The Dark Crystal Puppeteers Chat About How They Bring Puppets To Life | Netflix

The Dark Crystal Puppeteers Chat About How They Bring Puppets To Life | Netflix


– Look at me. – Okay honey. – Why you no look at me anymore? – I am looking. – You, I’m over here. – I know, but look on the
T.V. I’m looking at ya. – Oh yes, very good. (laughter) – I understand everything. (mystical music) – Puppetry’s a funny art because you don’t really notice it, unless it’s wrong. So in anything, in theater,
or in film or television, if it’s wrong you’re like “that thing looks weird,
he’s just broke his neck the way he looked round there.” So but when it’s right you
shouldn’t think about it, like Louis says, you shouldn’t
really think about puppets. Once you’ve got in the
zone of Dark Crystal, when you watch episode one and you go “Okay, that’s how they are,
that’s how that tribe is and that’s how these guys are.” Then you forget that, hopefully, and that all just falls away. Like when you watch Nick
Parks stuff, you know? You don’t go “Oh, well this
is made out of plasticine.” You know, you just fall
in, you buy into that world like in cartoons or whatever. – And we’re so aware of the
skeleton and the gravity. You know, so like things
shouldn’t bend the wrong way because that’s an injury. (laughter) We’re constantly aware of that. – Yeah, we should show the polling. Maybe it’s because some
of these points are better to be illustrated with
the real thing, right? – You have the Skeksis,
you have the Gelfling, and also the Podlings as well. – [Dave] Yeah, Podlings are
great fun all day and all night. Everyone loves a Podling. (laughter) If you detail someone a Podling, like “Hey, Fred, today you’re a Podling.” They go “Yay. – Cha-ching. – All the Gelfling shots
are hard, no question. Everything about a Gelfling does is hard. – [Warrick] It takes
so much concentration. – [Dave] Yeah, and stillness. And then a Podling I
light them up at show, which we’ll show you in a minute because it’s all big and broad and funny. And Skeksis like pantover
because they are again big and you have to turn
a Skeksis around and look down the lense and it’s terrifying. And they’re huge as well,
that’s the other thing. The Empress is about 7’2″, 7’3”
once I’m in it and it’s on. Like, people come to
the set and grown men, they look at them like “Oh
my God, it’s terrifying.” (laughter) – Because they’re also up in the air. – Because they have the
memory from their childhood. (laughter) – All the nightmares come flooding back. – We had two days in the
Podling wayhouse which is the Podling pub, and it
was the best two days. We just skipped around,
singing and dancing and there was like beer jugs
with foam on top and we were flinging the foam
at each other and stuff. – It was like a jamboree of like how many site guys can we get
in this scene, ya know? Like, this guy’s drunk, he falls over, his wife punches him in the face, ya know. So many things, they’re
not all in the show but we did have such a giggle. – [Warrick] But then
because it’s so much fun you want to do it all the time. So you guys can’t see it,
but we know that we’re the two Podlings over here and
then in the reverse we’re like “Oh no, I’m doing that one.” So then we’re over here doing
this and then we’re up there doing the musicians, we’re
just all over the place. – Yeah. But that’s another weird
thing, you talk to yourself so there’s sequences
where, because we play multiple characters in the show– – [Chris] Like when Autumn
talks to the Emperor. – [Dave] Yeah, Autumn comes
and talks to the Emperor so there’s this whole thing
of like I must order the shot where he’s really thinking, it’s a very powerful moment in the show. And then of course, you
just get that off your sheet and it’s like half past 11 in
the morning and you’re like “Whew, got that out of the way.” And then of course you got to
flip it and get in the Emperor and do the other side
of that shot and talk to somebody else standing in for you. And it’s just continuous, just relentless. – And then you need therapy all night. (laughter) – [Chris] It looked heavy
as well because when you’re inside the Skeksis as well
you’re strapped in essentially, you have the monitor as well. – They’re very heavy. Like
you said, we’ve got the straps and we’ve got the everything. So it keeps the body up, you
don’t have to hold the body up. The body is just suspended
in mid-air because it’s attached to your body. And the head’s heavy, and
the head’s just resting on the back of your hand,
because there’s all the animatronics inside there. And then you get into
the armor for the battle, and the blades and the wings and stuff. So yeah, like it’s just to sweat you down. We were sweating down
to or knees some days. (Chris laughs) – [Dave] And also the other
is a standard creature suit. A standard creature suit is
pretty hot, but this is because of the beautiful design
of Brian and beautiful costume designers, you’ve
got a cotton and then a crinoline, then the
fabric, then a gauze, then like the great ruffs and the ruffles. All the jewelry, the chains. The Emperor has these
heavy gloves and rings and the cape, and everything. – But all those textures are great in 4K. – Yeah it looks great, yeah. – It’s worth it. Like, I had to wait until
I saw the series and I was like “Okay yeah, it was worth it.” – Yeah it does, it looks
cool but it’s heavy. And hot. – So the Podlings are
so much fun so we should get some of that. – Yeah, we should get some Podling time. – [Dave] The first thing
with puppets is eye focus, where other puppets are looking. So obviously we were
goofing around earlier, we’re looking straight down the lense, which is much more like
live television puppetry. – Hello, welcome to the Podling show. – Welcome to the Podling show. – Yeah, we’re Podlings. – Today I will cook for you. – No don’t, please. – No? – No. – Okay fine. – [Dave] So we don’t use
that in The Dark Crystal, they never look down the lense obviously. – [Warrick] No, because
they live in the real world. (laughter) – But it’s that thing of,
well they talk to each other. – Yes. – Yes, so I’m looking at you now. – Yes, you look at me. – [Warrick] We cheat on the
eye lines a hell of a lot because this isn’t interesting. You know, seeing that
profile of the character’s not interesting, so what I’m
doing there is not interesting. But what Dave’s doing is
showing you both of those eyes. – Oh yeah, yeah. So I’m talking to my wife
but I’m talking weirdly, kind of throwing my eyes around and then if you see two eyes it
brings the characters alive. – You see we tilt the
head ever so slightly because in 2D it works well. On the screen, it works well. – Yeah, that’s right. And then weirdly sometimes because of the prohibitive nature of set
design on any production, you can cheat it. I mean, in reality I
can be looking way pa– like, if you look at
where we are we’re not actually really looking at each other. – Look at me. – Okay, hunny. – Why you no look at me anymore? (laughter) – I am looking at you. – You, I’m over here. – I know, look on the TV. I am looking at you. – Oh yes, very good. (laughter) I understand everything, yes. – Okay so, what about near and far? Near and far? – Oh yeah, – So stay foreground? – Yeah. – Okay, well you can run
with this if you want but just quickly. Puppets, for some crazy
reason, if I had a human being here right now and I
took them this far away, they don’t go that small. But because the puppets are
already small, smaller than a human, you can put them there
and we’re the same size. And then just two or three
paces I look like I’m 20 feet away from him. – How you shrinking? – Oh no, I feel really weird
like you look like a monster. – Watch this, folks. – Watch it on the TV, don’t
watch it in reality, okay? – Watch it on the TV, oh shut up! (laughter) – It’s a gag, watch on the screen. Here we go. – Okay, I start again. Watch it on the TV, folks. – Yeah, good. I’m scared of you, you look big and scary (puppet one roars, puppet two screams) (audience laughs) – (spits) Boney. – Yeah, it’s a optical illusion. – [Dave] Yeah so, we play with
depth of field all the time. – So we’re going to talk about walks– – No, hang on. Before we do that,
little creature flies by. Eye focus. – This is really hard for me. – Who’s leading, you? – No. – Okay, I’ll lead. (laughter) – [Dave] So all we’re doing
is we’re going to follow a little creature fly around the screen. – Wow, look at it. – And we’re not really
doing anything much, but we’re both looking in
unison and that means.. – So pretty. – Yes, isn’t she beautiful? – Can I eat it? – No, don’t eat it. – Okay. – I want to put a pin throuhg
her and stick it on my wall. (audience laughs) That’s what they do. – Let’s have it come through the middle, right down the middle. – Oh, oh (chomp) I couldn’t resist. (laughter) – So but you can see
that those movements are very, very, very small. Like again, lots of
puppeteers who’s thought.. (Podling choking) – What’s wrong with you? (Podling vomits) (laughter) – Come on. – Who is disgusting? – Look at all these
people are watching us, we got to be professional. – I very sorry. – There’s a thing of people
put puppets on and go (mumbles) – Ah, that’s great. – Yeah, right? Thanks. (audience laughs) – But it’s actually, it’s very small. Even sometimes Podlings are small. Gelfling are very very small
as we were saying a minute ago, in their movements. – You couldn’t do any
of this with a Gelfling, you would not be laughing. – I would be nervous or weird. – [Warrick] You’d leave, I think. (laughter) – [Dave] So do you want
to go to walks now? – [Warrick] Yeah. – [Dave] So we’re going
to talk about the walks. This is a Gelfling walk on a Podling. – I’m going to see if this
works, because this is… – [Dave] I don’t think it
will, but it will be fun. We can fail together. – It looks like I’m wearing a nappy. – [Dave] That’s Rian’s walk – [Warrick] I don’t know if that works. – [Dave] That is Rian’s
walk, but it looks weird in a Podling. – [Warrick] That’s kind of what
he does, and when he does it it looks like the gravity is really there. – [Dave] Yeah, it’s just
’cause they’re slightly taller. – Which way’s the exit? (laughter) – So, but then here is
a standard muppet walk. It’s so important to think
about the puppets feet on the floor. – To give us life. – You know, well let’s just
walk through both together. (Podling wife hums) (audience laughs) – I’m sorry. I’m serious, come on do it again. – No it’s fine, it’s fine. But like, we’ve all
decided where the floor is, so if someone’s gonna come in
after you they’re already– – Oh yeah, so let’s do it badly. – Oh, you want to do it badly? – Yeah. – Oh, so I do? – You’re walking properly. – Okay, I’m walking properly. So I’m here, that’s where
I’ve decided the floor is. Next character, what’s going on with her? (laughter) What are you doing? – Sorry, I was on my knees. – So again, that’s where we’re
talking about buffalo shoes and apple boxes bringing
everyone up to the same floor. – And that is kind of the
reason why you need the best puppeteers and you
need people who are really dedicated to making the craft the best. Because you can’t afford
to be starting a scene and having people do that,
and entering down here. – [Dave] No. What about waddle? Do you have a waddle thing? – Oh yeah, this is what I like to do. To show off. This impresses some people, not everybody. (audience laughs, whistles) – Oh yes, that’s right. – And sometimes you’ll do your
hands on your hips like that. – Oh yeah, go ahead. – Sometimes we do one hand
each, but very often you have like me here, I’m doing both hands. – We’re gonna be sassy now. – Well we think, we
haven’t rehearsed this. – It’s Friday night,
we’re gonna get sassy. (laughter) – Like we rehearsed it. Okay, lets go. (audience laughs, cheers) – Eh, baby. (audience laughs loudly) (applause) – [Dave] The sassy walk,
they like the sassy walk.

100 thoughts on “The Dark Crystal Puppeteers Chat About How They Bring Puppets To Life | Netflix

  1. i will say, GOOD JOB you did a rly good production with this method. i think we should have more of these things but well. glad we still got this

  2. This video really made me appreciate more the hard work the puppeteers The Dark Crystal series, they literally put their blood sweat and tears into their performances! I just want to say thank you to all the puppeteers who worked on the series and gave us this beautiful show and these expressive characters, you can really feel the heart they put into their work

  3. This was hands down my favourite Making-Of of Dark Crystal. Those puppet masters are really fascinating to watch

  4. How tall are the skeksis in comparison to the gelflings? I always pictured the gelflings as 3-4 feet tall. But if the Skeksis are 7 feet, they’d barely fit into the frame. They’re way smaller but not that small.

  5. Such a fantastic show! More than the puppetry, it was the INCREDIBLY GOOD story that really had me hooked from E1 !! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make season 2 .

  6. I sometimes forget that they are puppets. they look like real creatures from
    a distant planet. I love Podlings!! they are so freaking adorable!!

  7. Fantastic and wonderful : "The Dark Crystal – Age Of Resistance" was so brilliant…hope for a second season. PERFECT !

  8. I have worked as a puppeteer for well over a decade and have taught courses on the subject. After watching this I just have to say-
    This was a very good primer. It covers a lot of really useful performance technique. It's Well done, engaging, and fun to watch. Great work!
    Thank you

  9. This is fascinating. This art should be much explored and it's dying.. it's sad, they are sooo good. Thank you for releasing this. AoR season 2!! ^^

  10. I would totally watch a podling only mini series. It'd be fun to watch their goofy antics and see what kind of trouble they could stir up.

  11. Of all the Muppet insider videos I've watched over the years, no-one has stopped to ask the question that's always foremost in my mind: "What's the budget for deodorant on set?" =]

  12. Its funny how the skeksis are tall as puppets because someone has to be inside of them to move them, but skeksis are actually 4"5 in canon.

  13. if anyone gets the opportunity to attend Dragon*Con in Atlanta, there is a Puppetry Track that invites puppeteers from all walks of life to hold seminars. they talk about the industry, demonstrate tips/instructions on puppetry in front of camera (with audience participation), and show how to build a basic puppet of your own. really cool stuff.

  14. I'm sat here thinking that podling sounds like Otis the Aardvark, a quick google search reveals Dave Chapman did indeed puppeteer Otis :D.

  15. This isn't puppetry… this is FREAKING LEGENDARY !!!
    Did they really "kinda improvised" all that !???
    I'm mindblown, jawdropped, astonished!!!
    So much magic in those few minutes !!!

  16. Can we like get a video pod cast series with these two Podlings with a camera on the podlings and one on you two?

  17. My arm gets tired changing a lightbulb. I couldn't imagine having to hold up a puppet for the amount of time they do.

  18. I love this. I love Dark Crystal since a child when a prequel was announced I reacted as a purist, cautious afraid to be excited, but they were faithful to the original project. I am glad

  19. I just love how these puppeteers just naturally slip into character. And even when they're talking to the audience and explaining something, as long as the Podling is 'up' it's being animated, whether it's 'walking' along, moving the head or just random motions.

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