Walt Disney Animation Studios: Making of Zootropolis | Scott Kersavage - Visual Effects Supervisor,

Last night I queued up outside Cineworld Haymarket alongside many other hopeful people to try and get a chance to listen to members of Walt Disney Studios discuss details of the making of Zootropolis. Fortunately we were one of the lucky ones to make it inside! Unfortunately though, it was a presentation in the cinema so I couldn't take as many notes as I usually do. However, it was a really fascinating insight to some of the incredible detail that Disney achieve to make their films have such compelling stories and believable worlds.

One of the highlights for me was actually an interesting look at the way lighting was used to convey the political and emotional stance in the story. At this particular point, the city of Zootropolis is in a heightened state of fear due to the recent attacks by predators. In this scene, Officer Hopps is standing on a train and witnesses a mother move her child away from another animal as they sit down next to them. The lighting creates a physical visual line between predator and prey, emphasizing the division in society that the recent case has caused. Emotionally, this is a big moment for Officer Hopps as she can see the effect that her bias has had upon the rest of the city, and she feels guilty for disturbing the peace that Zootropolis was renowned for. This of course is just one example of many, and lighting plays a crucial part in Disney's movies. A lot of people were wondering, why a fox and a bunny? Michelle explained that both animals carry a lot of expectations and characteristics with them as a stereotype, making them extremely identifiable with a large audience. They have of course both been used in other stories in history, but this wasn't the intention of Disney to mimic. In fact, the film started out with the fox as the main character, and Officer Hopps as just a side character. It was only as her character developed further that they realized she was to be a bigger part of the story. The city of Zootropolis is full of characters, of all shapes and sizes, and what was really refreshing about it was that the animals were all quite true to their sizes in the real world. This made for some incredibly interesting camera shots, in some cases a character might have been just a tiny element of a screen, whereas they fill up the entire shot if they move to another part of the city.

Limited Edition Lithograph courtesy of Walt Disney Studios.

At the end of the presentation, we were told that there were some gifts from Disney waiting for us in the lobby, so naturally there was a big rush to the door. We were lucky enough to have been given a limited edition lithograph, of which is now sitting above my desk with pride.


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