Last month we were able to go behind-the-scenes of the new stop motion animation, Kubo and the Two Strings, with a visit to LAIKA Entertainment’s studio and warehouse full of amazing characters, props and sets. Portland-based stop-motion animation studio, LAIKA, got their start in 2005. They have brought us nothing but amazing animation since including Coraline (2009), The Boxtrolls (2014) and ParaNorman (2012).
All three of the movies mentioned were nominated for a Best Animated Feature Oscar. Earlier this year LAIKA earned a technical Oscar for their innovations in 3D printing technology. They have invented new technologies to refine their art and overcome obstacles with their old-fashioned technique stop motion to animate their films.
Stop motion is an animation technique where you physically manipulate an object so it will appear to be moving on its own. The camera is repeatedly stopped and started. If you follow us on Instagram you will notice how much we have gotten in to creating stop motion videos this past year. It takes a lot of time and hard work. Think if you want to make a car to appear it is moving with images. You take a picture, move the car a very tiny increment, take a picture and repeat the process until the car has made it the distance you want. You then take all of the images and create a video.
LAIKA is now set to release one of their most amazing accomplishments yet, Kubo and the Two Strings, an epic action-adventure set in a fantastical Japan.
Young Kubo’s (Art Parkinson) peaceful existence comes crashing down when he accidentally summons a vengeful spirit from the past. Now on the run, Kubo joins forces with Monkey (Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Matthew McConaughey) to unlock a secret legacy. Armed with a magical instrument, Kubo must battle the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes) and other gods and monsters to save his family and solve the mystery of his fallen father, the greatest samurai warrior the world has ever known.
Company CEO and former lead animator, Travis Knight, makes his directorial debut in Kubo and the Two Strings. Character designer, Shannon Tindle, actually brought the story of Kubo to LAIKA. Director, Travis Knight, immediately connected with the story.
Kubo is mainly outdoors and a travel log which is very unusual for stop-motion animation. It was a fun challenge for them to make the movie that you wouldn’t think would be done one frame at a time and bring it to viewers in a seamless way. LAIKA uses an amazing hybrid animation technique that allows them to use the old-fashioned stop motion but with computer animation.
One of the most amazing things on set was the 25-foot skeleton the team created. It is the largest stop-motion puppet of all time and had to be filmed in separate pieces. That is just one of the reasons LAIKA considers this one of their most difficult films yet. They had huge action and fantasy set-pieces like the skeleton. They also had vast natural landscapes such as beautiful ice structures and torrential seas.
I love how LAIKA is determined to create a different project each time. They do this with their storytelling and technical process. The creators really enjoy doing something different. Kubo and the Two Strings has a lot of heart. It is funny and has a lot of action. It was a bit scary for the creators in a good way for them to tackle a project that was harder for them.
Check out this incredible look at the making of Kubo and the Two Strings by Dad Does.
Kubo and the Two Strings quest begins in theaters nationwide August 19, 2016! Check out the trailer below. An adventure unlike any other…
Next week we’ll be screening Kubo and the Two Strings as well as interviewing Matthew McConaughey (gasp, I know!) and Charlize Theron (amazing, right?).
What’s your favorite part of our set visit at LAIKA? Comment below and share with us!