Mind Your Business: Partnering on Princess and the Frog
2D animated features are back and in a big way. Disney explodes back into the marketplace with a beautiful and funny feature, The Princess and the Frog. At the screening I was in, the audience applauded at the end. That's a sure fire sign of a movie that will have legs.
A few years ago, Disney consolidated all their traditional animation production back to Burbank. So, how did they ramp back up for this feature? They partnered with a few independent studios.
In a non-descript Orlando office complex in the shadow of their former employer, Disney Feature Animation, the artists at Premise Ent. (www.PremiseEntertainment.com) partnered with Disney to provide a significant contribution to The Princess and the Frog. I contacted the crew in Orlando and asked them about their work on this project.
Dominic Carola is the owner of Premise Entertainment and the head of production for the work they did with Disney. He spent more than a decade at Disney Feature Animation in Orlando as an animator working on such films as Mulan, Lilo & Stitch, Brother Bear and others.
"We were very fortunate to work with our colleagues again," said Carola. "We received sections of the film that really turned out to be great sequences which are featured throughout the movie. We had an incredible clean up team on this picture, and top-rated teams in effects, backgrounds, and ink and paint artists. It was truly a pleasure to contribute to this beautiful film and work with so many talented artists.
Premise spent about one year working on Princess. The scope of what they first produced was from clean-up. The California production offices sent scenes which had been mostly keyed. The Premise artists did many from clean-up to FX follow-up to complete backgrounds and ink and paint and compositing.
Pam Darley, artistic coordinator at Premise, described the process, "They prepped the data. They sent us a shot, we cleaned it up, we did the scanning for it, we prepped it, we comped it, we sent it back, they did some work on it and then we got it back for effects. There's a lot of back and forth with the data."