ELMO'S WORLD, a series of segments inserted every day into SESAME STREET, is essentially a stand-alone show. It looks very different from the rest of SESAME STREET, has its own set of characters that don't appear with the regular SESAME characters, and unlike the ensemble cast of SESAME, it has one central star puppet character, Elmo.
Most of what I did on EW was work on puppeteering the computer-generated (CGI) characters on the show. They were all animated in real time, as we were shooting, using a sophisticated motion capture system.
Above, me puppeteering the motion control input device, while computer supervisor Emre Yilmaz looks on.
Hm. You don't always capture the performance you were hoping for. Emre will fix it in post.
Above, Drawer, one of the very animated CGI characters.
As puppeteers, we're basically moving output sensors around in relation to an input sensor which tells the computer where in relative space to render the image of the character that we're performing. To oversimplify, if we move the input sensors left and right, the computer will draw the image of the character moving left and right, if we move them up and down, the computer renders the character going up and down, etc. But it's not like TOY STORY or SHREK -- we perform the CGI characters live, in real time -- they're not all animated one frame at at time and edited together later. The other CGI puppeteers on ELMO'S WORLD are Jim Martin, John Tartgalia, and Matt Vogel.
Photos from Private Collection of Rick Lyon.
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Photos by Jim Martin.