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We Went Behind The Gates Of The Jim Henson Company And It Was Freaking Awesome

Don't worry, we tried to act cool.

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On the corner of La Brea and Sunset you will find The Jim Henson Company, which rests on one of the most historic plots of land in all of Los Angeles.

The Jim Henson Company

The location was originally home to Charlie Chaplin Studios, where Chaplin filmed his iconic films like The Kid, The Gold Rush, and City Lights. As a tip of the cap to this history, the Kermit the Frog atop the entrance is dressed like Chaplin's famous "Little Tramp" character.

Later, the location was the home of A&M Records, where legendary artists such as The Rolling Stones, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Carole King, and all four Beatles recorded.

Macey Foronda / Buzzfeed

The door that originally lead into A&M Records can now be found in the lobby.

Since 1999 the historic spot has been home to The Jim Henson Company, and BuzzFeed was recently invited behind the gates to take a look around and see firsthand how they create their new animated series on PBS Kids, Splash and Bubbles.

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The really cool stuff, though, was happening on the Jim Henson Soundstage. There they were using groundbreaking digital puppetry technology to make Splash and Bubbles.

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This technology allows puppeteers, actors, and voice artists to have their performances captured and turned into digital animation in real time.

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This process is not only quicker and cheaper than traditional animation, but allows the director to direct the performers as a live-action director would — leading to animation that is human and realistic.

"One of his last projects was a 3D movie for the Disney parks called Muppet Vision 3D, and it had a kind of crudely modeled animated character named Waldo who was controlled using puppetry," Henson told BuzzFeed.

"So when my father was alive they actually did succeed in moving an animated character using a puppetry rig with an animated interface."

"He imagined we were going to go all that way with digital puppetry," Henson continued. "He had the original vision of it, and was incredibly fascinated by computer animation, all things tech, actually."

Macey Foronda / Buzzfeed

"Anybody who says that Jim Henson wouldn’t like the high-tech version of puppetry didn’t know him because he was incredibly high tech."

Splash and Bubbles follows the antics of the two title characters and their BFFs, Dunk and Ripple, as they go on epic adventures under the sea.

Macey Foronda / Buzzfeed

"The world under the sea has been barely explored — just 5% in reality — so it’s this magical world," said series creator John Tartaglia. "I think, for a kid, the idea that you could take a current in the middle of the ocean and end up somewhere new — meeting new friends — is really exciting because it’s a real place."

Henson and Tartaglia also hope the show inspires kids to care about the ocean and the creatures in it.

Macey Foronda / Buzzfeed

"It’s hard to teach kids conservation when they’re so young, but I kind of look at it as conservation readiness," Henson said. "Laying the foundation for caring, or empathy, and going out of your way to do something for the ocean when you get older."

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