Inside Pixar’s Revolutionary Story & Editorial Process | Sound + Image Lab

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In this special, supersized episode we take a peek behind the curtain to examine Pixar’s unique editorial process. It’s often messy and non-linear, with shots and sequences constantly being re-worked… and this might just be the secret to why their films end up feeling so cinematic and have the emotional impact that they do. At Pixar, the editor has much more authority and responsibility than their live-action and traditional cell animation counterparts. How did this come to be?

It’s all outlined in a new book by authors Bill Kinder and Bobbie O’Steen, “Making the Cut at Pixar: The Art of Editing Animation.” Bill and Bobbie join us today to discuss the history of editing at Pixar, and explain the origins of Pixar’s groundbreaking editorial process.

“If you look at Pixar short films, before they had an editor — all of the ones before ‘Toy Story’ had no editor, really, they [just] had someone assembling things — they’re very classic proscenium, 2D animation… You don’t see shot/reverse shot in classic Disney animation. It’s just not the way the grammar really worked. Whereas if you watch ‘Toy Story,’ and that was my memory when I first saw that film — it felt like a movie! And I think that difference, that turning point has to do with the editor saying, ‘Wait, we can create shots here. There’s a certain language we can use. We’re not stuck with the storyboards.’ So storyboards are telling us a lot about character and performance and plot and clarity, but now we can up the whole game with what we know about the language of camera.”

— Bill Kinder, Co-Author, “Making the Cut at Pixar: The Art of Editing Animation”

Joining the discussion are couple of legendary filmmakers — both of whom had been there since the very early days — multiple Academy Award® winning director Pete Docter and another multiple Academy Award® winning director and editor, Lee Unkrich. Rounding out this conversation we also hear from longtime collaborator and editor of Pete Docter’s, Kevin Nolting, and editor Edie Ichioka, who worked on “Toy Story 2,” to give their perspectives.

You can find “Making the Cut at Pixar: The Art of Editing Animation” wherever books are sold:


Barnes & Noble

To check out many of the Pixar films discussed in today’s episode, subscribe to Disney+.

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