Video Production: "Snow White"
4994_Heidi_160Pop a disk and enjoy the work of thousands of people!

Have you ever thought about how animated movies are made? When we watch a movie all we have do is pop a disc in the slot or take a quick drive to the movie theater.

Do you know that the short one-hour video you just watched probably took three to five years to make? Imagine that!

The first Disney movie ever made was “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” released in December 1937. It took more than three years from initial idea to
final hand-painted individual plastic cells.

The process Walt Disney’s studio used to make that movie is still being used today, with some modifications. Let’s see how it works…

First find a story

The first thing the movie producers need is a story, a plot, and, of course, characters. Many animated movies are adapted from classic stories:

Next, the writers and artists create a storyboard with hundreds of pictures highlighting the main points of the movie. They take the story into a conference room, look over the story, and make revisions to it.

When Walt Disney was alive, not a single Disney movie was produced without his personal OK.

After getting the producer’s OK, the next step is to complete and polish the script. This takes a long time…imagine writing a whole movie! After all, it’s more than just writing the words the characters say. The writers also need to give directions and describe the scenery. When that is finally done, the director calls his or her helpers to time the musical score and each individual sound effect.

Add patience and time

4994_paint_160Animation takes patience and time.Meanwhile, skilled artists draw each and every movement of the characters. They produce thousands of drawings; it takes an enormous amount of patience and time.

In the late 1930s, the Disney studio scanned the drawings in sequence and printed them on film. Then they played the drawings on a special projector called a moviola which allowed the animators to revise and edit small parts of the film.

Today movie makers use different tools. They don’t use a moviola any longer; we have made many technical leaps since then. Today people use computers and more sophisticated devices.

After all the time and energy spent on the drawings, the Disney artists sent the pictures to another building where other artists carefully traced each one onto a transparent film. Each picture is called celluloid, or cell for short. What an interesting name!

Now, the final step: adding color to each individual celluloid. Disney used a special type of watercolor with a secret formula known to only the chemists that made it. It was a very serious business.

In “Snow White” alone, artists used about 15,000 different colors! The next time you watch the movie try to distinguish them all!

Artists drew the backgrounds.There is one more thing missing though…can you guess it? A background! Different artists drew the backgrounds for each celluloid and painted each of them with watercolor.

Then they placed each picture on the background of its scene and scanned them all again in sequential order. There are about half a million pictures in the final film.

It takes more than art to make an animated film...

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Credit Union National Association, Inc.


This space is for each subscribing credit union's unique invitation to elementary, middle, and high school students.
If no text is added by the subscriber, CUNA displays default text describing why credit unions are important to their members.