If you like Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare before Christmas, Sweenie Todd & Frankenweenie, you must have loved Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. It is a classic Tim Burton movie in his characteristic Goth-fantasy style. Although his star performer, Johnny Depp is missing from the cast, his distinct style is evident throughout the film. We take you through the VFX breakdown of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
Based on American author, Ransom Riggs’ debut novel of the same name, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is about a boy who, after a family tragedy, discovers a part of earth he never knew existed. He picks up on clues that lead him to an abandoned orphanage on a Welsh island. All the children living in that orphanage have unique abilities.
The right place
The movie was filmed in the United Kingdom, Belgium, and Florida, USA. Burton wanted the orphanage to look like a home rather than an institute. It was after a long search that they settled on Torenhof Castle in Brasschaat, north of Antwerp, Belgium, as the primary location.
Visually effective skeletons
Naturally, following Burton’s theme meant visual effects at its best. His use of stop-motion animation to make monsters appear real has been appreciated by all. Frazer Churchill was the production vfx supervisor. Under his supervision, popular visual effects studio, Double Negative was responsible for creating the look of the skeletons. From the torn garments to the discoloration of the bones, a great deal of research was conducted to create the skeletons submerged in water for a long period.
Stunt performers were made to wear grey track suits as stand-ins for the cg skeletons created later through CGI.
These actions of performers in grey suits were used for video references and motion capture shots were later done at the Double Negative studio.
Moving Picture Company (MPC) provided their expertise to create all the ‘peculiar’ children. They created more than 200 shots, including the final hollowgasts confrontation scene. For example, Claire has a mouth with large teeth at the back of her head. A CG animated mouth was created over the practical head created for reference by the MPC team. The scene at the dinner table shows the young girl lift her hair feeding turkey to the mouth. So, MPC created the teeth, mouth, bits of turkey flying out of it.
In another scene, Fiona throws seeds on the ground, and the antagonist is caught in a mass of vine traps with leaves & flowers. These plants were built & animated later at the studio using special effects tools. Also, a long tail was added later through CG for Miss Edwards.
These are just a few examples of the magic of special effects that created Tim Burton’s magical movie.
Here’s a special behind the scenes video.