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Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Andy Serkis and WETA do the performance capture in Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Andy Serkis and WETA do the performance capture in Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Joe Letteri: It would have been impossible for us to make this movie a few years ago. Adding what they learned on King Kong to Avatar, WETA brought their technology to another level for this movie to make our apes look real. This is the first live-action film that has its main character as a thoughtful, feeling, self-aware animal. This is the apes’ story. Andy Serkis is unlike any other actor. He can inhabit characters that don't speak and emote in ways that you don't really see often in movies.

The basic usage of performance capture is to see on the screen, you'll see the apes. But they're apes infused with the heart and soul of an actor's performance. You can be blinded by the technology. You can found yourself way down by it. And I think Andy brings a spirit and an understanding and a simplicity. He's able to push the technology to one side and think about it in terms of a real live-action performance.

This film is not possible without the work of Andy Serkis. Everybody's seen chimpanzees. Everybody's seen orangutangs. We know how they're supposed to look. So I think the bar in terms of needing to make photo-realistic characters is really high.

So we had to go to the best people in the business to do visual effects in the movie. WETA had the experience from Kong, Avatar and Lord of the Rings. One of the improvements in motion capture since Avatar really have to do with detail and the type of imaginary that they're getting out of the cameras gives us more facial information. And that subtlety is what's gonna make the apes work. Which is gonna be very different. You don't get a chance to look into apes' eyes like you see in this movie.

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