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, August 08, 2008

In Glorious Multiplane - 5

As I mentioned in a comment, I was told that there are three cameras in existence: there is one in Paris, and as far as I know it used to be on display in Florida. Then there is the one at the Archives and finally there is one supposed to be "usable as spare parts only." David mentioned there would be one at the Walt Disney Museum at the San Francisco Presidio, which I would guess (!) to be the one from the Archives.

It is the one from the Archives that I took a few pictures of. Here is first the console, then a few detailed images of one of the levels. The second image shows the locking mechanism that keeps the level in its place. It is obvious from this that the maximum depth of a level is the distance between the teeth on the front and back columns (minus a little bit).

When I took the photos, the rig sadly was very dusty: while in use in the Camera Department, there would not be a speck of dust on it. They had air blowers to remove dust and lint from clothing as you went in, and the area was slightly pressurized to keep dust from entering in other ways.


One of my friends recalled that when the Camera Department was "re-purposed" as offices, the Multiplane cameras were in their corners, unloved, filled with sticky notes and coffee cups - a sad ending to a great invention. Hopefully we can at least keep enjoying the thought of this great camera in the future, as they are reverently exhibited...

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Anonymous Michael Sporn says...

This series was extraordinary. Thank you for posting it. One of a kind - truly.

Saturday, August 9, 2008 at 5:30:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Joost Blox says...

Thank you for these pictures. I assume the multiplane camera was last used on Little Mermaid, as they switched to CAPS after that. Is that correct?

Do you know if the horizontal multiplane setup was used again after Fantasia?

Saturday, August 9, 2008 at 5:42:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Hans Perk says...

Thanks Mike! Note: this week is seven days - two more to go!

Joost: I do not know if they even used the Multiplane camera on any of the later films. Yes, Mermaid was the first film to use CAPS (but only in the last scenes), and DALS. According to Alvy Ray Vaughn (famous computer guru who contributed to these programs) at least as important a software, DALS was the asset management database system of the time.

Of course CAPS was killed when Eisner closed Feature Animation. Nowadays the system used is off-the-shelf software.

The horizontal Multiplane was used on Sleeping Beauty for tracking shots through the throne room - see Bob Thomas' The Art of Animation (1958).

Saturday, August 9, 2008 at 6:27:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous David Nethery says...

"Of course CAPS was killed when Eisner closed Feature Animation. Nowadays the system used is off-the-shelf software."

CAPS was actually becoming out-dated during the Last Days . There was a new system under development in 2001 - 2003 era called CHIP .

It was never fully used because then hand-drawn was gutted by the Eisner/Stainton regime.

Apparently no attempt to revive CHIP , so now they're using off-the-shelf software (ToonBoom Harmony) as Hans noted.

Sunday, August 10, 2008 at 6:49:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Hans Perk says...

Interesting, David - thanks!
CHIP, eh? Even more sad, maybe, as it means someone was actively trying to improve something when it was killed!

Sunday, August 10, 2008 at 11:13:00 PM PDT  

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