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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.

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Comments on: "Use Of Multiplane Camera In Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Post #6)" (4)

  1. The way the multiplane camera helped to evolve and speed the way animation was created during the 1930′s and 1940s. What is interesting about the multiplane camera was the way it was used and worked to create animation. It used stacked planes of glass each painted with different elements of a cell animation. The multiplane allowed the animator to re-use the same background, foreground, or any elements not in motion, saving hours of labor. As you mentioned in Snow White the multiplane camera was excelled at creating layers and give perspective to many of Disney’s animated films. It gave these cartoons a background, middle ground and foreground. This was a great development in the way of animation. It helped to popularize many of the films (Snow White, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Bambi) which popularized Disney. The multiplane camera evolved the way animation was created so I fully agree with your post.

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  3. Kendra Prasad- Hist 389 said:

    The multiplane camera was most definitely an important contribution to the world of animation. It moved closer to a 3-Dimensional feel, which makes the animations more realistic. When looking at animations without any depth today, I find it harder to relate at all to the animation, and therefore, I am slightly less interested. The depth provided by the multiplane camera makes animations more enjoyable and attention-grabbing.

  4. I completely agree that that Multiplane Camera revolutionized the field of animation. Looking back at cartoons shot before this point in time feels… well… old. And slow. And off. Its one of those things that I don’t think the eye notices unless it isn’t there anymore. Even with current animation styles like Flash animation, the illusion of depth and layering is still an important aspect of creating a cartoon. Excellent explanation and examples of what we’re trying to look for with this technique!

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