Nerdwriter1 exposes the real fake cameras of Toy Story 4

Originally published at: Nerdwriter1 exposes the real fake cameras of Toy Story 4 | Boing Boing


Lee Unkrich, who directed “Coco” and “Toy Story 3,” and co-directed “Toy Story 2,” “Monsters, Inc.,” and “Finding Nemo,” is an old friend of mine. He loved animation and tech, but he sort of got into this job backwards. He had always intended to work in live action film; that was his major in film school.

So when he got hired as editor on the first “Toy Story,” he was one of a few people who brought a more 3-D sensibility of how to stage where the characters are in the physical space of the set, how they and the cameras move in relation to each other, and yes, lenses and lighting. He sometimes required the animators to MacGyver up shots that hadn’t been done before; this was often a pain in the ass for them.

I remember in “Monsters, Inc,” there’s one shot where monster George Anderson returns from a child’s room only to be discovered with “a 23-19,” a sock clinging to his back. The immediacy of the emergency is heightened by the camera: It’s a hand-held shot, rushing up to George as he turns, horrified, to see the sock.

I asked Lee about it, and yes, it was his shot, and yeah, the animators were really irritated. There was no virtual handheld camera program yet. So the animators had to program each tiny little arc and bump and zoom to simulate a camera operator holding the camera as they run forward. The animators said, “…REALly? Ehhh,” as they contemplated how many hours of work it would take to achieve that instead of a simple zoom, for a three-second shot.

To see the subsequent progress is really amazing.



Thanks for sharing, Love how the animators were thinking of 3 seconds but they were really laying down a workflow that eventually morphed into better ways of doing things simply because they took some of the first steps forward. ^____^


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