Before Motion Capture Animators Used Live Actors For Cartoon References

Oct 1, 2015 By John-Michael Bond

Have you ever looked back at a classic Disney film and wondered how they managed to create such realistic movements from their human characters? Today animators use computers and motion capture suits to build magical worlds, but in 1951 when Alice in Wonderland was made such technology didn’t exist. Disney had a clever way to work around this limitation, however. They just used live actors. 

Meet Kathryn Beaumont or, as you’ve known her before, Alice. 

When Beaumont was a little girl, she was hired to play the part of Alice in the animated film. She shot the entire movie on a soundstage, and then animators used her performance as a reference when they were drawing the final film you saw on the screen. This video shows you Beaumont’s previously unseen performance during the making of Alice in Wonderland. It’s a shame she never got a chance to play Alice properly on the big screen, but at least we can celebrate her performance now after all these years. 

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