Disney &Frame Grabs 27 Jun 2011 06:28 am

More Pinocchio Multiplane

- I had such a good time last week posting images of scenes from Pinocchio using the multiplane camera that I decided to go back to the well. There are a lot of very small shots in that film that use the camera for a more limited but very effective purpose.

A vaguely seen wagon rolls across the screen in a heavy rain storm.

The camera pans across the screen with the wagon.

Camera trucks in to the water spout.

Jiminy sits on the water spout in the rain.

The wagon sits at rest in the rain


Gepetto in the far distance, in the rain, walks toward the camera.

Lightning lights up the background.

Barely seen Gepetto moves forward calling for “Pinocchio!”

Gepetto slowly moves forward

He continues on in the rain.

He hears the wagon approaching screen left.

The wagon moves in front of him (slightly out of focus).

The wagon blocks across Gepetto who watches it.

The wagon goes off screen, Gepetto watching.

“Pinocchio-o-o-o !”

Gepetto continues forward.

At one point when I worked at the Hubley studio, John and Tissa David had a laughing disagreement. She had animated something with a couple of overlays panning over the background trying to create some sense of dimension.

John told Tissa that she was moving the overlays too quickly; they would look as though they were moving of their own accord, not that it would look like dimension as the camera moved in. She was adamant that she was doing it correctly. John told her that he had received a phone call from an historian in Europe. The guy had told John that he admired the way he used the multiplane camera on the carriage ride to Pleasure Island. The historian felt it was the best use of the multiplane, ever. John told Tissa that he had proof, then, that he knew what he was talking about. Tissa laughing, agreed to change her panning overlays.

I thought it’d be a good point to look at the multiplane use throughout this entire sequence.

We start with the carriage moving quickly through some wooded overlays.

It’s definitely the multiplane. There’re levels of focus
and a very smooth movement to the panning trees.


The overlays move quickly past.


The overlay trees seem to have a slight highlight on the left side.
Could it be a cut line of a piece of paper picking up a light streak?



No multiplane as we see Coachman, Pinocchio and Lampwick in the driver’s seat.

Jiminy with dust galore under the coach carriage.

Cut in for a tighter, beautiful shot of Jiminy talking to the audience.

Back to the carriage moving quickly behind multiplane levels.

. . . it passes trees . . .

. . . and moves to a stone bridge . . .

. . . and across it.

It comes to a pier and stops.

A steamship then takes them across the body of water.
No multiplane but quiet and beautiful water effects.

Dissolve to a beautiful shot of the steamship crossing.
No multiplane.


It finally stops at Pleasure Island.
No multiplane.

Pan with kids in front of coachman.

Across the screen as we open up . . .

. . . to see Pleasure Island.




Late night. Destruction and desolation.

A small pan across to the cowboy.
Very quiet use of the multiplane.

Notice the out of focus wheel in the left foreground.


Jiminy climbs up from behind the hill and looks back calling for Pinocchio.

He moves forward.

“Pinocchio-o-o-o !”

He walks foreward . . .

. . . going out of focus as we rack focus to the 8 ball in the Bg.

We move in on the 8 ball.

Right in to the doorway.

Here are a couple of drawings by Charles (Nick) Nichols done as part of the animation of the Coachman. The drawings come from the Canemaker book, Treasures of Disney Animation Art.




10 Responses to “More Pinocchio Multiplane”

  1. on 27 Jun 2011 at 6:41 am 1.Haven said …

    Excellent site.

  2. on 27 Jun 2011 at 6:56 am 2.Stephen Macquignon said …

    This is GREAT!

  3. on 27 Jun 2011 at 9:34 am 3.Marc said …

    Stromboli’s carriage exterior here was a model, photographed, blown up, and transferred to cel.

    Wonderful Multiplane work–each frame shot up to 4 times (technicolor successive exposure) at up to nearly a second per exposure due to the dark nature of the scenes and the many levels.

    “What they can do these days!”

  4. on 27 Jun 2011 at 10:26 am 4.Stephen Perry said …

    According to the final draft of Pinocchio all the shots of the steamship are Multiplane, pics 33-36. and some of the coach scenes are not.

  5. on 27 Jun 2011 at 10:42 am 5.Grant said …

    Beware the drafts….they are not 100% correct (shyte changes…and in the case of later drafts, political posturing led to deletion of talents names). In this case, they are, indeed, correct.

  6. on 27 Jun 2011 at 6:22 pm 6.Stephen Perry said …

    I’m not sure what posturing has to do with typing a letter, M, or Mult. In the BG Data column, but it’s possible the way a scene was finally shot could change? The use of the ripple glass under the steamer, screams out Multiplane…. Or maybe it was rear projected, or flat artwork reflected onto a distorted panning mirror under the table top at 45 degrees. Much easier to use that on the multiplane camera.

  7. on 27 Jun 2011 at 10:08 pm 7.Michael said …

    The 45 degree rigged camera could not have been used with the multiplane camera. the camera is pointed into the 4 degree rigged animation table to film the distortion they created there.

  8. on 27 Jun 2011 at 11:55 pm 8.The Gee said …

    I can’t comment on the camera, but, I should comment on something other than that post below.

    This is my favorite Disney animated feature. The first Disney cartoon I saw in the theater was…and I still kind of regret this… “Cinderella.” It was good to see and to be able to see it at a young age was awesome, but, I wish I had seen “Pinocchio” instead. I’m unsure if the opportunity to see it in theaters ever happened for me. If it was re-released, I never saw it on the big screen.

  9. on 28 Jun 2011 at 6:57 am 9.Stephen Perry said …

    There is an extra patent for the multiplane camera for the use of a mirror at 45 degrees, for reflecting artwork at 90 degrees from the front of the multiplane.

  10. on 28 Jun 2011 at 7:11 am 10.Michael said …

    The mirror is designed so that you can point the camera into it to shoot the reflection – which is usually a distortion. That image was usually burned into the final multiplane scene. It does not offer much help with regard to shooting a multiplane scene with depth.

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