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How was Pixar's 'Soul' shot? Meet the brilliant cinematographer, production designer and animators of Disney+ film

If you can't stop praising the exceptional cinematography of Pixar's 'Soul', then you have Matt Aspbury and Ian Meggiben to thank for it
UPDATED DEC 26, 2020

The much-awaited Pixar movie 'Soul' finally premiered on the day of Christmas on Disney+. 

The animated film follows Joe (voiced by Jamie Foxx), a middle school teacher who aspires to be a jazz pianist. One day, on his way back home, Joe falls into a pothole and ends up in an unfamiliar dimension — a place between life and death. After watching the film, both the audience and critics couldn't stop raving about the movie's brilliant cinematography, the impeccable production value, and the plotline. People couldn't stop singing praises of how beautifully the film was made either.

In case you watched the film, and you too can't stop praising the exceptional cinematography of the movie, then you have Matt Aspbury and Ian Meggiben to thank. The film is set in New York, and the cinematographer duo managed to add such realistic elements and textures to each shot, that it left everybody stunned. The minute attention to detail was much appreciated by everyone. This isn't the first time for Matt to knock everybody's socks off with his exceptional work. In the past, he has worked on 'Coco', another popular Pixar film, and also served in the animation department for movies such as 'Incredibles 2', 'Monsters University' and 'The Road to El Dorado', among others.

'Soul' (Disney+)

While Ian has worked as a cinematographer for 'Finding Dory', 'Toy Story of Terror' and a short film titled 'Bao', he was also the head of lighting for 'The Ant Bully', 'Jimmy Neutron: Attack of the Twonkies', and 'Jimmy Neutron: Win, Lose and Kaboom'. His other notable works include as a lighting artist for 'Inside Out', ' Brave', and 'WALL-E'. 

The production design of 'Soul' too captivated the interest of the audience. Steve Pilcher, the production designer of the film, was very excited at the prospect of getting creative when it comes to depicting souls in the film. Pilcher worked closely with the film's director, Peter Docter, to come up with a visual representation of souls that didn't resemble ghosts.

"I love things that are profound,” Pilcher said while discussing the movie. The designer and his team resorted to the usage of colored lines around the edges of the characters to help define and articulate each of the characters' emotions. The team used vibrant colors to display New York's festive spirit in the fall, while colors such as deep purples and maroons were used to highlight the jazz club environment. For The Great Before, which he describes as "un-Earth-like", he used a translucent and opaque palette. "Everything had a softness to it, and yet, it was desaturated," explained the designer. 

'Soul' (IMDB)

Great attention was paid to the shapes and structures of the afterlife settings. He declared that practicing restraint while designing the Great Before helped him. “The world is a simple one, with big and bold shapes that look like nothing you’ve ever seen before.”

Several fans took to their Twitter acccounts to appreciate the movie's storyline and the technical aspects of it. A fan tweeted, "We just finished watching #SoulMovie.Wow. Bradford Young worked as a lighting consultant on the film and I was in absolute awe at the cinematography. The music too." Another fan wrote, "Love the concepts of 'You Seminar' and 'Hall of Everything'. Find your spark! Have a life purpose! Get a life mentor. As always great cinematography from Pixar with a truly, truly meaningful message about life. 10/10! #SoulMovie @disneyplus @Disney #PixarSoul."

"Can we talk about the GORGEOUS cinematography in this film?? #SoulMovie," commented a fan. "The animation, the theme, the plot, the colors, the music, EVERYTHING—dropped when we needed it most. Absolute perfection. They really outdid themselves w this. @PixarSoul #SoulMovie," expressed a fan.





'Soul' is available for streaming on Disney+.