The Walt Disney Animation Studios is celebrating its centennial year with a special restoration project. This summer, Disney+ started releasing a collection of 27 newly restored classic Walt Disney Animation Studios shorts. The restorations are being spearheaded by the Walt Disney Studios Restoration and Preservation team, led by director Kevin Schaeffer. The team includes creative advisors from Walt Disney Animation Studios, such as special projects and 2D animation producer Dorothy McKim, production designer Mike Giaimo, and animator/director Eric Goldberg.
Karen Weissman, Restoration and Preservation Manager at The Walt Disney Studios, recently discussed the team’s creative process and the challenges they faced during the restoration project. According to Weissman, each short presented different restoration difficulties, as some of the original elements were missing. However, the team worked diligently to find the best sources for image quality and audio.
Weissman admitted that she was not familiar with all of the shorts prior to the project, but she has since become intimately acquainted with each frame. When asked about the most valuable restoration, Weissman mentioned the significance of seeing Pluto in his early stages and witnessing his transformation. She also highlighted the restoration of the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit shorts, which were previously owned by Universal until Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, secured the rights.
In terms of honoring the different versions of certain characters, Weissman explained that the team used available references from the times and consulted with animators to ensure consistency. She emphasized the importance of maintaining the original look and feel of the characters.
When asked about her favorite short, Weissman admitted that it is a tough decision but mentioned her love for Chip and Dale. Working on “Chips Ahoy,” an early example of Cinemascope, was particularly exciting for her.
Bringing these restored shorts to Disney+ has been a fantastic experience for the team. Weissman expressed her joy in making these shorts easily accessible to audiences, noting the positive feedback received from people who were able to introduce them to their families.
The restoration of these classic Walt Disney Animation Studios shorts is a fitting tribute to the studio’s 100th anniversary. Disney+ has made it a priority to honor the legacy of these beloved shorts by making them available to fans worldwide.