Karel Zeman was born on November 3 in Ostrom?? in 1910 when World War I began. His father died, and to keep the business going, his mother remarried. In childhood, his favorite pastime was reading Jules Verne and enjoying of play with Puppet Theater.
His teachers suggested his mother send him to art school, because apart from writing well, he proved he could illustrate and do drawings. His mother was under the influence of his stepfather, and he wanted him to become a businessman. So the husband insisted he go to business school. It helps him in future calculate all the budgets and actually do it all himself.
In the 1920s, Karel Zeman thought to France, where he works in advertising and study marketing design at a private school. And work at an advertising studio in Marseilles until 1936. Into Prier studio, his get a job. Here Karel Zeman for the first time shoots the first advertisement movie for soup.
In 1930, he returns to the cavalry service and start traveling around the globe. After visiting such countries as Egypt, Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey, Morocco and he came back to Bohemia. There, in Kolin, he worked. For a time as a car salesman, that’s why he was also good with motors. He could fix up any car by hand, which proved perfect later when working with cameras. He could put a double film strip camera. So he always got something from his jobs that helped him make films until he finally got the job in Brno.
In 1943, Zeman accepted the job at Zl?n's animation studio as an animator assistant and in 1945 he became the director of the stop-motion animation production group. He made his first short film, V?no?n? sen ("A Christmas Dream"). It was the short film combined puppets with live-action footage. With this film, Zeman makes a beginning for a new age of the technologies in the cinematography and genres.
1945 The Christmas Dream 1946 The Hamster, Horseshoe for Luck1947 Mr. Prokouk
Then Zeman continues to work on solo projects as puppet cartoon Mr. Prokouk, Inspiration, and Kr?l L?vra that in 1950 won a National Award.
VFX review on Film Adventurer Karel Zeman
In our age of CG and green screen effects really difficult to imagine that the same results could be obtained by manipulation of our reality in real life. Our time should be thankful for him for his invention. The entire industry was born only because one man makes a first step in the past on this path. But Karel Zeman breaks our reality onto multiple layers and builds it again. And now we called this technique is a compositing and prefers use Nuke, After effects and Digital Fusion for making same things.
Karel was a pioneer in visuals of course after George Melies and will be always the first who bring to the screen first combined puppet animation with real action footage in "A Christmas Dream".
Now we prefer to use CG characters instead puppets. It’s a really amazing feels when saw the same principle in past films. It’s like a traveling into the future and back to the past.
Karel Zeman was a not only genius inventor and director, but he was a great artist. Just remember films Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) and Toy story (1995) and then watch A Christmas Dream of Karel Zeman (1945).
And you will understand that entire industry based on the magnificent fundament of the Karel Zeman inventions and approaches.
If you studies, fan or even professional in the vfx industry just watch this documentary and you will never forget this inspirational feeling and find something special for itself.