September 5, 2008

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Mock Objects in the Movies

Mock objects, it seems, have been in use in the film industry for decades. Actors who have done any considerable amount of blue or green screen acting - and especially actors who have performed in scenes with virtual, digital characters, will be familiar with the idea.

Sarah Bolger, who appeared in The Spiderwick Chronicles, describes in an interview the experience of "acting with tennis balls" that are there to allow the real actor to do a more realistic performance, in much the same way that mocks allow the objects we're testing to perform and interact with virtual collaborators.

Question: For green-screen work, I've heard some people say they prefer it, I've heard some people say it's harder. What do you think about green-screen work? Is it tougher or easier than conventional acting?

Sarah Bolger: I think there is more involvement in it because you have to be totally aware of what's happening. You have to absolutely know what this character does, it's movements and it's height. That's the most important thing, eye-line. You have to really look like you're reacting to this character who is, just on set, a tennis ball (Laughs). It's a little weird at the end of the day when you're talking to a tennis ball for five months.

Posted 12 years, 9 months ago on September 5, 2008