Interview on The Anti-Gravity Room, 13-Jan-96
prev | up | next


The Anti-Gravity Room, episode 10

Saturday, January 13, 1996, 8:30 AM on YTV

by Mike Shumko

I'd never seen the show before. Based on this one viewing, it seems to be primarily concerned with entertainment media for young people, such as comic books and video games. The three hosts are Phil, Nick, and Shashi.

This episode, called "Visions of the Future", included segments on Marvel's 2099 or 2101 comics, and Electronics Arts Canada's plans for new computer games. The third segment was the ReBoot interview featured here, and the last segment featured the Star Wars comic books.



Nick: ReBoot is a computer generated cartoon series that is definitely a vision of the future, and Phil went to talk to the guys behind Bob, Dot, and Enzo.

Phil: I'm at the production offices of ReBoot, where they create an animated series that's right on the cutting edge. It's been said that the animators here go where no other animators have gone before. I got a chance to talk to one of the original creators, Gavin Blair.

[Megabyte says, "How novel".]

Gavin Blair: Just after myself and one of my partners, Ian Pearson, worked on the Dire Straits Money For Nothing video, and just after we'd finished that, he said, "Hey, wouldn't it be cool to do a whole show like this?" The first show took about nine months to produce, from nothing to finished show. Things are a lot better now, because we've kind of got a handle on what we're doing. But we can turn a show around in about three weeks.

[Intercut with this part were scenes from 1992 when the early 'Wizards, Warriors...' animation was rough, and the same scenes from the 1994 finished product.]

When we get started on a show we start with the script. That's voice recorded using a lot of local actors, a couple of guys who are in L.A. The sound is then brought back here and we feed it into what's called an AVID, which is an off-line editing system. The sound is then chopped up, selected takes are chosen, and then we have what we call setup pictures, which are like pictures of Bob, Dot, Enzo, whoever, just in like three-quarter poses. And we block out the episode just using stills, kind of like a storyboard. Then we'll sit down and we'll gather together the relevant actors and relevant sets and do proper setup pictures. So it'll be the right camera, the right lighting, the right actors in the right place, but they won't be moving - it will just be a still. And the show is blocked out further that way. Then the sound for each particular scene is fed to an animator, who will what we call GRIN it, which is to make the characters talk, and then they're made to move. The last thing we do is bring them to life and animate them as much as we need to.

We're not trying to replace traditional animation or anything like that. I think it's another genre that's been created, and it will live alongside traditional animation and Claymation and stuff like that. It's just another style of animation.

[Scenes from 'Wizard, Warriors' and 'Talent Night'.]

Phil: We're talking to Zeke from ReBoot. So exactly what's your job here?

Zeke Norton: My job is to make things move. For example I've got Hexadecimal here, one of the characters from the show. She has two seconds to scare one of the other characters, Mike the TV. This is called shaded mode, this is as close to real 3-D objects that we see as the animators. What we actually work in is called wire frame. That's sort of a skeleton view of the characters. You can see right through it. But the reason we do this is because the computers are not fast enough to move these characters in shaded mode. They have to do it in sort of a skeletal form.

Phil: Now what equipment do you use to get all this stuff happening?

Zeke: We use SGI hardware, Silicon Graphics, and we use SoftImage in terms of the animation software, and we have some other software that's been written in here by some guys.

Phil: Now as an animator what would you like to see in terms of the technology, to make it easier for you or better for the show?

Zeke: Well, I'd like to see it go faster. That's what every animator wants and that's what they're moving towards. It's gotten a lot faster in the past five years, ten years - it's always getting faster. But it still takes us a long time to animate, not animating in real time. It's not like live action where you tell your actor 'Walk over there'. It takes three seconds. For me to make a character 'walk over there' it's going to take me five hours. When it can take me three seconds to make my character walk over there, then I'll be happy.


home prev up next page 125 of 129

Maintained by Joe Smith