A New Hybrid
Issue: Volume: 27 Issue: 2 (Feb 2004)

A New Hybrid

A: First, the premise that the CG characters came out of a video game means they don't have to look or act real. Second, the character design is so distinctive that the good and evil qualities of the CG characters are quickly relayed to the audience. Third, the dialog between the two types of characters feels natural because they realize they are in a bizarre situation and they try to adapt to it in their own way.

A: We started out being cautious because we didn't know what the potential of the CG characters was, and we didn't know how convincing the live actors would be interacting with an empty space. But after seeing the characters in action together, we began to think of them as being the same and treated them accordingly.

A: We plan to increase the interaction between the human and the CG characters. Putting them into the same scene is one thing, but having a CG character pick up a human, for example, and dangle him by his shirt collar is something else.

A: Gollum from The Lord of the Rings is the benchmark for live-action/CG interaction. And I don't see any reason why the same standard couldn't be achieved in weekly television because of the extraordinary advances that have been made in computer animation, and because shooting hybrid shows is a relatively simple process. The biggest drawback, which is a budget issue, is the amount of time it takes to do the animation once the live action has been shot.

A: The directors on both sides need to understand the processes and limitations of each other's work. It's important to have a strong production team that doesn't favor one side over the other and gets them to work in tandem. For example, if the animation boards are too ambitious, then the live-action director won't be able to shoot them within his schedule. Conversely, if the live-action director doesn't follow the boards, the animation director won't be able to properly animate to them and fulfill his vision. It's the producer's job to make it all fit together and appear seamless.

A: I'm developing another CG/live-action hybrid based on the premise of what would have happened if the dinosaurs had continued to evolve. In it, they've returned to Earth and want their planet back. That's all I can say for now.

A: Yes. Its success would have more to do with the series premise and the traditional elements of storytelling than with the use of CG. It cannot exist primarily because it's a CG/live-action mix.

A: Making the entire half-hour show into a unified story. Whereas the CG elements were the "A story," we had to make sure that the live-action segments, the "B story," somehow reflected and fit together so that the two complemented each other and were seamless.