Please note: if an earlier link doesn't work, it may have changed following an update! Check the Category Labels in the side-bar on the right! There you can find animator drafts for sixteen complete Disney features and eighty-six shorts,
as well as Action Analysis Classes and many other vintage animation documents!

Friday, May 10, 2013

In 'Scope (2084) and Regular (2079)...

The masking of the Standard Academy (with its aspect ratio of 1:1.3756) image, as used since the silent days, to a wide screen image of 1:1.85 was introduced in May 1953, while Fox introduced CinemaScope with its 1:2.55 image ratio that very same year as its answer to the problem to waning cinema audiences due to the boom that happened in television around 1950.

Below I have indicated the differences in picture size:
- first the difference between Standard Academy and WideScreen, where WideScreen just masks off part of the image in the projector;
- then the differences in perceived size between Standard Academy, WideScreen and two flavors of CinemaScope: the 1:2.55 ratio was used with separate magnetic sound until 1955, when optical sound was added that cut off part of the frame, reducing the image to an aspect ratio to 1:2.39.

CinemaScope is an anamorphic system: the image on the 35mm film is stretched to two times its size but only in its horizontal direction. This system was actually invented in the early 1930s by Henri Crétien and bought by Fox.

Prod. 2079 - Lady and the Tramp - was planned for a 1955 release, which meant that much of the final stage of production was during the upheaval of wide-screen cinema. It was originally perceived as a Standard Academy feature as all the films before it, but it was decided to produce a CinemaScope version, which meant wider cels and backgrounds, and the need to recompose some artwork for the much wider format. The "new" production was numbered 2084.
In the draft that is to follow over the next period, we will see the differences between the regular and the CinemaScope versions noted in the scenes where this was an issue.

First the outside cover of the draft which notes that this draft was used in the Background Morgue, originally situated in the basement under the Ink & Paint building on the Burbank lot.
The inside (with two enlargements) shows the sequence numbers, and a list of backgrounds which were used for promotional or other purposes, and not expected to be returned.
The draft itself shows handwritten notes by the staff of the Background Morgue about backgrounds checked out at different dates, though mainly (with red crosses) whether the backgrounds were present during a major check-up in March 1966.

Lady and the Tramp, directed by Peter Pan stalwarts Gerry Geronimi, Wilfred Jaxon and Ham Luske, is a happy mix of Joe Grant's story about Lady, and Ward Greene's book "Happy Dan the Whistling Dog." In The Reluctant Dragon of 1941 one can see models of Lady and the Siamese cats, while the very interesting 1944 book "Surprise Package" has the story of Lady, together with a load of other stories for films that would eventually be released a lot later.

As always, I invoke my "standard disclaimer:"
"Animation drafts were never meant to be historical documents. They were meant as go-to documents, showing the responsible artist for a certain scene, who might be able to help in case there would be any need for this further on in the production line. Therefore we often see e.g. that animators who left have been replaced by others, often their assistants, in later versions of a draft. Also for this reason it is most often the actual animator, not the supervising animator, who is mentioned. The drafts may also be directly inaccurate - showing early assignments where the animator actually changed when the scene was finally handed out. Keeping all this in mind, though, the drafts can give us some sort of hands-on insight into the inner workings of the production of some of the most "magical" (yes, an over-used word) motion pictures of all time.".

By the way, talking about aspect ratios in relation to Lady and the Tramp, it is worth noting that the film was issued on VHS in a Pan and Scan version from the Scope print in the 80s, because no-one seems to have known that there was a perfectly good and original "regular" version. Then, when it came out on DVD they were not aware that the original was shot 1:2.55 for the 4 separate magnetic tracks, so it was shown in Scope 1:2.39. Only for the 2010 Blu-Ray and DVD was the film restored to its proper width. [Addition: of course the optical track cut off only one part of the screen, so twice what you see on my graphic, but only on the left side. It was this "new" area that was added by the latest Blu-Ray transfer.]
That goes to show that a little research can go a long way, right?

I note that this will be my 14th feature draft, if I counted correctly - see the column on the right for links to the others! >>>

On a personal note, I am very busy editing A. Film's next CG feature film after having been happily seeing my "baby," Miffy the Movie open in cinemas around the world. Really, 167,000 tickets sold in Holland alone is pretty darn good for a film for 2-to-5 year olds! But it does mean that I may not be able to post the above draft on an extremely regular basis. I will try, though! In the mean time a shout out to a lot of people I wish I could have been with tomorrow!

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Anonymous Steven Hartley says...

This is absolutely great! I've been looking forward to seeing this draft for quite some time.

You probably know, and I'll say it again...I got to see the 'Lady and the Tramp' draft when I visited the Disney Archives last July and met Dave Smith. He very kindly allowed me to look at the draft...which I inquired. However, I was only allowed about 10 minutes to scan through the draft, before going with Dave to the commissary...but it was great learning from the draft. Some parts I will remember, and the others will be a surprise. Nevertheless,this won't stop me from commenting on each sequence, and I'll be as excited as I was on the day. For those reading, I won't spoil it for anyone :).

Thanks Hans, I know you are still very busy, but I'm glad to see you still have some time. I, for one, am busy and starting my exams on some tedious History topics in a few weeks, but I'm still working hard on that.

P.S. Congratulations on your Miffy success!! I know it has made you very busy, but then again: all's well that ends well. :)

Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 1:56:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Zartok-35 says...

Yay, Lady and the tramp! Now we'll have all the 1950s drafts online. I shall eagerly follow along.

Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 12:54:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous F. Kousac says...

The 1.33:1 version (non pan and scan) WAS released on Laserdisc. I still have my copy. It was mis-labled "Wide Screen" and was only in the CLV format. Easy to spot, as Lady had a different design in a few shots--mostly rings around both of her eyes. Glad to have it, and I've since transferred it to blu-ray and dvd for easier viewing these days!

Monday, May 13, 2013 at 8:30:00 PM PDT  

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