Thursday, January 01, 2009

Disney Principles 6b - Staging 2 - For Mood

Staging For Mood:

This little paragraph is part of Disney's staging article. They don't say much about it and go right into another aspect of staging. I'm just including it here to be complete.

Disney cartoons were great at creating moods of all types, not just with staging, but with color, music, cutting, special effects and whatever creative tricks they could come up with. To me it was the studio's greatest skill. They spent a lot of money on creating mood too.

Bambi is less of a story than a string of moody sequences in the forest. My favorite sequence is the "April Showers".

Fantasia is largely about mood too. Here's a clip, although it doesn't sound like the original sound track. Did they rerecord it?


Kelly Toon said...

That Bambi sequence remains one of my all-time favorites. I would rewind it to hear the first happier part of the song. The frightening storm had a big impact on me, in fact after witnessing some very near lightning at the age of seven, I had a touch of thunder phobia. I don't have a problem with it now, but that bit where Bambi's mother looks up to the lowering clouds still gives me goosebumps.

John, I'd like to know more of your opinions on Bambi as a film. The hours of research into animal movements, the super delicate backgrounds, etc. Do you like this movie? Is it too 'cloying', with the twitterpation and sappy love scenes? I personally love it because adorable cartoon animals are one of my greatest pleasures. When Thumper falls for the girl bunny, I just melt.

Happy New Year!

JohnK said...

My favorite Disney cartoons are the ones that look the nicest and have the moodiest sequences, so that puts Bambi at the top of my list.

There is no Disney movie that doesn't make me want to fast forward through the filler parts.

The twitterpated sequence is definitely a seat squirmer for me.

Thumper is also too much for my small grown-up side. I understand why girls love him though.

Mostly I like the moody and dramatic sequences.

Unfortunately there is no good copy of the movie anymore. They really "remastered" the Hell out of it.

The contrast is way too high and we lose lots of subtle color detail in the paintings, and they killed the look of the cells - flattened them out by making the lines too thin and jagged.

At least I have my old VHS of it.

tobor68 said...

i haven't seen bambi in a while. it's due for another viewing.

the shower sequence still beats the crap out of any cgi sequence i've seen yet.

Whit said...

They did re-record the Fantasia soundtrack once, with a pick-up orchestra conducted by Irwin Kostal, in 1982. This was done in an era before it was possible to convert the 1940 Stowkoski track into digital stereo without too much hiss. Eight years later, Disney reinstated the original Stowkoski score once technology allowed them to upgrade it to modern standards. They took a lot of flack from musicians and fans for the Kostal version. Frank and Ollie even bitched that it was sometimes out of sync, and it was.

Oliver_A said...

>>Unfortunately there is no good copy of the movie anymore. They really "remastered" the Hell out of it.

The contrast is way too high and we lose lots of subtle color detail in the paintings, and they killed the look of the cells - flattened them out by making the lines too thin and jagged.<<

Disney is the worst studio when it comes to the preservation of their animated library. And they even brag about it in the extras of some of the DVD's!

Cels and backgrounds are digitally repainted, filters are being applied to filter noise, but also high frequency information out of the picture, but the worst aspect is the censoring and alteration of some movies like Fantasia.

It's a lot worse compared to what is being complained about the Looney Tunes DVD's.

Niki said...

It's a real shame how everyone either wants to be a cartoonist/animator or an artist/painter/sculpture but neither wants to do both. and if they do both, they don't know all the basic and principals. they'll never be able to get this kind of quality at Disney again, unless those teenagers step up. Even my mom knows they didn't go to college.

Kali Fontecchio said...

Another nice one is that early color Mickey, Donald, Goofy cartoon where they are hunting ghosts. Can't remember the name- you know the one!

You're a softy, "you can call me FLOOOOOOWEEER."

HemlockMan said...

Ah, nice. When my twenty-one year old son was just a wee child, we would buy him the VHS Disney toons. He would watch them over and over. Constantly. For some reason, during one two-month stretch, whenever I'd walk through the door I'd be greeted by that "April showers" bit. And there would be little Andy, sitting in front of the TV watching BAMBI yet again. It took him some time to tire of that movie.

Anonymous said...

Disney remasterings suck.

Gee, mistuh K (God strike me down now!), I had no idea you liked Bambi. I'd understand you'd hate the filler scenes (as do I...goddamn, the cloying! The horribly, sickly cute cloying!), but I didn't think you'd like it.

Judging by this, I can probably guess that the characters Robin Williams, Danny DeVito and Rosie O'Donnell have played in Disney films are the kind you'd find nauseatingly annoying?

JKG said...

Niki > What you said wasn't clear, having a good understanding of most on the animation/art process is very useful and can help a lot. The specialization is usually a matter of choice (in best cases) and what you're best at the moment (if spotted).

Zoran Taylor said...

I have a Korean "Fantasia" DVD from Ebay that's very bright and high-contrast, but it doesn't look "wrong" to me. The colours are gorgeous, in an intense way, rather than purely garish. But it's possible that some repainting was done, however I compared certain shots to their reprintings in "The Art Of Walt Disney", which is from 1975, and the colours looked about the same.

I just turn the colour saturation down on my TV set when I watch the LTGCs, and they look great. The total colour changes are fairly rare; the brightness is about 80% of the problem with the remastering. As for the sound, it's fine. They sound untouched.

Christine Gerardi said...

I agree about Disney sucking at remastering. I could barely watch "Make Mine Music", it was so dang oversaturated.

Elana Pritchard said...

I really like Fantasia- I wish Disney had kept on that more experimental path for themselves, especially when it comes to content/themes. I think it bombed in the theatre though and critics hated it when it came out... What do you think of Miyazaki?

Ken Duncan said...


Your posts make me very happy....and depressed at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Those examples are fantastic. I love the Halloween book!

Anonymous said...

Mind blisteringly sappy or not, nothing gets girls more riled up than Thumper.

Trevor Thompson said...

At least I have my old VHS of it.

Amen to that. And the laser disc still looks good too.

- trevor.

animaenagerie said...

"Unfortunately there is no good copy of the movie anymore. They really "remastered" the Hell out of it.

The contrast is way too high and we lose lots of subtle color detail in the paintings, and they killed the look of the cells - flattened them out by making the lines too thin and jagged.

At least I have my old VHS of it."


The "thin jagged lines" of these so-called "remastered/restored" versions is something that just kills me.

It's terrible. They are ruining these great old cartoons.

I noticed it today (Jan. 1) on the Cartoon Network Looney Tunes marathon. Most of the cartoons looked bad , the contrast jacked up way too high , colors too saturated, lines thinned out .

It ought to be a crime to do that to these national treasures.

Shotgun_Mario said...

im a bit of a hallowe'en fan... is that donald & nephews a 'trick or treat' book, off of the cartoon of the same name?

EalaDubh said...

I think it's as much about colour schemes as it is about overt symbols. Take the Huey, Dewey and Louie picture book; chop off the right page with the witch and cauldron and you still know that something spooky is going on. The same is true of the Mickey Mouse laboratory scene in the top.

Do I even need to mention Fantasia? :)

Niki said...

Mr.John, I'm scared of where artistic quality is heading. Check out the newest addition into the nothing. Apparently,Walt Disney is one of his heroes, one of whom he 'studies.'

JKG> I don't understand how it's difficult to understand, I was saying that normally anyone(at least anyone I know) who enjoys painting or sculpting, thinks animation is childish so though they be fine in their craft(even without structure), they don't care about cartooning. On the other hand everyone I know who does want to be an animator, doesn't care at all to learn the basics of composition and structure. Instead they want to work for New Disney(although the good guys have made their travel to the Eighth Continent), and Square soft, and let be, what be. just like the 'traditionally trained' fellow above, even art teachers aren't good anymore!

Trevor Thompson said...

Does anyone here have any luck just turning down the contrast on these cartoons and turning up the sharpness?

It looks okay when I do this on the computer monitor, but better when I do it on a television. I wonder why.

- trevor.

JKG said...

Niki > You weren't clear, but on this new post you're totally wrong, as an animator I'm fascinated by composition and staging. That's the reason I'm plugged to this blog and few others that care for the art of animation.

Even at Disney, I am sure the animators where aware of these principles. But it is easier for an independent filmmaker to use them all without relying on a storyboarder and a layout man who took care of the space, mood and shot composition. But as an animator the poses and the line of action are also part of the composition. The body parts tend toward different directions that match the composition.

Now if you're talking about the fact that some artists are not concerned by animation, again it's a matter of taste, time and opportunity. Don't be sad for that, take advantage of it.

Niki said...

JKG> I'm also talking about majority, We're the minority in the situation. I'm interested in composition too, but I'm not including myself in this count, or anyone in here for that matter.

The men and women that made Disney great have voyaged to the land of the dead. They were aware of the principles, but I'm certain that there are few left there who do. I went to Disney land 2 weeks ago and it appears as if they just hire anyone now.

And now about artists. They, and 'people who draw' are considered the same thing. I am glad now that you mention it, but the 'people who draw' want to be 'artists'. Now everyone is an 'artist' no matter how bad they be, they feel obliged to provide artistic criticism without knowing anything. I just think, "If they're going to work professionally, they should at least be professionals."