Getting into the Autumn Spirit with New Tinker Bell
In Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure, an autumnal beauty graces the fairy world, as Tink travels north of Never Land to patch things up with her friend, Terence, and restore a Pixie Dust Tree with a treasure she's broken. We spoke with Director Klay Hall (King of the Hill, The Simpsons, Family Dog) and Animation Director Sheryl Sackett (Tinker Bell) about raising the animation bar.
Bill Desowitz: What were the challenges the second time around?
Klay Hall: The first one set up the world with Tink, but I wanted to go a step further [with Lost Treasure]. It goes without saying that, although we are doing a franchise, these are supposed to be standalone movies… an individual, new, fresh story. So right up front, one of the challenges is for it to feel completely original, which I think we've absolutely succeeded in. Part of that process is working with John Lasseter on story and then also with the internal brain trust here at the studio to make that happen.
And since early on, the decision was made early on with John and the directors here to use the seasons as the background of the movies, the other challenge was -- and I picked autumn because I really love the fall, personally -- how can we bring that season to life: to really feel the textures and the colors of light and even almost the atmospheric crispness of the air, to really make this world believable.
BD: So how did you make autumn come alive?
KH: It was several things. First of all, we did the research of getting out into the morning fog and in some of coastal areas we took shots of how that early morning dew feels in the air and really watching the light as it rises and falls on the horizon. And then some of our folks are also well versed in the CG aspect of things and trying to capture that atmosphere that we see and feel. It was a process: we wanted to make it feel believable. And that's another great thing about CG that you really can't get in 2D and that, certainly with the application of Blu-ray, it just enhances it that much more. And I really think that we've raised the bar with this one, and the third one will raise it again.
BD: And how did you raise the bar?
KH: Right away, you'll see the quality level of the animation has kicked up. It was good on the first one, but here we were really able to hone in on the subtleties of the acting and the sophistication of the acting that I was looking for. You know, it starts off at Pixie Hollow and she's around all her friends, but then she sets out on this adventure and she's kind of by herself and is befriended by this little firefly named Blaze, who I liken to Tink's Jiminy Cricket. But that actually gave me an opportunity to spend time nailing down the acting, especially in her eyes and in the thinking process. I think you'll notice that difference.
BD: What are some of the other noticeable improvements?
KH: We've definitely kicked up the level of special effects. There's a sequence later on where there's a blue snow from a crystal that really raises the level along with the color palette.