HOLLYWOOD — Tim Burton’s stop-motion film Frankenweenie hits theaters here in the US on October 5. The film is a heartwarming tale about a boy and his dog. After unexpectedly losing his beloved dog Sparky, young Victor harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life — with just a few minor adjustments.
The stop-motion animated film was shot in black and white and rendered in 3D, helping to create a new look for the classic technique. Movements is captured a single frame at a time and it takes 24 frames to create one second of animation. On average, one animator can only produce five seconds of animation per week. Multiple versions of the same puppet character allowed animators to work on more than one scene at a time.
There were as many as 18 animators working independently of each other at one time. Over 200 puppets and sets were created for the film. There were 17 Victors and 12 Sparkys. The first puppet designed for the film was Sparky, and the scale that they established with him set the standard for the rest of the film.
Burton had a very specific vision for Sparky’s character and wanted him to act and move like a real dog. The armature needed to be very intricate and four inches would be the smallest they could make him and still have him display all the behavior and personality that was required.
Frankenweenie marks the first animated film that Burton has directed for Disney. All of the characters are based on Burton’s own drawings, some dating back to 1984 when he created the live-action short of Frankenweenie. The voice cast includes four actors who have worked with Burton on previous films: Winona Ryder (“Beetlejuice,” “Edward Scissorhands”), Catherine O’Hara (“Beetlejuice,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas”), Martin Short (“Mars Attacks!”) and Martin Landau (“Ed Wood,” Sleepy Hollow”).
For more on Frankenweenie, check out Post’s sister publications CGW (www.cgw.com), or take a 360-degree tour of the set, hosted by animation director Trey Thomas and producer Allison Abbate (http://frankenweenie360.com).