Mr. Wink is a dude in a giant monster suit! Bless you, Guillermo del Toro!

Glados
09-07-2014, 01:03 PM
Wrong. CGI is preferred by most filmmakers because it's cheaper.

Well, both yes and no, I think personally... CGI has become more budget-friendly over the years (tho low-budged CGI is usually pretty easy to tell apart from the more expensive stuff). But as I mentioned in another thread, young movie goers today are not used to puppetry in the way we "80's and 90's kids" are.

I LOVE the animatronic (dunno how to spell it right in English, tho) works of of people like Henson and Winston, I have many of the films they participated in and "No strings attached" and "Stan Winston Studio" sits proudly in my book shelf. But I can see and admit that with characters that have to talk and emote in a very human'ish way, it easily gets a bit "puppety", for lack of a better word. How ever I'm pretty used to it as I grew up with such effects, but I can imagine teens today seeing it and thinking it looks wonky and it's just not the fluid nuanced movements and expressions they are used to.

I do think CGI is overused at times today, particularly in horror and gore where practical effects are just so much more tactile and convincing. Also when dealing with creatures that doesn't have to display a lot of advanced expressions and talk articulate I wish we would see more practical effects being used where possible (again, Jurassic Park is a great example). But with creatures like the turtles I can see it posing a real challenge and I can understand film makers seeing it as a potential disaster to try and use practical effects to bring them to life for today's audience. We nostalgia-heads would probably love it, but that would probably not be enough to keep it from blowing up in their face financially...

Glados
09-07-2014, 01:16 PM
I do think there's a place for both, though. In fact, I feel like puppetry/animatronics with CGI touch-ups and detailing could look better than either one on their own.

Now this is something I could potentially see working for the turtles! They do in fact have rather human'ish proportions body-wise. It's the faces that creates most of the challenge, so it would be very interesting to see if a good merge of suits for the bodies and CGI for the faces could be done. It would require a lot of work to make the suits look convincing enough. (for instance the hands always bothered me about the Henson suits, but I'm sure we would be able to spit out some materials today that would make it look a bit more convincing. Also musculature needs to look a bit less static) And also a lot of work to make the CGI faces blend nicely with the physical suits, no slacking off with the textures there! We've already seen some tolerable results in for instance the "Pirates..." films of this kind of blend. Would be very interesting to see this attempted for the turtles.