A Bug's Life Becomes First All-Digital DVD Release
In a joint statement by Steve Jobs, chairman and CEO of Pixar, and Thomas Schumacher, president of Walt Disney Feature Animation, it was announced that A Bug's Life will be the first feature-film video release on DVD to be created entirely from digital data. Video releases of previous "completely digital" films, such as Toy Story, were created through an analog film-to-videotape process. The DVD for A Bug's Life is the first to be created using the original digital computer data and an all-digital process. The DVD release presents the film in its original widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is due for release on April 20, 1999.
According to Jobs, "A Bug's Life on DVD is the world's first feature-film release to be created and distributed 'beginning-to-end' using all digital technology. This industry milestone realizes the full promise of Pixar's new digital animation medium and the new DVD digital distribution medium."
To create a full-screen VHS-format video release, Pixar artists used proprietary computer tools to digitally "reframe" widescreen images to fit the television aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The entire film was reframed, shot by shot, with the greatest attention given to translating the widescreen shots to successful compositions in the television aspect ratio. Characters and props were actually moved closer together where necessary. As a result of changes made in the camera's field of view or movement, more than half the movie was recomputed.
Pixar Executive VP and Chief Technical Officer Ed Catmull says, "The reframing of A Bug's Life breaks new ground in delivering a single animated feature in two vastly different formats: the widescreen film format of theatrical and DVD releases and the narrow-screen television format of VHS releases. We have dramatically minimized the creative compromises that are usually required to produce a full-screen VHS release."