Walt Disney’s MultiPlane Camera

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs." --San Antonio Express-News

An evening pause: This was filmed in 1957, and was almost certainly made to be shown as part of Disney’s weekly television show series for kids that began in 1954 and was one of television’s most popular shows in the 1960s. It describes one of the most important technical developments in animation, developed by Disney, until the arrival of computers.

To repeat: This was made for kids, yet it is thoughtful, entertaining, educational, and quite detailed in the information being conveyed. It treats its young audience with great respect and dignity.

I generally do not watch children’s shows today, but the few that I have seen have generally been quite shallow, overwrought, and would have insulted me, when I was a child. I don’t know if today’s kids would react the same today, because when I was a child Disney’s show was somewhat typical. I expected to be treated with respect. Today’s kids might not have that expectation.

Hat tip Wayne DeVette.


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  • Ted

    If memory serves wasn’t this esentially the same system used in Mary Poppins when Dick VanDyke did his dance with the penguins?

  • Phil Berardelli

    The genius and painstaking effort required to produce animated features in the days before CGI (e.g., nearly 130,000 individual, hand-painted cells for a 90-minute feature) were supremely impressive. I once had the privilege of interviewing some of the Disney animators for their late-’80s release “The Black Cauldron.” They had been with the organization nearly half a century by then, but their enthusiasm and love of the medium remained undimmed.

  • John

    I remember seeing this on the weekly Walt Disney show. Probably in the 60’s, but that’s so long ago it all blends together.

  • Edward

    Walt Disney says, “The trick of the multiplane camera is movement.”

    Another trick is getting all the planes in focus at the same time. This requires depth of field, which is easily done with a pinhole camera or with a high F-stop. But this requires either more lighting on the object being filmed or more exposure time. As we can see in the video, they keep the small aperture open for a couple of seconds in order to get enough light through it.

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