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Video: Wired Interview with The Blue Umbrella Director, Saschka Unseld

courtesy Wired.com
AL_unseld4_ss[1]Saschka Unseld, director of the new Pixar short  The Blue Umbrella, at the company’s Emeryville, California, headquarters.   |   Photo: Chris Mueller
BU_Poster_ScanArt_b
The vintage-style poster for The Blue Umbrella belies the technical innovations and massive computer time required to make the film.   |   Courtesy of Pixar
THE BLUE UMBRELLA
On a rainy evening commute, two … umbrellas … fall hopelessly in love.   |   Courtesy of Pixar
THE BLUE UMBRELLA
A scene from The Blue Umbrella, showing the film’s dazzling photo-realistic animation.   |   Courtesy of Pixar
Ever since A Bug’s Life in 1998, every Pixar movie has opened with a short film that, while sometimes experimental in structure and animation, always hewed to the studio’s famed aesthetic. The directors have typically been plucked from the story department, where Pixar artists often go on to helm feature films.

In June, Pixar’s latest, Monsters University, comes with the expected pre-feature short. But The Blue Umbrella is something different. It’s the studio’s first try at photorealistic animation—and its director is the first to come not from story but from Pixar’s camera and staging department. Animation fans, meet Saschka Unseld.

A technical artist by trade, Unseld worked on the cinematography of films like Toy Story 3, for which he spent months tweaking shots of the horrified faces of Woody and friends as they approached the incinerator (“a dark time,” as he calls it). At Pixar anyone can submit short-film ideas, and Unseld developed a pitch based on a photo that had stuck in his mind of an abandoned umbrella. A panel of Pixar heavyweights liked it enough to send Unseld to John Lasseter, who approved the story. The Blue Umbrella was born.

Unseld says he’s trying to create magic that can only be achieved when a story is set in our mundane world—a magic he realized with new illumination techniques, motion-capture work, and countless hours of computer power (some frames took as long as 30 hours to render). “There are no limits to how animation can look and feel,” he says. “I’m interested in pushing people’s perceptions of what an animated movie can be.” Even if it’s only for six minutes and 45 seconds.

Thank you, TiA

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This entry was posted on June 19, 2013 by in HOLLYWOOD, VIDEO and tagged , , , , , , , .

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