Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first full-length feature film made with the multiplane camera.
Photo by Floyd B. Bariscale
Animation Toon Up
The multiplane camera is patented
When Walt Disney invented the multiplane camera, the art of animation took an official giant leap forward.
This special camera used stacks of glass. The lower stack was painted with objects that do not move, such as furniture, and the upper stacks displayed figures that do, including a certain famous Mouse. When these elements work together, the result was a screen filled with detailed characters that moved realistically, scenery that cast “shadows,” and the visual richness we’ve since come to take for granted in today’s animation.
In 1937, the short, The Old Mill, became the first animated work created with the multiplane camera. But because it was so expensive to use, from then on Disney and his staff reserved the multiplane camera for feature film projects only.
By the way, the American Film Institute has named Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs the greatest animated film of all time.