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Re-Imagining the Magic (2005)

Video  |   |  Documentary, Short  |  18 July 2005 (UK)
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A behind the scenes tour of the French animation studio where The Magic Roundabout was made.

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Matthew Daw ...
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Pierre-Marie Fenech ...
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Lilian Fuentefria ...
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A behind the scenes tour of the French animation studio where The Magic Roundabout was made.

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A look at the conception of the animation

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Documentary | Short

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18 July 2005 (UK)  »

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This documentary short is featured on disc 2 of The Magic Roundabout 2-disc special edition. See more »

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References Bad Boys II (2003) See more »

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Wondering what the name of this animation studio might be
23 September 2008 | by (Rijswijk, ZH, Netherlands) – See all my reviews

This documentary continues where 'A Magical History' left off on disc two of The Magic Roundabout 2-Disc Special Edition set. It chronicles the making of the computer animated film and gives the viewer a walk-through tour of the French animation studio where the feature film was made. Unfortunately they neglected to call the studio by name. We get to see the outside of the studio (there's no nameplate) and meet some of the people involved, but they never mention the name of the studio! It looks enormous on the inside though. With only a few people sitting at workstations here and there and like all good animators they have statues and toy figures of their own favorite animated characters on top of their computers. To make matters worse, back in 2005 they had to do it on clunky old monitors instead of the flat-screens that are all the rage now.

Tom Baker narrates with his trademark deep rich voice and cultured British accent. He first explains the pre-visualization stage of the production, which starts with good old fashioned storyboards. These are then turned into a simple animatic with a temp score and dialog track. The importance of the Art Director is stressed as we learn that this person makes the final decision on all the texturing and lighting of each element. Next up is a look at the design of backgrounds and the new look of our old favorites from 'Le Manege Enchante'. The difficulty of creating skin, clothes and especially hair is touched upon, and since Dougal, the main character, is almost as hairy as Cousin It, the animators obviously had their work cut out for them.

Meanwhile the a rough cut of the film is being put together based on the earlier storyboard bound animatics. In this version the backgrounds aren't finished yet and the characters don't have full motion, but it gives the viewer an idea of what the finished scene will look like. Key framing offers a handy shortcuts for the animators to give their digital actors life as they simply place the character in first and last position and the computer works out the rest. Once the animators are satisfied and the shot is finished, each shot has to be rendered out at a very high resolution (which can take up to a couple of days) and recorded out to film. It's all quite impressive for such a small European crew. Now if only they had mentioned the name of their production company, they might have gotten some nice job offers out of it...

6 out of 10


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