The First Multiplane Technicolor
The multiplane camera is a special motion picture camera used in the traditional animation
process that moves a number of pieces of artwork past the camera at various speeds and at
various distances from one another. This creates a three-dimensional effect, although not
actually stereoscopic.
Various parts of the artwork layers are left transparent, to allow other layers to be seen
behind them. The movements are calculated (in later years, often by computer) and
photographed frame-by-frame, with the result being an illusion of depth by having several
layers of artwork moving at different speeds - the further away from the camera, the slower
the speed. The multi-plane effect is sometimes referred to as a parallax process.
An interesting variation is to have the background and foreground move in opposite
directions. This creates an effect of rotation.
Motion Parallax can be seen when you are riding in a car
looking out the window at the countryside. Things in the
foreground (EX: signs) will fly past very quickly, while objects in
the far distance (EX: mountain) will move more slowly
Technicolor is the trademark for a series of color film processes pioneered by
Technicolor Motion Picture Corporation (a subsidiary of Technicolor, Inc.)
Technicolor was the second major color film process, after Britain's
Kinemacolor, and the most widely used color motion picture process in
Hollywood from 1922 to 1952.
Technicolor became known and celebrated for its hyper-realistic, saturated
levels of color, and was used commonly for filming musicals (such as The
Wizard of Oz) costume pictures (such as The Adventures of Robin Hood), and
animated films (such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Fantasia).
The Technicolor Motion Picture Corporation was founded in Boston,
Massachusetts in 1914 by Herbert Kalmus, Daniel Frost Comstock, and W.
Burton Wescott.
To print the film, each colored strip had a print struck from it onto a light sensitive piece
of gelatin film. When processed, "dark" portions of the film hardened, and light areas
were washed away. The gelatin film strip was then soaked with a dye complementary to
the color recorded by the film: cyan for red, magenta for green, and yellow for blue
A single clear strip of black and white film with the soundtrack pre-printed was first
treated with a mordant solution and then brought in contact with each of the three
dye-soaked colored strips in turn, building up the complete color image.
– This process is referred to as "dye imbibition", a technique which was commonly
used in conventional offset printing or lithography but which the Technicolor
process utilized on film.
– The final strip of film would have the dyes soaked into its emulsion and not simply
printed onto its surface. The end result was a bright and clear representation of
natural color.
Early in the process, the clear film would be pre-exposed with a 50 percent density
black-and-white positive image derived from the green matrix.
– This process was used largely to cover up fringing in the early days of three-strip
printing, and to print frame lines that would otherwise be white.
– Because the layer was of neutral density, the contrast blacks in the picture was
increased, but colors were muted to an extent. By the early 1940s, however,
Technicolor streamlined the process to make up for these shortcomings and this
practice ceased. However, a black-and-white silver image was still used for the
frame line and sound track
As you watch the film, Look for scenes that
may use the Multi-plane (parallax) Technique.
Think of the Difference in how Snow White
Looks in comparison to new-age cartoons;
Where in the Film did Technicolor come into
Think of what used to be considered
Socially Acceptable in a children’s cartoon,
And what is no longer acceptable.
Think of how animating a Film has changed,
and what technology has made animating
films easier and quicker. Or, think of some
newer techniques used.
 How could snow white be different if it was
remade as a cartoon today?
• Some prominent effects that technicolor was able to produce in a
cartoon such as snow white were:
• Some prominent effects that technicolor was able to produce in a
cartoon such as snow white were:
• Some prominent effects that technicolor was able to produce in a
cartoon such as snow white were:
• Some prominent effects that technicolor was able to produce in a
cartoon such as snow white were:
• Some prominent effects that technicolor was able to produce in a
cartoon such as snow white were:
When Snow White Runs into the woods,
then when the leaves chase her
 Scenes that seemed to “Cross Over” one
another, such as the potion recipe & the
Where the evil Queen drinks her potion,
and the surroundings appear to spin around
Found through MOST (but not all) of the film But to point out specific scenes:
Snow White at the well, washing the steps as doves fly by.
The Ripples in the well as she sings.
The several views of the dwarfs home.
When the Dwarfs are on their way home from the mines.
Animation commenced in 1936, andSnow White saw an expressive
ultimately more than 750
use of color to define mood and
Artists worked on the film,
atmosphere. Even the colors of
the dwarfs' clothing match their
32 animators
personalities. Doc's russet jacket
102 animation assistants
reflects his cheery mood,
107 in-betweeners
Grumpy's clothes were dulled
20 layout men
down, and comic Dopey was
25 background artists
dressed in saffron and lavender65 effects animators
158 inkers and painters
Character animators were
free to concentrate on their
"actors", while a separate
department handled
phenomena such as fire,
smoke, clouds, rain, rippling
water, reflections, etc.
Snow White, which before it’s release
was widely referred to as “Disney’s
Folly” (Many did not think it would succeed,
and tried to talk Disney out of it’s creation)
cost $1,480,000. By
comparison the average first-run film
in 1937 was produced on a budget of
roughly $250,000.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs