My visit to the Walt / Roy E. Disney Animation Building was spectacular and definitely one I’ll never forget! Our hands-on press day was made even more special with the fun Frozen theming at the building’s entrance. I love the ‘snow’ that was later added to the lettering – so awesome!
Walt / Roy E. Disney Animation Building
This is where all the magic happens. Our blogging group got behind the scenes to find out how key departments worked together to make Frozen the masterpiece it is. The sign for no photos, tweeting, Facebook updating, Instagram uploading didn’t apply to us (hehehehe).
The rigging team basically gives the characters ‘bones’ or a kind of skeletal structure for the animators to work with. We were able to play with a digital model of Olaf and were taught how to move different parts of him and even rotate others. Olaf was created with a completely different set of rules since he needed to fall apart and be reassembled in various ways. Also, new programs had to be developed for the hair (with intricate designs and hundreds of layers), elemental effects (wind, snow), and for the fabric (lace, box pleats, design).
Expectedly, much attention was given to the animation for the film. Lead animators would record themselves on video or act in the mirror to get a better handle on facial expressions or subtle movements that particular character would use. I have a deeper appreciation for the “Let it Go” sequence after seeing how much work was put into it. Oh, and the team even wore skirts in snow (both the men and women) to better animate how the fabric and footsteps would appear in the snow of different densities.
What a blast! A post dedicated to my experience in the recording booth will be up next week. Stay tuned – it’s hilarious…and kind of embarrassing 😛
Interview with Directors Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee and Producer Peter Del Vecho
What stood out to me was their dedication in making this a film people could relate to and to touch on the fact that there are different types of love. It was also surprising to hear just how far they went to bring out the richness found in Norwegian design and traditional dress. The directors didn’t want this story to be good vs evil. So, having the two main protagonists and sisters was a fantastic fit.
Obviously, Frozen features ice. A lot of it. Just animating this was a feat in itself. Computers make thing perfect and uniform so all renderings came out looking like glass or plastic. Real ice has imperfections and flaws. So, the crew visited the Ice Hotel in Quebec City. There they saw the beauty of ice and how it looked when light hit during different times of the day. The most challenging shot was the one with the creation of Elsa’s ice palace. That one scene took about 4-5 months, 4,000 computers, 400 animators, and some 30 hours to render.
The setting was inspired by the country of Norway – the giant fjords, huge landscape, balance of cold and warm intimacy, and the geometric patterns even in the folk clothing. A real reindeer was brought in. It was in it’s molting stage so it only had one antler and lost the other shortly after. Just like losing a tooth, it was gross and bloody. The reindeer didn’t do much aside from scratching itself and panting like a dog.
Anna’s journey begins with a lack of understanding of love. It starts from the immature teenage love to the love that is strong enough to sacrifice oneself for. Kristen Bell really brought Anna to life. Her improvisation along with that of Josh Gad really added to the movie. With 50-75 people auditioning for each role, a talented cast was assembled and the result is musical that the whole family can enjoy.
Disney’s FROZEN opens in theaters on November 27, 2013!
I was invited on an all-expense paid media trip as a guest of Disney and in honor of the upcoming FROZEN movie. All opinions are my own.