Wreck-It Ralph: Behind the Scenes With a Photo Geek


8 BitAnyone who knows me well knows of my two rather disparate obsessions. Photography and Disney.

The former makes me money. The latter usually costs me (you’d have to take a look at my DVD collection to really grasp how badly). But last week, for perhaps the first time EVER, they came together in the most spectacular fashion.

I was in Los Angeles for the premiere of Oz the Great and Powerful for my day job, and I got the chance to visit Disney Animation Studios while I was out there for some of the pre-launch doings for Wreck-It Ralph’s Blu-Ray release (coming March 5).

Nestled in there was this bombshell: did you know they actually use photography in animation?

Go ahead and laugh if you already did. And ignore the rest of this post.

But I have found that photographers tend to be discounted all too often for the role we play in people’s lives. Either we’re nuisances capturing you at the “worst” time or we’re doing a job that your cousin Larry (thinks he) can do for half the price.

To think that there’s a sector of my population whose work isn’t recognized at all doesn’t sit well with me.

So let me explain: computers are huge in animation these days. But according to the folks at Disney, not nothing, not nobody, not knows how to replace the feel of a real person holding a camera and determining where to focus. That’s where motion capture comes in.

The computer takes the creation built by the story artists and someone uses the computer to actually make them move, but it’s a photographer, or rather a cinematographer who physically maneuvers a camera (of sorts) to get the feel of human movement and ensure that you see Ralph and Vanellope working their way around Sugar Rush as if you’re watching real people not animated characters.

Kind of makes me want to go watch Wreck-It Ralph again to see how they did, how about you? 

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Disclaimer: Disney covered my expenses to attend the Oz the Great and Powerful premiere, however I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are completely my own … especially the righteous indignation on behalf of photographers everywhere.

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