I've been a Disney animated movie lover since I was old enough to watch my first films. I remember watching The Fox and the Hound in the movie theatre the summer I turned 5. Disney has a way of making movies—across the ages—for the kid in all of us. I love The Fox and The Hound just as much today as the day I first saw it in the theatre. Big Hero 6 is bound to be one of those timeless Disney animated features.
When I was in LA this summer, I had the chance to chat with Directors Chris Williams and Don Hall and Producer Roy Conli about the new Disney Animation Studios (DAS) feature film Big Hero 6.
Conli has been with DAS for 21 years, but he says that there has never been a “more creative and vibrant time than now” at DAS. The Story Trust at DAS is a group of directors that works with individual directors to help shape and create their films. The Story Trust has worked on lots of films over the years, including Bolt, Winnie the Pooh, The Princess and the Frog, Wreck-it Ralph, Tangled, Frozen, and now Big Hero 6. “We keep pushing ourselves to make each and every film unique and engaging, and at the same time we want to make sure that we are filling it full of heart and humor that the audience is expecting of Disney animation,” Conli said. “This film has that same heart. We continue to create new worlds and new characters.”
The creation of the movie Big Hero 6 was inspired by a lesser known Marvel comic series of the same name. The title is the biggest thing in common with the source material. The names of the characters are from the source materials, “but from there we took it and we were inspired to create an original story set in a new unique world that is totally made up and totally originated out of this building,” said Hall.
The 14-year old boy genius who specializes in robotics, Hiro Hamada, lives in the city of San Fransokyo. “It's a city of the near future and a blend of San Francisco and Tokyo,” said Williams.
When I was visiting the studios in July, Conli mentioned that all hands were on deck finishing up the animation on the movie. Everything is created. While it's nearly impossible to put an exact figure on how many person hours goes into creating a DAS feature film, Conli did say that for 4–5 months, about 400 people were working 60 hours/week to pull the feature together. I had no idea just how long it took to create an animated feature film. Hall said he started his research for Big Hero 6 the week after Winnie the Pooh was released in theaters—which was July 15, 2011. That's more than 3 years to complete Big Hero 6!
Here is a closer look at some of the research, visual development art (vis dev art), and progressions used and developed in the process of creating an animated feature film.
Big Hero 6 Trailer
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BIG HERO 6 opens in theaters everywhere on November 7th!