He’s been around for more than 20 years, appeared on TV screens in over 170 countries, won two BAFTAs, gained over five million Facebook fans and now – in the lunar Year of the Sheep – Shaun the Sheep has finally found his way to the big screen.
He’s come a long way from his debut alongside Wallace & Gromit in A Close Shave.
Shaun The Sheep The Movie sees him heading off to the big city with Bitzer and the flock. You see Shaun’s been a bit naughty and it’s his fault the farmer’s been taken away. There’s nothing for it but to launch an important rescue mission.
That’s all wool and good, but what do we really know about our fleecy hero’s big adventure? Here are some fascinating facts from behind the scenes of the new movie…
Shaun had quite a few body doubles who were more than wooling to stand in for him
There are 21 Shaun puppets in total and it takes a week and a half to make just ONE of them from scratch.
The rest of the flock required a lot of hard work too, with over 80m of fleece fabric being used to create all 116 of them.
The fleece had to be stiffened with a spray of diluted PVA glue, to stop it ‘boiling’ under the studio lights and moving around when the animator touched it.
The puppets needed constant maintenance and it took 45 minutes to re-fleece one sheep.
It took sheer hard animation work to bring the flock to life
A team of 17 animators worked on the Shaun the Sheep Movie, producing an average of 2 seconds of animation per day.
58 cameras shot across 33 units in order to bring 79,237 storyboards worth of work to life.
The film is comprised of 25 sequences, which range in length from one minute to five-and-a-half minutes each.
549,777 frames were taken – that’s 5.5 billion (British billion, not American billion), or 5,586,174,141,600 pixels.
Each animator shot, on average, about two footage of seconds a day.
If there had only been one animator working on the movie at that rate, it would have taken 9 years (or 8.936 years to be precise) to make.
The editing crew were kept busy too
All that footage had to be cut down to bring the animation to the big screen. It’s no wonder they got through eight catering-size tubs of kids sweets during production now, is it?
Baahlieve it or not…
There are 1589 baahs in the movie – That’s an average of 13.69 baahs per sheep.
For the first time ever we meet the characters as babies and The Farmer as a young man.
A Blue Peter badge (from the iconic BBC children’s show) appears on Shaun’s satchel. This has appeared in other Aardman productions including The Pirates.
Timmy is disguised as a back pack when the flock are in disguise in the city.
Nick Park (the creator of Wallace & Gromit and Shaun himself) was cast in a cameo role as the bird watcher.