Pixar: Behind the Screens

Of all the wonderful events at GRAPHIC in November this year the one I got to was Lee Unkrich’s lively and very informative presentation of the development art and production methods of Pixar. He said he wanted to show things never presented before and he delivered on his promise! Two things stick in my memory: the meticulous splicing of the voice recordings to arrive at a single, very expressive delivery of a line of dialogue, and the breath-taking polish of some examples of Pixar’s leica reels.

By splicing words or parts of words together from 3 or more takes they imbue a line of dialogue with a painted emphasis and a rich subtleness of emotion that none of the original takes contain on their own. Brad Bird’s insistence that the camera tells the story was in awe-inspiring evidence in a clip from The Incredibles where Dash is pursued by the razor-copters through the jungle and over the water. A visual tour de force springing from a clear vision, it was composited in After Effects using its 3D space and showed what a powerful and versatile tool AE is in skilled hands.

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