While at Pixar Animation, cinematographer Adam Habib (seen above right with layout leads Ryan Heuett, left, and Sunguk Chun, middle) showed off a virtual camera rig that is used to shoot within animated environments. Yes, even though the film is animated, it can still be shot as if there was a camera moving within the animated world. More often than not, they won’t create any shots that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to get if they were shooting on a real-life, practical set, to ensure there’s still a sense of realism that keeps the audience grounded. It also allows them to create various vibes, depending on how characters and environments are captured, both with various lenses and camera movements.

Since Anxiety plays such a key role in “Inside Out 2,” the filmmakers wanted to make sure that the visual language of the movie represented her presence when she was in control of the console. Habib said:

“We have this really fun new element with the character of Anxiety, and when Anxiety is driving, as you know when you feel it, the world feels really different. So we try to represent that visually. We do things like use handheld in the movie when Anxiety is driving.”

For inspiration on how to do this, they looked to “Uncut Gems,” the stressful Safdie Bros. movie starring Adam Sandler that is packed with anxiety and tension (and also has the seventh most f-bombs in any movie ever made). Habib explained how the movie influenced their camera work:

“We were thinking about movies that show anxiety really well, and one of them for me from the last few years was ‘Uncut Gems.’ I don’t know if you know this about ‘Uncut Gems,’ but they made a rule for themselves that when he’s in the front of the showroom and he’s kind of presenting and he’s in his showman role, they use Steadicam. But when they go to the back of the office, and these guys are trying to get money out of him and stuff, they use handheld. So that’s where the inspiration [came from], ‘Okay, when anxiety is driving, maybe we’re using handheld specifically for those moments.”

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