The Los Angeles Times talked to Steven Spielberg about directing The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn, which was shot just like James Cameron’s Avatar. The big screen adaptation of the popular Hergé creation stars Jamie Bell, Daniel Craig, Andy Serkis, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Gad Elmaleh, Toby Jones and Mackenzie Crook.
Spielberg used the performance capture technique out of “my respect for the art of Hergé and wanting to get as close to that art as I could,” he said.
“Hergé wrote about fictional people in a real world, not in a fantasy universe,” Spielberg added. “It was the real universe he was working with, and he used National Geographic to research his adventure stories. It just seemed that live action would be too stylized for an audience to relate to. You’d have to have costumes that are a little outrageous when you see actors wearing them. The costumes seem to fit better when the medium chosen is a digital one.”
On the motion capture stage (called the volume), Spielberg could watch what the actors were doing — in real time — on a screen that showed them in the film universe.
“When Captain Haddock runs across the volume, the cameras capture all the information of his physical and emotional moves,” the director said. “So as Andy Serkis runs across the stage, there’s Captain Haddock on the monitor, in full anime, running along the streets of Belgium. Not only are the actors represented in real time, they enter into a three-dimensional world.”