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The meticulous magic of piecing together a Pixar film, unveiled

Image: Pixar

No one thinks about editors when watching an animated film. They’re drawn. There are no outtakes of Belle and Gaston improvising, just as there aren’t multiple takes of Donald Duck adjusting his spit level during monologues. A new video from The Royal Ocean Film Society, however, shows just how important the editor is to the animation process, as well as how much their process differs from their live-action counterparts.

Through archival footage and interviews with a number of Pixar and DreamWorks veterans, including Toy Story editor and Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich, narrator Andrew Saladino shows how, in animation, editors are intimately involved with the creative process. Here, editors work with the director and writers to craft the film’s visual narrative, sequence by sequence, through a series of storyboards. According to those interviewed, the process can take up to two years of what is typically a three-year process.


“Making mistakes is an essential part of our process,” says Pete Docter, director of Pixar’s Inside Out. “We’re not embarrassed by it. In fact, we plan for it.”

Watch the full video below:

How Do You Edit an Animated Film? from The Royal Ocean Film Society on Vimeo.

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