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[Earthsea mainpage] Gedo Senki
(Tales from Earthsea)

Goro Miyazaki's Blog Translation (Page 13)

6th January 2006

Number 13 - A light showing through the clouds

The setting for the film is the archipelago world of Earthsea. The story starts from the sudden appearance of a dragon in the Eastern Sea, where only humans live.

Yesterday I discussed with Mr. Momose[1], Mr. Okui of the imaging section[2] and Mr. Takeshige of the art section[3] what to do with the layout of the scene where a ship sailing on a sea under low hanging clouds catches sight of the dragon.

First, a shaft of light shines through the clouds from behind the ship and in that light a dragon shaped shadow can be seen. Then, the dragon, together with the light, bears down over the ship, and finally the light hits the water in front of the boat.

This is because the clouds flow faster than the ship, which has to catch the wind in its sails, and overtaken it part way through the scene. When that happens, if, for example, you put an overhead cut in the middle, what position the light strikes the sea, when seen from the boat, is to some extent decided.

But this doesn't mean you can just draw according to theory. More than anything else it has to be good as a "picture". When the light and the dragon come out from between the clouds and pass over the ship, sailing past underneath with the wind filling its sails, where do you put the cloud, light, dragon and ship? How do you make the pictures go forward in a dramatic way while maintaining consistency?

Just pursuing minute fidelity alone is to lose the really important thing, dramatic impact. On the other hand, just pursuing a good picture and ignoring consistency is to lose realism.
What you are shooting for is consistency that fits with brilliant pictures.

At this meeting, thanks to the knowledge brought by all three of us, we settled on the forward direction of the cut satisfactorily. The rest we left in the hands of Mr Takeshige of the art division who will draw the actual backgrounds.

Takeshige-san, I'm counting on you!

Translator's Notes

[1]: Presumably Yoshiyuki Momose, credited as a key animator on Spirited Away.

[2]: Presumably Atsushi Okui, Director of Digital Imaging on Spirited Away.

[3]: Presumably Youji Takeshige, Art Director on Spirited Away.

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