It has been an old dream of mine to write an illustrated BTS article about one of my favourite size-shift movies: Honey, I Shrunk The Kids (1989). Although I did post a couple of cool shots here a while ago (of oversized props), I still wanted to show some of the stop motion work – the only problem was that it had been impossible to find any behind the scenes photos of the animation process.
Until now. Thanks to my friend Paul Gentry, who posted a few cool and previously unseen shots yesterday (commemorating the late David Allen) you can now enjoy these beautiful images of mainly the ant sequence. So let’s have a look at these treats right from The Paul Gentry Archives!
In the first picture there’s Laine Liska animating the stopmo versions of the kids (click to enlarge and spot the puppet) climbing the scaled up grass stalk in the backyard of the house:
This is Michael Muscal, the VFX Coordinator on Honey… pretending he’s actually doing something there. (Mike’s bombastic voice would ring through the complex encouraging everyone to work at a speedy pace!)
Here you can see Paul himself in the background totally blowing the scale of this thing. Pictures like this with a guy standing in the middle of a miniature, giving away the effect – they are always fun!
The late David Allen (who would have been 68 yesterday and will be sadly missed) with one of the giant cookies and where we see the first ant looking down at the kids:
David had a poor man’s video assist going through a split glass over the camera lens:
David setting up the kids riding the ant shot via forced perspective – very tricky. VistaVision rear projection was used:
David on a another ant shot against blue screen (still using surface gauges and no video playback assist – the days when stopmo animators were largely flying blind.) - There were a couple of forms of the ant including a live action version but most of the time it was stop motion puppets (including of course Phil Tippett’s terrific scorpion sequence).
The longer lens on the camera matched the scale of rear projected kids and foreground stopmo ant. The kid’s foreground leg on the side of the ant was reproduced in miniature of course:
The last shot shows the view from the (still) camera with foreground grass forest. The foliage was constructed in Dave Sosalla’s model shop with Brad Plows and Jurgen Heinman (who later went to work for Rick Baker):
As I always say, being part of a team creating magic like this with their painstaking job can be wonderful. As great as these photos, so thank you again, Paul!