8 Tech Innovations That Have Fueled Disney’s Rise

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History has compiled 8 Tech innovations that have kept Disney on the cutting edge for the last century plus, see number 3 below and check out the full list!

3. Technicolor

The Technicolor process for making movies in color dates back to the 1910s. But Walt Disney was among the first animators to embrace it.

In 1932, the Technicolor Motion Picture Corporation introduced a new and much improved process known as “three-strip” Technicolor and wanted the big movie studios’ cartoon departments to give it a trial run. (In simple terms, the three-step process uses prisms inside the camera to split the light that comes in through the lens into green, red and blue, recording each on a separate strip of black-and-white film. Those images are then treated with dyes and combined to create what appears to be a single, full-color image.)

Unfortunately, “no cartoonist would have it,” H.T. Kalmus, the company’s co-founder, recalled in 1938. “We were told cartoons were good enough in black and white, and that of all departments of production, cartoons could least afford the added expense. Finally, Walt Disney tried it as an experiment on one of his ‘Silly Symphonies.’”

Recognizing the superiority of the new process, Disney was willing to bear the added cost of new cameras and specialized technicians to operate them. His Disney’s Flowers and Trees (1932) became not only the first three-strip Technicolor cartoon—but the first cartoon to win an Academy Award.

Walt Disney bought exclusive rights to use three-strip Technicolor in his cartoons from 1932 to 1935. That meant that other studios were stuck with inferior color processes, contributing to Disney’s growing reputation for technical excellence. Disney’s first full-length animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, used the process to spectacular effect, although the film’s staggering production costs earned it the nickname “Disney’s Folly”—until its equally staggering box-office receipts began to roll in.


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