Directed by John Roberts
Visual Effects Producer Michael "Tony" Meagher
VFX Director of Photography (Bluescreen) Bill Neil

Visual Effects Produced by:

VFX Supervisor: Dennis Michelson
CFC Full Credits

VFX Supervisor: John Carey
SBS Full Credits

VFX Supervisor: Van Ling
BFTR Full Credits

VFX Supervisor: Thad Beier
Hammerhead Full Credits

VFX Supervisor: Mat Beck
LM/PE Full Credits


Animatronic Birds by STAN WINSTON STUDIO

Motion Control by GENERAL LIFT
Supervisor: Joe Lewis

Review by Aladino V. Debert
Contributing Writer

In it's fourth outing, DreamWorks has teamed with director John Roberts to create PAULIE, a simple yet highly entertaining family movie. The story revolves mostly around Paulie, our avian talking hero, remembering his past adventures and misfortunes.

As is currently the norm in the special effects industry, a variety of houses provided shots for the movie, including Computer Film Company, Santa Barbara Studios and Banned From The Ranch (among others), with animatronics provided by Stan Winston Studio.

The majority of the almost 300 effect shots involve, naturally, making the parrot talk. This was accomplished in a variety of ways, the most common being composites of real life parrots with either a 3D computer generated beak composited over the real beak, or with 2D manipulation of the plate to make it appear as if the beak is moving with the dialogue. These shots are exceptionally clean and the tracking of the CG

"The audience is spared an often-used cliche; the excessive facial animation of animals with humanlike expressions."

beaks is perfect. The integration of these two different methods was nicely achieved, with scenes frequently cuttingb between CG beaks and 2D manipulation.

Worth mentioning is the fact that many of the effects shots take part with the parrot inside cages, and in all those shots the tracking of the CG and the 2D effect are seamless, considering what it takes to comp elements through moving patterns. Other sequences involved compositing of the bird flying over different backgrounds. Some shots involved a real parrot others utilized a CG version--these are the only instances with a full CG parrot. These sequences are somewhat off, with some inconsistencies with motion blur and the composited nature of the shots being a little too evident.

A major disappointment were PAULIE's animatronics. They were used in mostly closeup shots with Paulie interacting with actors, and they look like cardboard. The puppets will not fool anyone, especially with the large amount of actual parrot footage used in the film.

Finally, in what is probably the most important aspect on the effects, the audience is spared an often-used cliche; the excessive facial animation of animals with humanlike expressions. Over emphasizing mouth and facial movements to perfectly mimic human speech patterns would have resulted in disatrously silly results. The parrot in this movie is just that--a parrot. He happens to talk however, and the special effects accomplish that in a very clean and transparent way. Not flashy, but effective.

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