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Pixar.com Partly UPdates! [UPDATE]

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Posted by Martin • May 30, 2009

Pixar.com, notorious for rarely making changes, has finally updated! 

Update: The section for Up has now been upgraded to "Full Story" status. It includes a synopsis of the movie, characters intro and behind the scenes. There are also subsections for character bios and the inspiration for the movie. Check out concept art, full renders and quotes on the making of Pixar’s 10th film! The usual, but still worth a look through.

The site also features features the latest Pixar mini-productions, Partly Cloudyand BURN•E in the Short Films section. Both pages profile the short itself and the production of each projects, as usual, including some concept art.

The front page of Pixar.com (no changes to the design) has also gotten two new buttons. Replacing the WALL•E website link is a picture of Dug that links to Up’s official site. Peck from "Cloudy" is also on the home page, clicking on him takes you to the afformentioned film’s page.

Strangely, The Theater section of the site (in the Shorts section) has added the new shorts, but clicking on them just takes you back to their main pages.

Let’s hope later in the year we’ll get a Dug’s Special Mission page sooner than the BURN•E one!

Speaking of site updates, don’t forget to check out the brand new site for the Toy Story series!

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Angus MacLane Interview: “I’d like to direct a feature.”

BURNE, WALL-E

Posted by Martin • December 2, 2008

The Tri-City Herald’s AtomicTown.com has a very in-depth article with BURN•E director, Angus Maclane. The conversation covers MacLane’s involvements in the productions of WALL•E and it’s short, as well as his future at Pixar. Right now he’s doing animation on Up, but in the future he’d "like to direct a feature"!
To read the full interview with the Lego loving, WALL•E directing animator, click here.

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PixarPlanet WALL•E DVD Review

Blu-Ray, BURNE, Disney, DVD, Merchandise, WALL-E

Posted by Upcoming Pixar • November 17, 2008

Well just in time for the official release of the new Pixar DVD here is the review of the 3 disk special edition including Digital Copy.

The first thing people will notice that the package used is reduced in size about 50% in-accordance with the WALL•E theme of not straining our resources of over demential packages. The Package is done very nicely in that you open it by pulling the disks out from the left (Disk 1) or right (Disk 2 & Digital Copy).
The first disk contains the movie WALL•E, Presto and the short BURN•E (a must see) as well as the original trailer to UP but sadly not the newly released trailer witch was recently released.

The Second disk has the BNL shorts as well as The Pixar Story which is not done in digital surround 5.1 like the recently released european version. But still a great film about our favorite little studio.

Disk 3 contains the Digital Copy and can be activated on a Mac or PC using iTunes. This gives you a version to watch on your computer or like me, on the iPhone or iPod. I found that the activation instructions where a little off. It’s easier to just insert the disk in the computer open iTunes and then click on the disk under devices, This will open up a dialog where you then enter the code and have it transferred from your disk to your iTunes library in about 3-6 minutes depending on your drive speed. I wish Disney•Pixar in the future would also include all the shorts in the Digital Copy and not just the main film. But still better then having to illegally rip it with some software!

All-though WALL•E isn’t my favorite Pixar film its still up there in the top 5 and a must have on any account, That Pixar and Disney finally listened to there fans about releasing more then just a 1 Disk set is a great relief and something I hope will be continued hence forth. I can only recommend getting this version or the 3 Disk Blu-ray set the price difference for the extras is well worth it!

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Q&A With WALL•E’s Ben Burtt

Blu-Ray, BURNE, Disney, DVD, Interview, Pixar Employees, WALL-E

Posted by Thomas • November 13, 2008

Sound Designer Ben Burtt, probably most famous for creating the sounds of the lightsabers from Star Wars, and the crack of Indiana Jones’ whip, moved from LucasFilm to Pixar a few years ago and headed up Sound Design on WALL•E. Have a read of this Q&A below with Burtt with thanks to the folks at Disney•Pixar.


Q: You had just finished a stint on Star wars when you were offered Wall-E and I imagine the last thing you wanted to work on was robots? 

BB: That is absolutely true. Creating the illusion of voices is the hardest task. It is hard to fool voices. When Andrew pitched this idea and I realized it was all robot voices at first I thought I am sure I have anything left in me – have I got a new idea, But fortunately it was a very different set of characters. Nevertheless I
am sure I approached the same, as I always would have because of my past experience. The idea always is to create the sense of a soul with the character with sound. You are given sounds or a few words and the aim is to create the feeling that these are talking machines. You could have imposed a human voice on to the robots and audiences would have accepted that. But with Wall-E it was important to give the sound an aspect of being a machine. So I went about that task, my assignment was to create voices for the characters and audition them to Andrew. He had about 10 minutes of the opening of the movie with sketches and storyboards and said it was a little peek of what he was trying to get. I was there from the beginning, which is the best thing. I am sure that when I started that they did not know that they were going to make his film – they were still having trials and one of the hurdles to jump was to get the voices. 
Q: What was your working process like on Wall-E? 
BB: A typical day – I work alone – I would be in a sound room with my recording gear and mixing consoles, speakers and a screen so that I can project images if I want to. And I really just start improvising. I work two different ways; one is that I have a keyboard and I can put sound effects on that and I can play things. This is how I experiment. I sit alone, I suppose a little bit like musical composition and I try things on the keyboard. I discover a combination and that gives me something to work on. If I need a human input then I can record myself or I can bring in a Pixar employee because they are readily available and free (smiles) for scratch voices. That is kind of what happened with Wall-E. I was just using my own voice as a trial – I was not supposed to be the voice – but I was experimenting. Once we got a voice that we liked Andrew realized that it would be pretty hard to go back and start over with a different human voice. So we stuck with it. Plus I was there every day. I auditioned for Andrew many concepts for Wall-E. Some were sound effects because initially we did not know whether he would talk or he might just whistle like R2D2. I think the first version of Wall-E that I did was pretty much like an R2D2 type of character. It was almost with electronic tones. Every time I pitched Andrew an audition he would pick two or three things out that he liked. So I began to make a little list. And then I built up a sort of favorites list.
When Andrew first showed me the maybe 10 minutes or so of the storyboards cut together, and the opening of the movie, it had some music and some sound effects in it. That was kind of a way of enticing me into understanding the project. It was that opening song, the vocal in that song that appealed to me in a way that I sort of connected that with the Wall-e character. There’s a feeling about that, so to some extent maybe the pitch of the voice started out that way, that kind of innocent feeling that was a thread that I picked up on in that. As I’ve said, we went through lots of experiments trying Wall-e as just motor sounds only, some that there were beeps
and whistles, a little bit more in the R2 realm. Although we extracted bits from all of those experiments, when it came down to some of the more expressive vocals it was a little bit in that tone, from that singing voice. I’m not sure why, there was obviously something very charming and appealing about that song. I couldn’t quite pin it down. I have always felt that the best way to get a robot voice is to have a human element and an electronic element and blend the two. So I worked out a circuit where I started with my voice and broke that down in the computer and then re-synthesized it. And the voice of EVE was done in a similar way. We used a woman at Pixar, who was named Elissa Knight. We started using her as a scratch track and once again, just like with me, once I ran it through the laborious computer process, we got results that we liked, and we felt we should keep it. For one sound I had heard a generator in a John Wayne movie called Island In The Sky. It was a generator they cranked and I thought I had to get one of those. I got one on E-bay that had not been unpacked since 1950. There are the sophisticated electronic things I do and like the generator there are things like the old days
of radio when you used props. 
Q: What has been the most unusual prop you used? 
BB: Apart from the generator you could name something that is a household item and it is probably in the film. There is an electronic toothbrush in there. 
Q: Legend has it that you use everything that comes into your life as part of the sounds you create, even your wife’s pregnancy, is this true? 
BB: I’ve always found, when you’re trying to create illusions with sound, especially in a science fiction or fantasy movie, that pulling sounds from the world around us is a great way to cement that illusion because you can go out and record an elevator in George Lucas’s house or something, and it will have that motor sound. It will be an elevator and you might associate it with that, but if you use it in a movie people will believe it’s a force field, or maybe it’s the sound of a spaceship door opening. The story about my wife was on Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers. We went to listen to a sonogram of the child, my daughter Alice who’s now grown up and has her own child. It was this great, throbbing sound, and at that time I was looking for the sound of an alien pod germinating and it sounded exactly like the alien pod germinating, so why not? But it did work, because it was a heartbeat and it was something from the womb and it was about these alien characters coming alive and being born, so there was probably some connection there that worked emotionally since we all were in the womb at one time. It’s forging those connections between familiar sound and illusionary sound that I think is the basis of the success for a lot of the sounds that sound designers have put in these movies. So whatever is happening in the environment, one of the reasons I’m so happy the movie’s coming out now is that all the news is so dire, this is actually such an encouraging movie to watch about the environment. 
Q: Were you conscious of the environmental issues that are in Wall-e when you were working on the film? 
BB: Not really, only the way the story was expressed. This came out as the film grew and took on its details. I accepted from the start the premise of the story, and like Andrew was saying science fiction rarely starts with a happy village that you start out with this lonely robot in a toxic wasteland I suppose my first concerns were what does a toxic wasteland sound like? You can’t smell it; it’s not Smell-O-Vision so we can’t do it that way. I did try and accomplish sounds that would bring a very lonely, isolating kinds of tones that reflected Wall-e’s isolation. But that agenda was not really in the forefront, I accepted it as the setting of the story, obviously as we see this reaction to the film coming at this time, you see it as an echo, a coincidence of good timing. Often issues
that are in films that are there for a legitimate reason come at a time when the film gets its attention, and it’s one of those fortuitous moments now, that element gives you a point of discussion and gives you that much more value, which to us as entertainers, that’s fantastic. It gives us an added dimension. 
Q: How proud are you of Wall-e? 
BB: I am most proud when I see that people get it! When people come and say it’s a masterpiece it’s hard to think about those reactions. I’m very proud of it all. I see it as a great opportunity, most sound people don’t get the assignment to create worlds of sound and get freedom to try a lot of things and then get the scrutiny and support of the team over a long period of time. Most sound work in films is done very quickly, and at the end of the schedule where it’s just jammed together and you always wish that you had more sympathy.
I’ve been on this film for three years, so the work was being embedded right from the beginning, sometimes we would do some sounds and then do an animation test to try those sounds out. Those kinds of opportunities are great. So of course I’m very proud of that, what film gives you a chance to do sound effects as well as key voices in the film. Maybe the only other big assignment would be to do a movie with no music and see where you could go……………I love the music of course. What you do as a sound designer is something like doing music you’re creating, sounds especially in a film like this, when you thinking what part of the story can those sounds play emotionally. Maybe they’re there to support credibility, to make these things seem real. That’s important, but it’s also great when you’re on an assignment and your director asks you for a motor that sounds cute, or wants more pathos in that servo. Those are not the questions you usually get when you’re rushing to get sound effects put in the movie. 
Q: What is your favorite scene? 
BB: What’s the biggest explosion in the film? I really love the scene where they’re out in space together with the fire extinguisher, I think it’s the lyrical nature of that, the calm in the middle of the storm. That moment, there’s something about putting those two characters out there dancing in space that really takes me back to Peter Pan when I was a kid. I love that film, I think I was five years old when I saw it, I made my mother take me two or three times in one week which was unheard of in those days. It’s that wonderful ability to be transported to a wonderful place where you feel warm and completely secure. Where it occurs in the movie it feels that way to me, it’s great.

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Did you know over 2,400 sounds were created for WALL•E? Download this fact file of facts about WALL•E’s sound design by clicking here
Be sure to listen in for the sounds again on November 18 with the home video release of WALL•E.

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Angus MacLane talks BURN•E

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Posted by Martin • November 13, 2008

Briefly: Cinema Blend has a very insightful interview with BURN•E director Angus MacLane. The Q & A covers the meaning of BURN•E’s name (Basic Utility Repair Nano Engineer), a few inside jokes (including something added in just for Brad Bird) and the production process of this hilarious short.
Read the full article here.

BURN•E is coming November 18th on the WALL•E DVD and Blu-ray! 

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Extra BURN•E Shots

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Posted by Martin • November 11, 2008

Briefly: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment and Click Communications bring you 4 new publicity shots of the upcoming Pixar short, BURN•E!

Click on the links below for high resolution shots:
Shot 1
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Shot 2
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Shot 3
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Shot 4

WALL•E is coming soon to Disney DVD and Blu-ray, November 18th!

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BURN•E Screenshots/Up Trailer News

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Posted by Martin • November 5, 2008

The Pixar Blog has some (non-spoilerific) screenshots from Pixar’s latest short, BURN-E. The short runs 7:35 and is directed by Angus MacLane as previously reported.

Just as a tidbit, Pixar publicity has confirmed that the DVD/Blu-ray Up trailer is the same one that was previously released on the official Up website. Pixar Publicity also confirmed that the new Up trailer will in fact be attached to Disney’s Bolt coming soon to theatres November 21st.

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WALL•E DVD Packaging Preview [Update]

BURNE, DVD, WALL-E

Posted by Martin • November 2, 2008

A user over at UltimateDisney.com has recieved an ealy copy of WALLE on 3 disc DVD and has very kindly photographed the packaging. The DVDs are enclosed in "Earth (and Space) Friendly Eco-Packaging" which slips out to the sides with the DVDs and scene selection/bonus material guides. The pictures also offer a peek at the BURNE character shot and logo. Apparently when you buy this DVD you get a promotional Up mini-poster.

Edit: The post has been updated to feature screencaps from the menus on the DVD. They look amazing!

Thanks to johoitsjoefosho from the Pixar Planet Forums and to lighthousemike from Ultimate Disney for sharing these pictures.

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Angus MacLane Directing BURN•E

Blu-Ray, BURNE, DVD, Short Film, WALL-E

Posted by Martin • August 29, 2008

Briefly: Famed Pixar animator Angus Maclane will be directing the much awaited short film BURN•E according to Animated World News! The movie based short is expected November 18th on the WALL•E DVD and Blu-ray. 

The lucky few visiting Pixar on October 11th (more info here) will be treated to an advanced screening of the short and will be able to speak to Angus himself, who was also directing animator on WALL•E. Check back here for more info on this project soon.

(via AWN)

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Pixar Opens Its Doors October 11th

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Posted by Martin • August 28, 2008

Pixar’s annual Cartoon Art Museum benefit is here once again! It’s the fifth annual fundraiser for CMA and the second family fun day at Pixar. The studio’s gates open for outsiders Saturday, October 11th for a price of $200 per person (or for groups of 10 $2,000).
 
The event kicks of at 5:30 in the famed atrium where guests will be able to roam around and look at original WALL•E art. At 6:30, guest will enter the 235 seat theatre to get a behind the scenes look at the making of Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille and WALL•E. You will also be treated to an advance screening of Pixar’s next short, BURN-E!

After the presentation guests can talk to Pixar employees in the atrium and hang out. You will also get access to the newly refurbished Pixar Studio Store. There will be food and refreshments available aswell.

For more information or to purchase tickets call 410-CARTOONS ext. 300.

(via Jim Hill Media)

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