Camera and Lighting: Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out

I am being provided an all expenses paid trip to cover specific events. All opinions and experiences are my own

It’s the digital age! Thanks to computers, film makers can replicate both lighting effects and simulate live action cameras. During my visit to San Francisco in April, I met with Director of Photography, Patrick Lin and Pixar’s Lighting Artist, Angelique Reisch.

While creating Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out, film makers used a variety of techniques to create moods depending on what is being shown in the film. Different techniques were used whether a scene was inside Riley’s mind or in the outside world. Even individual characters had different lighting and movement.


The Outside World
more distortion
imperfect focus
mechanical camera movement

The Inside World (the mind)
minimal distortion
spot on focus
organic camera movement
more saturated

3D Digital sets are used for staging and blocking in Inside Out. Then, a live action digital camera is used to film. The camera style movement combined with character placement has a significant impact on the mood of the scene.

At the beginning of the film, Riley is often between her parents, in the center of the world. As the story progresses, we see her to the side, almost as if she is outside looking in. The feeling this simple placement creates is significant.

Sounds a lot like live action doesn’t it? But this is all digital animation. Pretty cool, isn’t it?

Lighting Up Joy
Joy’s emotional arcs in Inside Out match the intensity of the camera shots. Imagine Joy as a light bulb. She is shaped with color, from warm to cool and more desaturated. (All of the characters have that inner glow look to them). Joy’s light is cast onto other characters and even the set.

Lighting can do so much!
Lighting can contrast settings and even relationships.
Lighting directs the viewers eye.
Lighting creates depth.
Lighting enhances mood, atmosphere & drama.
Lighting creates time of day.
Lighting reveals a characters personality and situation.


Without the talent of Patrick Lin and Angelique Reisch,and their team, Inside Out would not be what it is. I’m excited to take my family to see it next month!

Inside Out will be in Theaters on June 19, 2015

About Kerri Jablonski

Kerri Jablonski AKA The Maven lives in Seattle,WA with her 3 kids (2008, 2010, 2013), husband, cats and backyard chickens. Two of her children have special needs. Kerri enjoys cooking, travel, movies and spending time with her family.

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