How They Created ‘Ted’ for the ‘85th Annual Academy Awards’ Featurette

A duplicate of the Oscar stage was made for this innovative segment shot a month before last night's telecast.
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How They Created ‘Ted’ for the ‘85th Annual Academy Awards’ Featurette

One of the highlights of last night's 85th Annual Academy Awards broadcast was the return of Ted, voiced by Oscar host Seth MacFarlane, presenting alongside Mark Wahlberg. You may be wondering how this appearance was made possible on a live telecast, since it involved a number of CGI elements needed to bring this crass teddy bear to life. As it turns out, the bit was shot last month at CBS Studios by the CGI wizards at Tippet Studio. Take a look at the two-part segment from last night's Academy Awards show, then read the official press release for more details regarding how this memorable sketch was created.

Tippett Studio has brought Ted, the title character from Universal Pictures' blockbuster live action/CG-animated comedy, back to life for the 85th Annual Academy Awards telecast, it was announced today. Accompanied by friend and co-star Mark Wahlberg, a computer-generated Ted riffed a few jokes last night before the duo presented Oscars for Sound Mixing and Sound Editing.

Incorporating 3D character animation into a pre-recorded movie or television show is one challenge, but integrating an animated character into a live-broadcast in front of a global audience is quite another.

Behind the shenanigans of the world's favorite crass teddy bear were the same visual effects and character animation artists responsible for his creation in 2012's global comedy hit Ted. Blair Clark of Tippett Studio perfected the illusion alongside Seth MacFarlane (Oscar host, voice of Ted and director of the film), telecast director Don Mischer and the Awards broadcast team.

For the filming of the segment, a duplicate of the Academy Awards stage was constructed at CBS Studios, with lighting and cameras situated to match the Dolby Theatre set up. The feat involved planning exact camera positions so that the animation, rendered using Dell Precision workstations, would integrate seamlessly on Oscar Night with Wahlberg and the show audience. With five nominees in each category, Tippett artists created 10 different outcomes in just a four-week production schedule. As the winners were unknown before the envelope was opened, Mischer and his team sat at the ready to push the button for the correct winner during the live broadcast. Here's what Blair Clark had to say in a statement.

"It's always enjoyable working with Ted, and having him present at the Oscars was an exciting challenge. As well, working with Seth and Don was great. Their trust and support made a technically ambitious presentation with a tight deadline run smoothly."

Tippett Studio continues to bring its stellar character animation and VFX work to feature films, and over the past year, the studio has expanded its work to include commercials, special digital-marketing campaigns and broadcast television. With the addition of Academy Award-winner Craig Barron, Tippett has added digital matte paintings and environments to its capabilities.

Ted was released June 29th, 2012.

Sources: Tippet Studio

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