Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Disney's Multiplane Camera and other stories

Sorry again for the lack of posts lately. I know I'm really disappointing the 3 people who read this on a regular basis.

Once life returns to a more normal schedule, I'll have lots of new sketches to post, but in the meantime, I thought I'd share this delightful and informative archive Disney video.

I love this little video for a lot of reasons, but mainly because it seems like Disney, and those around him, put as much thought and effort into the making of his how-to, behind-the-scenes videos as he did into his actual movies. This film, which could easily have ended up very technical, has a story and a soundtrack. Even some acting (around 5:45 - I cracked up at this part). The Disney company in that time was full of master storytellers and artists. And still is - although it's obviously changed a lot!

It also strikes me how much a real work of art those old films were. Hand-drawn cels and oil-painted glass backgrounds that someone would manually wheel to the side in increments. If you dropped one of those sheets of glass while loading it up for the camera, hours of someone's hard work was gone instantly. The finished film was the result of tens of thousands of hours of creative people bent over desks, painstakingly DRAWING and painting, frame by frame. Those films were created by a small group of people and they took a long time to do it. Nowadays we have inconceivably large crews, so long that the end credits take 15 minutes or more on most animated films. They work on computers, creating intangible files on hard drives and backed up online. And animation companies produce a film every other year. "The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry."

Speaking of Disney, I wanted to point anyone interested to another incredible art blog - Deja View, by Andreas Deja, an animator who started at Disney in the 70s and was part of the Disney revival in the 80s and 90s, working on such films as The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, all the way through Lilo & Stitch. His posts are always fascinating insights and tidbits from the Disney archives - he collected and saved much of the art from the earlier days of the studio, films like Sleeping Beauty, Robin Hood, Lady and the Tramp. Here's a great sample post with rough sketches for 101 Dalmations. And another one about the challenges of tough poses that animation presents.

Post-Script: Disney's latest animated film, Wreck-It Ralph, is in theaters now and it's GREAT. Do not miss. Lots of cool easter eggs for those of us who love videogames - but the real power of the film is in its story and characters, which are universal even to those who have never stepped in an arcade or held a controller.

"I am bad, and that's good. I will never be good, and that's not bad. There's no one I'd rather be than me."
Post-post-script: I just found out yesterday that Linds Redding, the writer of 'A Short Lesson in Perspective,' died recently and that's why his post is gaining so much traction lately. Very sad.

1 comment:

  1. I can't believe you ended with a tidbit about a video game, check your email :) Also I watched with entire thing and then wrote down a list of movies I'm watching tomorrow: sleeping beauty, 101 dalmatians and snow white. (I know, my life is so strange) I love your posts, no matter how infrequent or daily they be! Love you!