The Multiplane Camera introduced primarily by Walt Disney was a new form of animation that filmed multiple layers of animation, this included a foreground, a middle ground and a backround. Each of these “planes” are animated and utilized for differant purposes. Main characters can be placed on any plane depending upon how far away the animators want them to appear. The first feature length film that we see this multiplane camera used in is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
The picture above from Snow White is a great example of the multiplane camera. We can see the well in the foreground, Snow White and Prince Charming in the middle ground, and the shrubbery in the backround. As we can see, the multiplane system is a very good way of giving cartoons perspective. Instead of having all of these things on one page, we see them in layers which gives them a more realistic feel. They have a new feeling of life.
This picture is another good example of Disney’s new multiplane system, but in this picture we can see how the system was used to give us a differant view of this dance sequence. We feel as if we are in the room watching, the audience is put in the position of feeling as if they are standing behind one of the seven dwarfs watching on as the others are. With Sleepy in the foreground, and Snow White and Dopey dancing in the middle ground, this only leaves us with Grumpy in the backround along with the inside of the cabin.
Another great example of something you can do with the multiplane camera system is the foliage in Snow White. The entire movie is based in the forest so the fact that the multiplane system was developed at this time gave them such a great advantage. The scenes in this movie are so realistic because there is foliage from every angle. The multiplane system gives the cottage in the above picture a very “nestled” feeling, which just adds to the fantastical feeling.
Lastly this is simply an example of characters being in the forground with a simple backround. Snow White kisses Dopey in the foreground while the tree stands in the middle ground and the house in the backround.
In conclusion, the development of the multiplane camera system was a great inovation in the cartooning world. It brought life and perspective to the animation world and invented new jobs, and skills for those interested in the technical aspect of animation. It was the mother of many other pictures including Disney’s other big hit movie The Little Mermaid. As always Walt Disney didn’t let us down but provided us with a beautiful production.