Chaplin in 3D

Announcement of the Chaplin series being made in Mumbai

DQE, an India-based company which describes its activities as “Animation, Gaming, Live action production and global distribution” has announced its intention to produce a series of 3D animated short films for television, in collaboration with French production companies Method Animation and MK2. The subject of the 104 six-minute episodes will be Charlie Chaplin. The press release fascinatingly describes the character they will create as being Chaplin’s “Animated Avatar”, and promises that the films will preserve “the sense of humour and the emotional values present in all of Charlie Chaplin’s 70 films, all the while bringing out the quirky, burlesque and comic tone of the character he created”. The films will be ‘silent’ themselves, and though they won’t follow any of the story-lines of Chaplin’s own films, they will use gags from them, while putting Chaplin in modern situations, which sounds intriguing. Variety reports on seeing a 45-second clip in which an animated Chaplin performs “one of his trademark pratfalls” against a New York City backdrop, and shows him using a mobile phone which is shaped like an old-fashioned phone. The press release stresses this intention to combine past with present:

With a global production budget of approximately Euro 8 million, the first series will be developed in colour creating a timeless atmosphere and a unique look, blending early 20th century with present time, allowing for younger generations to identify with the Charlie Chaplin character. In keeping with the spirit of Chaplin, the short episodes will be presented without dialogue, giving enough space for the full scope of the famous character’s talents in pantomime. Completing the picture, putting particular emphasis on the choice of music and the sound design, will add to the laughter and emotion of the adventures of the legendary tramp.

The really intriguing element here is the 3D. The press releases promises that “the entire series will be produced in stereoscopic 3D bringing forth a fully immersed visual and emotional experience”. 3D television is gloing to be the next big media revolution (at least, that’s what the industry is baking on) and there is going to be a need for ready-to-use programming to help fill world schedules. The series will be developed for mobile, television, home video and internet platforms, naturally.

So this may be a smart move by DQE and partners (DQE has already found success with the 3D animated series Iron Man: Armored Adventures), producing a language-free content package which will have appeal across the world, though whether “21st century kids and the[ir] families” will identify with – or even recognise – Charlie Chaplin is something that remains to be seen.