Behind the Scenes: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990 and 2014)

New Turtles (USA Today) copy

With nearly 25 years separating their releases, the 1990 film version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and its 2014 Michael Bay-produced reboot provide a glimpse into the changing methods of visual effects.

The newest Turtles are computer generated, with the movements and facial expressions of actors in motion capture suits digitally translated into six-foot-tall pizza eating reptiles. The 1990 Turtles – created by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop – required two people to operate them: an actor/stuntman inside a foam latex turtle suit and an effects technician to remotely control the animatronic head. To make the turtles’ mouths’ move, headgear with infrared sensors were used to sync the turtles’ gum-flapping with the operators’ mouth movements.

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