While Weta Digital has had extensive experience tackling primates before for projects such as the Planet of the Apes films, Rampage, and The Umbrella Academy, the task at hand, namely, to realize Marcus the chimp in zero gravity, was something new. Ultimately, the solution was incredibly simple.
It involved a chair with wheels.
“Craig Young, our lead animator who has done a lot of motion capture acting, and I were in this room one day,” shares Weta Digital animation supervisor Aidan Martin. “They had this little roll-y chair that didn’t have a back on it. Craig sat on that and I pushed him around, and he would be acting it out as if he was in zero-G. We were like, ‘Hmm, that might just work.’”
“We ended up taking that chair down to the motion capture stage here and got Craig set up in the suit. I would drag him around the stage so that he could just be ‘floating’. That’s pretty much exactly what we used. There were points where the motion edit team would take the route of the character and add more float to it. But that chair was our very high-tech anti-gravity device.”
Read the full article in Befores & Afters.