Sunday, October 1, 2017

The Art of Behind-the-Scenes

In addition to perfecting the art of animation, Disney Studios mastered the art of the behind-the-scenes film. (Link to YouTube)

In this glimpse into the making of the 1955 feature Lady and the Tramp, animator Frank Thomas demonstrates lip synch and the pencil test. After that, Milt Kahl runs through some character sketches for Tramp, and flips through the scene introducing Tramp.

The live action camera moves in and out of their workspaces and smoothly cuts to the filmed tests, some of which have been cleaned up and given a hint of background and flicker especially for this presentation.

Even though the view of the process is slightly contrived, it gives a good layman's introduction to how animated films were made.

Walt Disney recognized the power of television as a vehicle for sharing the process and the history of his art form. His television program, which began in 1954 on ABC, presented "The Story of the Animated Drawing.

Disney wasn't the first to create behind-the-scenes documentaries, though. Winsor McCay did it decades earlier (Link to YouTube), with whimsical exaggeration.

Behind-the-scenes features have become a staple of movie marketing and fan-building today, given the powerful window that YouTube now affords. Even hotly anticipated movies with a lot of carefully guarded surprises, such as Blade Runner 2049, give a few peeks behind the curtain before the movie is released.


Robert Michael Walsh said...

Yet another nostalgia for something I never experienced.

Tyler J said...

If you haven't gotten the chance to see Lady and the Tramp, it's time well spent. Beautiful backgrounds and wonderful animation. Di

Unknown said...

Oh, wonderful! I watched the Lady and the Tramp one 3 times and my kids loved it. Fantastic window into their process. I love Drawn to Life by Walt Stanchfield. I think I find something new every time I read it.

Meera Rao said...

Thanks again for showing us the masters and their work :)