Disney’s Frozen: 3 Things You Should Know
A few weeks back, Disney held a special presentation to screen some of the footage from Disney’s upcoming animated film Frozen (you might have already heard me talk about it here), which looked absolutely beautiful. After the footage presentation, we also learned a lot more about what it took to bring the film to life.
I thought I would share with you 3 things you probably don’t know about the behind-the-scenes of Frozen. Let’s jump right int.
In Frozen, one of the protagonists, Elsa (Idina Menzel) can light the ice with her magic. This required some research from the animators who had to understand how light reflects and reacts to the ice, whether it came from Elsa or was natural light.
The team took a few trips including one to an ice hotel in Canada, which apparently was colder on the inside than it was outside. The hotel had different colored lights shining at the ice, which allowed the team to do some color demos and understand the reaction between light and ice better in order to translate it realistically to the screen.
In the film, you will notice that color is used in a very strong way to illustrate Elsa’s emotional state and none of it would look as beautiful and real if it wasn’t for that crucial research done by the animators.
In addition to light, one of the biggest challenges in bringing Frozen to life was making the virtual snow feel real. We were told that unfortunately CG can make things a bit too perfect and that in order to for the animators to create what looks like real snow they had to give it flaws.
This of course required lots of research and understanding the inner workings of snow, talking to experts and even some hands on experimentation. A “snow” computer program was even created once the accurate form was achieved in order to apply it to all the snow in the film.
Here’s a fun fact for you. In the movie you will see Elsa at some point build her castle, well it took 50 people several months to make that shot.
And here’s another fun fact for you, one frame of the film, took 30 hours to render. There are 24 frames per second, so yeah I’ll let you calculate how long it would take to render the entire film, which is about 75 minutes long.
Speaking of snow. Check out this awesome animation for Film Equals the people at Disney sent us:
Creating the environment for the characters to live in is only part of it. Another really important part of bringing Frozen to life was making the characters feel true. And in order to do that, an emphasis was put on acting. An acting coach was brought in to go through the script and explain the beats and moments for the characters.
They even brought in Idina Menzel to ask her about breathing and her singing technique in order to translate it to the character of Elsa.
One of the animators even went home, put on the song the character is singing and started acting it out to get a better sense of it and think of different ways the character would act.
Another animator uses a little camera to film herself dozens of times acting out a scene in order to get gestures or little movement to feel real.
In addition to all of this, they also look at the footage of the voice talent while they are recording to get different cues in terms of body movement.
Fun fact: Apparently animating a female character is really difficult because you have to keep them pretty while they go through all these emotions.
A final fun fact for you, but this time about the short that will be in front of Frozen, Get a Horse! starring Mickey Mouse. Walt Disney voices the character of Mickey. They went through all of the old shorts to get as much dialogue and make it come to life once more in this new short which combines 2D & 3D animation.
Frozen will be released in theatres in 3D on November 27, 2013.
In case you missed it, here is the video in which I talk about my experience.