The multiplane camera is an animation that was created by Walt Disney in the 1930s and the 1940s. Essentially, studios used this animation to create pictures. Because of his animation art, the U.S. patent granted Walt Disney a patent.
In traditional animation, drawing took a front stage and was considered as an important aspect. The multiplane cameras employed the traditional process of animation. Essentially, artwork pieces are moved past the camera. This movement is done on different speeds. They are also moved at some distances from each other (Andrews et al, 34). The effect of this is the creation of an effect, which is similar to 3D, to devastating effect.
The materials used in this animation are basically 2D. However, through the necessary expertise in arranging the materials properly and a bit of creativity, a 3D effect was achieved. In this animation, the multiplane played a role in recording the multiple layers’ movement. This was done at regulated speeds and distances. The animation managed to establish popular shots and as a result, became very popular. The arrangement of the objects was such that the artwork layers, which were transparent, were placed below the camera. Meanwhile, the camera was held in a vertical position. This is because it was supposed to shoot down to be able to record images. In order to create dimension and more depth, the layers were combined. This was done at a calculated distance and certain speed levels.
The Multiplane Camera and The Old Mill
The multiplane camera technique was applied in various animations to a success. For instance, The Old Mill employed the multiplane technique to give a cartoon animation. The cartoon film portrays a community of animals, which were populating a windmill in the country, which was abandoned. Later, there is a severe thunderstorm, which threatens to destroy the habitat from which their livelihood was based. The animation depicts or shows how this community of animals reacted to these threats. In the short film, Johann Strauss’ One Day When We Were Young is incorporated.
In essence, many techniques, more so those that involved advanced animations were being tested in such productions. However, as Tellote argues in his book, ‘we have generally neglected to recognize the extent to which animation is a spatial art’ (Telotte, 32). It is important, however, to note that this production was testing the effect of the multiplane camera animation by Disney. Incorporated into the film are some realistic animal behaviors, giving it a real perspective. The color effects, the fact that it managed to depict the rains and the 3D rotation details gave it a great advantage. Emotional and dramatic effects are also achieved through the use of excellent timing. As an effect, therefore, the multiplane animation proved to be one of the most successful animations that Disney developed. The song that has been incorporated adds the necessary atmosphere to the film and makes it an interesting one. This makes the production an interesting one for the viewers. In essence, the technology of the multiplane is effectively put into use. This shows how simple things can be used creatively to have a bigger impact than expected.
The Use of the Multiplane Camera in Bambi
Disney’s animations received a wide coverage and they were employed in a number of films. As Telotte argued in his book, ‘taking this sort of spartial approach is hardly new. We might recall that Walter Benjamin linked mechanical production, and especially that represented by the cinema in its various forms, to a pointedly modern impulse’ (Telotte, 43) One such film in which the animations were used is Bambi. This film was directed by David Hand and was Disney’s production work. In this short film, the opening scene shows the multiplane’s beauty as how high-level realism can be achieved. In animating the animals that were the characters in the film, Disney desired to achieve a realistic and expressive result (Alves et al, 34). As such, he wanted the animal characters to be realer when compared to the ones that were portrayed in the Snow White. The multiplane camera allowed Disney more realistic spaces in the creation of the animations. (Telotte, 154) Concisely, Disney’s animations played a major role in the production of such films.
Alves, Katja, Maja Dusíková, Felix Salten, and Kristy C. Koth. Bambi. New York: NorthSouth, 2011. Print.
Andrews, William M. The Multiplane Camera Compound: A Descriptive Reference. N.p., 1980. Print.
Christov-Bakargiev, Carolyn. Animations. Berlin: KW - Institute for Contemporary Art, 2003. Print.
Telotte, J P. Animating Space: From Mickey to Wall-E. Lexington, Ky: University Press of Kentucky, 2010. Print.