This past week in class, we watched the first animated feature film, Die Abenteur des Prinzen Achmed (The Adventures of Prince Achmed). Directed by Lotte Reiniger, it premiered in 1926 and was revolutionary in its use of the multiplane camera and cutout animation. “The multiplane camera was used to give an illusion of depth to traditional 2D animation. To achieve this, pieces of artwork were moved past the camera at various speeds and at various distances. Some areas of artwork were left transparent so that layers below could be seen behind them” (Cavalier, pg. 89).
Fast-forward eleven years and you’ve reached Walt Disney’s first feature-length animation film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The film was wildly successful both commercially and critically. It has gone down in animation history as a major advancement for the medium due to Disney’s work in combining rotoscope and hand-drawn animated characters, complex color palettes, real human feelings over the whole emotional spectrum and expansive landscaping through multiplane cameras.