Lotte Reiniger


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Robert Mc Coy

Jeremy Speed Schwartz

Survey of Animation & Visual Effects

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Lotte Reiniger

There are many well-known famous animators throughout the world, but none as known as Lotte Reiniger. She is known for her stop motion animations Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, and Prince Achmed. All these animations have few things in common, but the most common medium used for her stop motion is her intricate cutouts.

Lotte Reiniger is a German animator well known for her stop motion animation, with the use of paper. She was also known for being one of three different animators that went into a feature film. Not only was this great for her time but she was one of three women who went into feature film (Palfreyman 1). She later continued to animate film in Germany and Britain during World War two, and that was when she made Princess Achmed. Which was known as her full-length feature film.

Her intricate cutouts can be seen throughout almost all her works from her film, Prince Achmed, to her shorts. As seen in this image taken from her film Prince Achmed, she took all the paper used and made small designs into the gazeebo with the lamp. Lotte also used special effects in a way for her feature film Prince Achmed. When the Wizards would appear and fight




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she used watered down paint on her multi-plane to give the wizards effects for their spells.


Not only did she add detail into her cutouts, but the amount of time and effort used in making the background. From the image, it looks like Lotte used a multi-plane, which is described as glass planes used as different layers. Specifically, what a multi-plane is a set of multiple clear planes that when placing an object on that plane it will create a layer. Once that first layer is created you can place another object on a different layer, and once you take a top view camera shot, the layers would give the look a single developed image.

Even though Prince Achmed was he most famous works, because it was her first full length movie. Some of her other works showed some amazing animation, compared to her feature film. Her short Hansel and Gretel was about the old folk tale about two children who gets lost in the woods. The smoothness of the animation is astounding, giving the fact that the

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animation was done completely with paper. Also, the amount of detail never changed within her shorts, compared to her longer feature films. Not only does she use eminence amount of detail, but she uses that intricacy to aid her in her animation. For example, in her feature film Prince Achmed she used the leaves from the palm trees to give a sense of motion blur. She also demonstrates this same technique in the oldest child’s hair in her short Hansel and Gretel.

Another method of animation the Lotte used was known as strata-cut animation. The premise of this animation is to use a log of clay to make motion within the log of clay. Lotte tested this method in her feature film Prince Achmed. In the scene when the Wizard casts his spell, shown below.


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So how strata-cutting works is, you mold a clay log with many types of colors or different types of clay. Then you would cut thin slices of that log off, one by one, and take pictures of that clay log making an animation. It can be seen in the image above, within the background of the image.

Even though Lotte is well known for her fluid stop motion, she does have her issues. With all that detail within her cut outs comes at a price, all that time needed to make each individual cut-out would take so much time. Not only would it take time to just make one character, out of paper with that detail, but having each specific motion for each character. The number of cut-outs needed for a rotation would be difficult it-self, but with all those intricate details would take more time to make. Another issue comes to play when the small details like leaves blowing in the wind can cause so much extra work, but it will give the animation a life like look.

After the completion of Prince Achmed Lotte did not make another feature length film (Kemp). She then concentrated on shorts like, Harlekin and Der kleine Schornsteinfeger, this allowed her to focus on other means of funding. After a while she was running so low on funding that she needed to resort to illustration books. Then World War Two began, but during that time she made around sixty films. Unfortunately, many works were destroyed during World War Two by the Germans, and her works were reduced to forty. “After the Nazis seized power Reiniger turned her back on Germany, “because I don’t like this whole Hitler thing and because I had many Jewish friends whom I was no longer allowed to call friends.”” (Reiniger)(Lotte).

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Lotte Reiniger is known for many things and being an very good stop motion animator, because of her intricate cut-outs. Not only is she known for her animations, but with her feature length film that helped get her name out. Also from her shorts she could experiment with many forms of animation, like strata-cutting and multi-planing. With the result of World War Two, her compositions dwindled to a minimum, but her works still made her well known.














Works Cited

  • Reiniger, Lotte. Screen Online. Phillip Kemp, N/A,
  • Palfreyman, Rachel. “Life And Death In The Shadows: Lotte Reiniger’s Die Abenteuer Des Prinzen Ahmed.” German Life & Letters1 (2011): 6-18. Academic Search Complete. Web. 1 Dec. 2016.


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