BusinessFeature Film

Re-Animating Live-Action Films

Night of the Living Dead

Artist Christopher Panzner is promoting a new animation technique that he has dubbed Re:Naissance, which is essentially rotoscoped key frame drawings with traditional in-betweens. He plans to use this technique to create “homages” to older live-action films. This interview with the website Eye For Film offers more details about his process. Panzner says:

“Re:Naissance can be succinctly defined as ‘the re-creation of live-action films in animation’. It’s a new spin on adaptation and the remake. For the first time ever in the 100-year history of animation, Re:Naissance is going to invert the adaptation process by taking existing live-action films and faithfully reproducing them in animation, in a totally original graphic style unique to each film. We use a process known as ‘rotomation,’ which is a combination of rotoscopy and traditional animation. Our goal is not merely to rotoscope the original film – we are creating an entirely new film while remaining faithful to the original; an homage to the source film. The end result is an original animated feature film, meaning the stars in the live-action film will be caricaturized in some form but the movements and expressions (and original dialogue) will remain true to the original actors, although the animated characters will be completely new original graphic representation.”

The first live-action feature that Panzner is adapting via his Re:Naissance method is George Romero’s cult classic Night of the Living Dead. Below is a line-test based on the French film La Traversée de Paris that gives some sense of what the finished product will look like. The animation was created by Hong Ying studio in Shanghai. Panzner has a blog that offers progress updates on the production of his first feature.