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!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

In Glorious Multiplane - 2

We continue Multiplane week with the original patent.

The first drawing of this patent is in my mind the most beautiful patent drawing ever, one I some day may want a big poster of up on my wall. The patent was applied for by Disney engineer Bill Garity on behalf of Walt Disney Productions, two days before Mickey's 10th birthday, on November 16, 1938. It was granted April 23, 1940.
Note: The Old Mill, officially the first film to use the Multiplane camera, was released a full year earlier, November 5th, 1937!

In the first sheet we see the apparatus surrounded by the air vents. The columns 3 & 4 (and a similar set behind them) that support the camera and levels A to E are hollow and have the weights of the camera level can slide up and down inside them. Levels A and B are animation levels, C and D underlays and E holds the background.

Sheet 2 shows the top frame and the camera level, sans camera. The top drawing shows both - we see the frame, and within it the camera level with the holder for the camera, while the bottom drawing has this removed. When we compare with yesterday's photos (bottom right), we see that the drawing explains "the old rig." In sheet 3 we see the top and camera level from the side, with the camera in place.

Sheet 4 shows the animation level, and the placement of the lamp housing that goes with it. Sheet 5 shows the system of the platen (the glass that presses the cels down) and the peg bars.

Sheet 6: the overlay/underlay level where the glass plate can travel East-West. Sheet 7 the background level.

Sheet 8 explains the light holder, while sheet 9 shows the actual path of the light as reflected by the small adjustable strips of mirror around the lamps. We also see the viewfinder and the motorized exposuresheet holder, that moves to the next frame when the exposure button is pressed. Finally we see an example of a Disney 5 Field sheet of paper or cel next to a "new" 6.5 Field piece of artwork. The last change is itself hardly earth shattering - just make it larger. To see the conversion to ACME Field sizes, see my converter ==>

The final sheet shows the schematic for the electrical system, from the switchboard to the camera carriage and the exposure sheet indicator. Remember that all other things were all controlled by hand! No step motors to control pegbars or levels heights!


The written description goes in-depth with all the details in the well-known dry and pretty boring way. Still, you'll have to read it...
Isn't this fun? You can build your own!

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Anonymous Michael Sporn says...

You're right about that first drawing. This is a great - a great document. Thanks for sharing it.
(I enjoyed seeing the patent granted on my birth day - though some six years earlier than me.)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008 at 4:54:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Hans Perk says...

Great, Mike - I must remember to wish you Happy Multiplane Day next year!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008 at 5:08:00 AM PDT  

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