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Multiplane camera used by Disney for a better zoom effect

The multiplane camera is a motion-picture camera that was used in the traditional animation process that moves a number of pieces of artwork past the camera at various speeds and at various distances from one another. This creates a sense of parallax or depth.

Different parts of the artwork layers are left transparent to allow other layers to be seen behind them. Motions are calculated and captured frame by frame, resulting in the illusion of depth as multiple layers of artwork move at different speeds: the further away from the camera, the slower the speed. The multiplane effect is sometimes called the parallax process.

One variation is to have the background and foreground move in opposite directions. This creates an effect of rotation. An early example is the scene in Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs where the Evil Queen drinks her potion, and the surroundings appear to spin around her.

Disney’s invention of the multiplane camera was a groundbreaking achievement in film, enhancing the feeling of depth in traditional animation. This video showcases Walt’s explanation of how the camera works from the “Tricks of Our Trade” episode of Disneyland, which aired February 13, 1957.

Multiplane camera used by Disney for a better zoom effect

Multiplane Camera History

An early form of the multiplane camera was used by Lotte Reiniger for her animated feature The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926). Berthold Bartosch, who worked with Reiniger, used a similar setup in his film L’Idee (1932).

In 1933, Walt Disney Studios director/animator Ub Iwerks invented the first multi-plane camera that used moving layers of flat artwork in front of a horizontal camera using a horizontal camera. parts of an old Chevrolet automobile. His multiplane camera was used in several Iwerks studio Willie Whopper and Comicolor cartoons in the mid-1930s.

Technicians at Fleischer Studios created a telemetry device, called the Stereooptic or Setback Camera, in 1934. Their device used three-dimensional miniatures built to the scale of the active work. Figure. Animation tiles were placed in the setup so that different subjects could pass in front and behind them, and the entire scene was shot with a horizontal camera. The Tabletop process has been used to produce exceptional results in Fleischer’s Betty Boop, Popeye the Sailor and Color Classics cartoons.

The most famous multiplane camera was developed by William Garity for Walt Disney Studios for use in the production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The camera was completed as early as 1937 and tested in The Old Mill’s Silly Symphony, which won the 1937 Academy Award for Animated Short.

The Little Mermaid was the last Disney film to use a multi-plane camera, although the work was done by an outside facility because Disney’s cameras weren’t working at the time. This process has become obsolete due to the implementation of the “digital multiplane camera” feature in the digital CAPS process used for later Disney films and in computer animation systems. other.

Multiplane-camera-image
A 4-plane Multiplane background. The lowest plane, furthest from the camera, is only a rendering of a water surface. The plane above it contains (in addition to a cliff with a waterfall) a moving distortion glass, giving a ripple effect to the water. Note how the plane closest to the camera (dark tree in foreground at left) is strongly out of focus. The second plane from top contains a long background, continuing to the right.

Multiplane Camera Impact

Before the multiplane camera, animators found it difficult to create a convincing tracking shot that kept perspective (for instance, a moon of constant size in distant background) by using traditional animation methods. Furthermore, the act of animating the forward motion was becoming increasingly costly and time-consuming. The multiplane camera answered this problem by creating a realistic sense of three dimensional depth in a cartoon setting.

The multiplane also made possible new and versatile types of in-camera special effects for animated films using, for example, 3D practical elements/mock-ups in foreground, filters and planar lighting, distortion glass and reflections, to achieve naturalistic moving water, flickering light and other subtle effects.

Source: Wikipedia

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