Celebrity Patent - Walt Disney invented this multi-plane camera to produce feature length movies

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Walter E. Disney received patent #2,201,689 for the art of animation on May 21, 1940. In 2002, USPTO recognized Walt Disney and his advancement in animation on the 62nd anniversary of this patent.

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The patent was for a multi-plane camera that allowed for a more realistic three-dimensional image as well as depth and richness to the animation. The multiplane camera used stacked planes of glass each painted with different elements of a cell animation. The multiplane allowed the animator to re-use the same background, foreground, or any elements not in motion, saving hours of labor. The exposure differences for each plane of glass was calculated.

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Disney’s invention enabled him to move from the standard animated short films he made famous, such as “Steamboat Willie” featuring Mickey Mouse® (trademark registration #0247156) in 1928, to the feature-length animation seen in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs®,” released in 1937 and his first film to use the multi-plane camera.

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Steamboat Willie

 

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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

The multiplane camera was used in the Walt Disney Studios during the thirties and forties to create countless animated pictures.
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Walt Disney was inducted into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame in 2000.

Another version of the patented multi-plane camera

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Disney’s original multi-plane camera

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Source: About Money; USPTO

Patent Information
Publication number: US2201689 A
Patent Title: Art of animation
Publication type: Grant
Publication date: May 21, 1940
Filing date: Sep 1, 1936
Priority date: Sep 1, 1936
Inventors: Disney Walter E
Original Assignee: Walt Disney Prod

US2201689

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