If you’ve all watched movies like Star Wars, Harry Potter, Clash of Titans, to name a few, then you’ve all seen animatronics – even if you did not recognise it!
Animatronics are simply put – special effects come to life! Indeed they bring together 2 of the unlikeliest fields – engineering and arts – in the most intriguing union! That is what our last Science Cafe Event was all about – fun, interesting, never-thought-about things on movies that we all watch, which are then scrutinised under a magnifying glass like a detective!
At this session, John Nolan narrated his adventure into Animatronics – how it all started, what pulled him in, and what kept him going in this fascinating field. It started out with a love of dismantling and de-constructing all kinds of toys, and figuring out how they work and come to life. He started in this field with a BA in Make-Up and Hair for the Performing Arts. He then went on to work as an animatronics assistant in the Harry Potter movies. He then went on to work in other movies such as Where The Wild Things Are, War Horse, Hellboy 2, Brothers Grimm, Robin Hood, and, Clash of the Titans. He has now started his own Creature FX studio where a team of designers build animatronics and creatures for all visual media. He is currently writing and directing a short musical named MEAT where dead animals in a butcher shop come alive, using full animatronic puppets for their performance.
The talk was down-to-earth, peppered all the way with videos of animatronics that have been created and that he himself designed. He even brought some with him, demonstrated how they worked, and let the audience control and hold them to get a feel of what they’re like in reality!
Here are some images from the event!