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The multiplane camera was a machine that revolutionized the animation world. Instead of constant flat, two-dimensional images, a multiplane camera gave an animation depth. One of the best works made with the multplane camera was Walt Disney's Bambi.


             Background     Frame 2        Frame 1
                  +             +             +
                 /|            /|            /|
                / |           / |           / |
               /  |          /  |          /  |
              /   |         /   |         /   |
             /    |        /    |        /    |
            +     +       +     +       +     +
            |    /        |    /        |    /
            |   /         |   /         |   /
            |  /          |  /          |  /
            | /           | /           | /
            |/            |/            |/
            +             +             + 

The background was a complete image, such as Bambi's den with the little deer sleeping. Frame 2 would have a clear, unpainted center with the with the den opening painted around the edges, and frame 1 could have the bushes and snow in front of the den opening.

The camera would slowly move forward and pan to a closer shot. To the camera, it looked like you were first going through the bushes in front of a hole in the snow (frame 1), pushing forward through the den opening (frame 2) until the edge paintings in frames 1 and 2 were out of the shot. The camera would focus on the center, where we'd see a sleeping Bambi.

The multiplane camera won many technical awards. Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks came up with the idea at the same time (Ub had left and started his own studio at this time). Walt's was more technically advanced and allowed several layers of depth.

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