CinemaCon: 'Inside Out' Director on Using the "Language of Light" for Story

Inside Out H 2015
Courtesy of Disney/Pixar

Inside Out H 2015

"We’ve got to do that!" agreed Inside Out director Pete Docter and producer Jonas Rivera after seeing Dolby’s newfangled Dolby Vision format — which offers high dynamic range, greater contrast and a wider color gamut — just months before their film was due for completion.

Inside Out goes inside the head of a young girl, where five different emotions — joy, anger, disgust, fear and sadness — manage their 11-year-old. Led by Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), the emotions also maintain the girl’s memories at their "headquarters."

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter following the film’s preview at CinemaCon, which was screened in Dolby Vision, Docter described the new format as another tool that could be used to emphasize emotion and said it was ideal for Inside Out. “The main character [Joy] and the memories are light sources, so the language of light was built into the story.”

The filmmakers used the Dolby Vision palette to great effect for the storytelling in the well-received film. That started with creating two different worlds: the human world and headquarters. “We wanted the human world to feel relatively tame, subdued. We didn’t go to black, we went to gray, and we didn’t let it get as bright as it could,” explained Docter. “Then we wanted headquarters to look like a heightened reality. ... Really sock it to you, with the colors way up."

“We can really use this color palette,” added Rivera, citing as an example the way the white and black tones are used in the opening scene, which begins with deep black and then fades up to a bright white and reveals a baby being born.

Rivera related that just before the young girl's first memory is revealed, “We pulled everything way down, so that the memory blooms of richness.”

Added Docter: “We purposely held back for impact; it’s about contrast [which we used] for core memories.”

When asked whether the memories in the film come from their own personal stories, Rivera responded that “almost all of it comes from us being parents, constantly observing our kids to make the story feel truthful and real.”

Referring to one specific memory in the film, Docter added, “My son would stick his tongue out when he was coloring."

The pair said they would be sharing their Dolby Vision experience with the team behind The Good Dinosaur, which Pixar is scheduled to release on Nov. 25. And they're "already talking about how we can use it" on their next, though not yet selected, feature project.

Inside Out, which opens June 19, and Disney's May 22 release, Tomorrowland, will be the first films to be released in the Dolby Vision format — at select theaters that install the new projection system.