Pixar’s Knick Knack


Good evening! 

Following the workshop with Robert Bradbook on storyboarding this week, I learnt some really cool aspects within animation!

The animation we focused on was Pixar’s Knick Knack, considering composition, camera movement and the effect that it creates.


We can use camera shots alongside camera movement to create a certain effect or to present characters in certain ways.

1. Types of shot:

  • Close up
  • Medium Shot
  • Established Shot
  • POV
  • Reaction

2. Types of camera movements:

  • Tracking
  • Panning

Example 1

Established Shot & Tracking (0:45)

This established shot sets the scene and scale of the toys for the audience, while the tracking emphasizes the distance between the snowman and the rest of the toys.

Example 2

Medium Shot & Cutaway & POV

The medium allows us to see the snowman’s facial expression and in particular his reaction to the POV. The close-up POV also acts as a cutaway and allows the snowman to move and change to a full shot.


Composition: Crossing the line.

It is clear that the right side belongs to the snowman, whereas the left side is where the rest of the toys are. This is always clear and consistent as the characters never cross ‘the line’ after the scene is set in the established shot (0:48).

Interestingly, in the end, when we think that the snowman has finally reached his goal, the directer switches his position to be on the left side of the screen – suggesting that he is finally where he wants to be.

We then realise that this is not the case as the snow globe then slowly falls on top of the snowman again.



Pixar Animated Studios (1989). Knick Knack. [image] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uhM_SUhdaw [Accessed 7 Feb. 2019].

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