Behind Ghost in the Shell Robot Geishas

New ZealandRobotics

Adam Savage goes behind-the-scenes of Ghost in the Shell, where he saw the impressive practical effects used in the film. Savage visited the Weta Workshop in Wellington, New Zealand to see the animatronics used for the film. He was given a grand tour of the audio-animatronic geisha masks used for the live-action film.

Behind-the-scenes of Ghost in the Shell

A sci-fi futuristic film is bound to have some visual effects. Over the years, TV shows and films started to steer away from animatronics and practical effects. Ghost in the Shell is a visually-rich film filled with cyborgs and futuristic sets. Most movies would have relied on digital effects and green screen to bring the script into life. Savage discovered that the film chose to adapt the practical effects and CGI into the film.

In Savage’s recent visit to Weta Workshop, he discovered that the film used animatronics to bring some of its most iconic characters to life. Savage posted his trip on his Youtube channel called Tested. He got up close with the film’s practical effects. Weta Workshop’s founder Richard Taylor gave a tour and explained how the mechanics work. Taylor revealed the creation of the mechanical geisha masks as well as the animatronic puppets. Taylor’s team used new design technologies in order to make the props look realistic.

A team of over 120 people worked on the mechanical props for the film. They sculpted the geishas from the likeness of Asian actress Rila Fukushima. In addition, Taylor showed how they intricately styled the inner portions of the geisha robots like a clockwork with mechanical wheels moving inside. Moreover, the animatronics had artisan face covering which is an impressive blend of art into history and technology.

Weta Workshop is known for their outstanding work in creating practical effects

Weta Workshop became famous for its work on the Lord of the Rings franchise. Taylor also revealed how they created had some hard time fitting the masks into the actors due to the different face features of some European actors with the Asian-fitted mask. Weta made sure that the masks are easy to remove so that the actors will not be stuck inside the mask. Additionally, there is a cooling mechanism inside the masks so that the actors will have the opportunity to cool down while inside it.

The robot geishas play a key part in pushing Scarlett Johansson’s character story line. The geishas looked like life-size porcelain dolls. The only difference is the fact that the combination of modern electronics and traditional clockwork mechanisms brought the “dolls” to life. The behind-the-scenes visit showed how much Weta paid attention to the smallest detail. They made sure to keep the aesthetics of the film without sacrificing functionality.

Sources: Nerdist, i09

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