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Norman's Numbers and Nuggets

Focus Features 06.19.2012
  • ParaNorman is the first stop-motion movie to utilize a 3D Color Printer to create replacement faces for its puppets. Over 31,000 individual face parts were printed for the production.
  • The ParaNorman crew used replacement faces on their puppets to allow a wider range of expressions for each character. Many different faces were needed for each individual shot. For example, over 250 unique faces were utilized for one character to create a single shot that lasts only 27 seconds on screen.
  • 45 animators, riggers, and modelers comprise LAIKA’s Rapid Prototyping (RP) department making replacement faces, among other parts and props.
  • RP-made replacement faces require a 10-step process over 5-6 hours of cleaning and coating from when they are printed to when they are ready for their close-up.
  • On ParaNorman, 4 3D Color Printers were active for a combined total of approximately 572 days of straight print time.
  • The following amounts of materials were used in finishing these faces:
    • 8,308 pounds (3.77 metric tons!) of Printer powder
    • 226 gallons of ink
    • 1,867 disposable print heads
    • 77 gallons of superglue
    • 66,432 rare earth magnets
    • 729 sheets of sandpaper
    • 5,000 X-Acto blades
    • 2,430 cans of Crystal Clear Spray
    • 35 gallons of coating
    • 35,000 rubber gloves
  • The faces for all characters are housed in LAIKA’s face library, stored in over 1,257 archival boxes.
  • The most unique faces used in any single shot of ParaNorman is 545, spread across 7 different characters. The shot, near the end of the movie, is 42.7 seconds (1,024 frames) in length and took over a month to complete.
  • In several shots the camera is close enough to Norman's face that it fills the entire theater screen, magnifying his 1.875 inches-wide face roughly 380 times!
  • It takes at least 3-4 months to craft a new puppet from start to finish, not including design or testing time. Once a character has been created in its finished form for the first time, the multiples of that puppet can be fashioned faster. It took 60 puppet makers to create 178 individual puppets for ParaNorman’s 61 characters…
  • …including, for Norman himself, 28 individual full body puppets. Thanks to the face replacements created by the 3D Color Printer, Norman has about 8,800 faces with a range of individual pieces of brows and mouths. Being a “man of 8,800 faces” meant that he could have approximately 1.5 million possible facial expressions.
  • There are 275 spikes in Norman’s signature hair style. His hair was primarily made out of goat hair held together with hot glue, hair gel, fabric, and super glue – as well as medical adhesive, Pros-Aide make-up adhesive, thread, and wire. Once built, it was hand-finished with paint and human hair dye.
  • 120 different costumes were designed and made by hand for ParaNorman.
  • Norman has 5 costume changes in the movie: hoodie & jeans, T-shirt & jeans, pajamas, his school play Puritans costume, and baseball uniform.
  • The bottom edge of Norman’s T-shirt has 102 stitches – all handmade and measured in length and spacing – with 48 stitches around his neckline.
  • Norman’s parents, Sandra & Perry, wear 3 sets of clothing in the movie: their smart “going out” clothes, their casual home wear, and their sportswear.
  • Although she is the most style-conscious member of the Babcock family, Norman’s older sister Courtney has only 2 outfits in the movie: her pink velour track suit and her cheerleader outfit.
  • The costume department’s sewing needles are size 15 extra long beading needles, the dimension of 1 hair.
  • There were roughly 31,600 props made for ParaNorman.
  • The Town Hall Archives sequence encompassed two full sets/stages with over 20,000 miniature cast books, over 5,000 paper items (paperwork, maps, files, et al.), and over 400 hand-folded file boxes.
  • The model shop made 26 “animatable” (meaning, with moving parts) vehicles. All were actually able to roll forward and backward, and most of them also had working headlamps, windows, and taillights. The station wagon and van had working lights, hinged doors, real chrome accents, functioning suspensions, and working steering.
  • 8 different complete versions of the van were made for the shoot: 2 for exterior shots, 2 for interior shots, 2 for the rollover sequence, and 2 built at half the size of the others for long-distance road shots.
  • It took 18 carpenters, 18 model builders, 6 riggers, 12 scenic painters, 11 greens artists, and 10 set dressers to craft the movie’s nearly three dozen unique locations.
  • For the outdoor sets, 300 feet of country road were created out of recycled plywood and coated with three kinds of paint. Additionally, 2,000 individual trees were made out of shredded cardboard to create the forests seen in the movie. Laid out end to end, those trees would stretch out to be about 2 miles long.
  • The crew of 93 artists in the ParaNorman art department used over 4,000 pounds of silicone for prop and set fabrication.
  • Principal animation was photographed with Canon 5D Mark II cameras.  A total of 63 cameras were used to shoot the actual movie as well as 53 motion control systems (36 Kuper systems and 17 proprietary systems) and 21 motion control track & boom rigs.
  • 70 Fluorescent fixtures and 1,102 C-Stands for light and grip holders were used in the making of ParaNorman.
  • The total footage generated from the camera department on the movie was 20 hours, 29 minutes (which amounts to 1,770,601 frames).
  • The bathroom sequence, when Norman is contacted by the ghost of Mr. Prenderghast, took 1 year to shoot.
  • The “ghost reveal shot,” where we see Norman walking through Blithe Hollow and interacting with its ghosts, required 28 visual effects artists’ work for over 2 years.
  • The smallest animatable prop made for the movie was Norman’s mom’s perfume sprayer, which gets used in the station wagon to ward off the (zombie) Judge. Made out of brass and then chromed for a brushed stainless look, it measures 5/8” in length and 1/8” in diameter, with the pump nozzle 1/16” in diameter – and, it actually works!