A peak behind the curtain: the making of Disney animation
October 5, 2011 3:39 PM   Subscribe

Journey back to the late 1930s, and see how Walt Disney cartoons are made, with a focus on that groundbreaking new Disney title, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Now let's dash ahead a few decades, to watch Ed Wynn and Jerry Colonna as they inspire the animators in a test-run of dialogue from Alice in Wonderland, synced with final animation for comparison.
posted by filthy light thief (12 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
I really doubt that the footage of Ed Wynn was shot during actual recording of their dialogue. They look like they're lip-synching to a pre-recorded track
posted by wabbittwax at 4:03 PM on October 5, 2011


Nowadays, it's outsourced to South Korea where children handle sinister chemicals and unicorns are worked to the bone. That's what Banksy taught me anyway.

Well, maybe not exactly. I've met several Korean animators who claimed that working on Rugrats was a pretty decent job.

Now when South Korea outsources animation to North Korea... I'm not sure. Who knows what goes on up there? Evidently evil imperialist wolves fly around in robotic dragons.
posted by Winnemac at 4:09 PM on October 5, 2011


Ah, perfect! My roommate and I were having this exact discussion recently. I somehow went through life never satisfying my curiosity for how animation was originally done. Computers have eclipsed the past to a worrying degree.
posted by stroke_count at 4:37 PM on October 5, 2011


It's really funny to sing heavy metal songs in Ed Wynn's voice.
posted by telstar at 4:46 PM on October 5, 2011


Here's what the poster says:

When Ed Wynn was brought back in to the recording studio to re-do his lines, the reading was not as good as the reference tests, so the test audio was used for the film. I've synched up the test and the released film. with black placed where edits were made.

One of the commenters questions the props and all, but most actors did want to use everything they could for the character.

And while the animation process might be off-shored, character design isn't, nor is voice acting, etc. No matter what Banksy thinks.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:02 PM on October 5, 2011


One - You can =immediately= pick out a vintage Disney live-action scene. Camera angles and, more importantly, the lighting have an undeniable Disney look. I think they used some custom chemistry, too, as natural light film has the "look", too.

Two - These are film actors in the Golden Age of Hollywood. They're used to doing a gazillion takes of the same scene, with the same cadence and timing. Makes it easier to dub in the sound studio if and when the set mike picks up someone sneezing.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:30 PM on October 5, 2011


So that's why everyone is interested in pretty girls.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:51 PM on October 5, 2011


Fascinating, thank-you.
posted by alasdair at 11:14 PM on October 5, 2011


I really doubt that the footage of Ed Wynn was shot during actual recording of their dialogue.

It's perfectly possible it was. Recording was a bit different back in those days, owing a great deal from the techniques used in producing radio shows at the time (and both Wynn and Colonna were big radio stars of the era) Getting clean sound on a large stage with multiple actors (sometimes in costume for the entertainment of the studio audience) was very important. So, I have no trouble believing that the Wynn footage was actually during a recording session. There's also small bits of Wynn's speech that sound an awful like he is ad-libbing. The bit about lemon in the tea, for instance, strikes me like an ad-lib that stayed in the final mix.

Now, the cut scenes with the artists studiously sketching and nodding approval...THAT was shot separately and added-in after-the-fact. Note the perfect framing, dramatic angles, and attractive background lighting. Definitely posed and scripted.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:01 AM on October 6, 2011


I like that they break an actual sheet of glass for the sound effect. No namby-pamby sugar.

What's weird is they also knock over a real stack of boxes, but it sounds nothing like an actual stack of boxes. They knocked over wood but it sounds like cardboard.
posted by DU at 6:25 AM on October 6, 2011


Wishing well, owl, tree
posted by EvaDestruction at 7:37 AM on October 6, 2011


"Now, the cut scenes with the artists studiously sketching and nodding approval...THAT was shot separately and added-in after-the-fact. Note the perfect framing, dramatic angles, and attractive background lighting. Definitely posed and scripted."

Yes, because it's from a documentary short which was edited together with the Wynn footage and the Alice footage by the lostvocals poster.
posted by Ideefixe at 12:51 PM on October 6, 2011


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