Film and TV Studio in London - Broadley Studio
Film and TV Studio in London - Broadley Studio
Film and TV Studio in London - Broadley Studio

Filming with Puppets: What you need to know!

May 20, 2024 by Naz Foroodian

In the dynamic landscape of content creation, filming with puppets transcends traditional boundaries.

Contrary to popular belief, puppets aren't confined to children's TV programmes; they serve as versatile tools for corporate messaging, musical narratives, and cinematic endeavors.

With their unique ability to embody diverse characters and ideas, puppets offer a fresh dimension to storytelling across various platforms.

At Broadley Studio, we recognise the inherent potential of puppetry as a catalyst for creativity and engagement. Embracing the ethos of innovation and inclusivity, we champion puppetry as a means to amplify voices and captivate audiences.

By seamlessly blending cutting-edge technology with timeless artistry, we empower creators to craft compelling narratives that resonate on a global scale.

filming with puppets on green screen

Puppetry = Communication

Puppetry, an ancient form of communication, often overlooked in modern contexts, which possesses a transformative quality when wielded with skill and imagination. By transcending the boundaries between the animate and the inanimate, puppetry captivates the viewer's imagination, evoking a sense of realism and authenticity.

In today's competitive landscape, where authenticity is paramount, puppetry offers a unique opportunity to infuse brand narratives with genuine emotion and personality.

In this Broadley Studio production guide, we explore the myriad ways in which filming with puppets can enhance your creative projects, from evocative marionettes in short films to intricately designed branded characters. Central to this process is the selection of a talented puppeteer who possesses the ability to breathe life into the puppet, evoking nostalgia akin to beloved childhood companions.

Filming with Puppets: From Sooty to Juarssic Park

Puppets can come in many different forms.

From simple hand-made sock puppets, reminiscent of the beloved characters from old school shows like 'Sooty, Sweep and Sue', to digitally controlled and detailed animatronics seen in Steven Spielberg's 'Jurassic Park'. While there may be huge differences in cost, the theory remains the same.

However, puppets and these types of animation are becoming increasingly rare due to the effect of cheaper digital technology, CGI, and demanding shooting schedules which decrease the need for real-life puppetry.

People tend to steer clear of the logistics and hassle that can come with puppeteering, such as overworking the puppeteers, dealing with the heat in the costumes, and maintaining the quality of the puppet's materials. CGI eradicates the need for anything to be physically present on set, as a series of VFX and CGI artists can edit desired creatures in post-production without needing to visit a film or studio set.

Unfortunately, the cost often outweighs the benefits of puppetry in most cases, but as seen in the man behind Gollum's performance, the future most definitely still lies with a central character pulling all of those humanistic strings.

Leveraging Psychology

The art of puppetry extends beyond mere entertainment; it delves into the intricacies of human psychology, leveraging neurological nuances to create a profound sense of connection. By tapping into the viewer's subconscious mechanisms, puppetry transcends linguistic barriers, making it an ideal medium for conveying complex ideas and values.

As technology continues to evolve, the landscape of puppetry undergoes transformation, blending traditional craftsmanship with digital innovation. While the allure of CGI and digital effects may seem enticing, the enduring charm of puppetry lies in its tangible authenticity and visceral impact.

Imaginative Storytelling

Puppets, in all their forms, serve as conduits for storytelling, embodying the essence of a company's ethos and values. Whether handcrafted sock puppets reminiscent of cherished childhood memories or sophisticated animatronics reminiscent of cinematic spectacles, each puppet embodies a unique narrative, inviting audiences to embark on a journey of discovery.

While logistical challenges may arise in the realm of puppetry, from costume maintenance to puppeteer fatigue, the rewards far outweigh the obstacles. The enduring legacy of puppetry lies in its ability to evoke wonder, inspire imagination, and forge meaningful connections with audiences worldwide.

Filming with Puppets: In Conclusion

Puppetry represents more than mere entertainment; it is a powerful tool for storytelling, brand communication and cultural expression.

As we embark on this journey of creative exploration, let us embrace the transformative potential of puppetry to redefine the boundaries of storytelling and leave a lasting impression on the world stage.

FAQ: What Do I Need to Know When Filming with Puppets?

Filming with puppets is not as simple as it sounds, but they can add a real creative spark to any script, film, commercial or music video.

Remember, when filming with puppets, the key elements are:

1.  They aren't just a prop in children's TV programmes
2.  See them as a creative tool that can be used in any shoot or message
3.  Can puppets bring your story to life?
4.  Will you blend puppetry with digital techniques to create something new and inspiring?
5.  Choose the kind of puppet you want - something simple or full-on animatronics?
6.  Key to the success of any puppet use is the puppeteer - so choose wisely
7.  Don't overwork your puppeteer(s) and give them regular breaks especially if they are wearing a costume
8.  Plan for costume issues, puppet maintenance...

Finally, prepare a list of eveything you will need to have in place before you start production.

Broadley Studio - THE Film & TV Production Experts

Broadley are experts in studio and virtual production.

For over 20 years, we've been helping countless productions like yours to be the best they can possibly be. With our wealth of experience, we have encountered every production problem and challenge you can think of - and some you can't - including filming with puppets. So we know how to make any production run smoothly.

To get a flavour of what we can do for you, check out our latest showcase, case studies and studio specs. Or take a virtual tour of our studios.

To find out more about our studios and production services and how we can help you and your shoot, please call us on +442077255858 or email us at [email protected].

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