Well, a blog entry has to have a flashy title to grab you by the throat and pull you right in. In reality there was nothing secret, no conspiracy and only Xerox.
During the time, when Dick funded the film privately, many of the greatest war machine scenes had been animated. And they had all been traced on cels. As Holger has written earlier, these cels were gigantic. The Layout for the scene “Kettle” for example was 66 x 30 cm.
It was quite clear early on that there would be no war machine cel tracing any more. Time and monetary constraints forbid that. So it was decided that the animation would have to be photocopied (or xeroxed) on cels. But of course, with a film shot in glorious 35-mill cinemascope and to be presented on big screens, there was no way, we would animate these awesome battle scenes on A3 or even A 4 paper. That would be like watching Picasso’s “
Luckily a shop that did A3 laser Xeroxes with brown toner on cells was found after extensive research. In the meantime
But there was after all a little problem to the whole idea: The Xerox machine would distort every copy ever so slightly. And it would distort it always in a different place. So it was not just a matter of placing the xeroxed cel over the original drawing and pegging it. We literally had to make 3 Xeroxes of each drawing and then peg the keys first and afterwards re-peg all the in-between Xeroxes according to the Xerox keys. Staring on 3-5 transparent levels of cels, each loaded with many little one-eyes does mess with your eyes and brains after a while, I can tell you that. So if you fail to grasp the concept behind the “secret Xerox conspiracy”, it is not your fault, but clearly an after effect of me working too many hours on these scenes.
To add insult to injury, let me quote Neil Boyle “Give Dietmar a Xerox machine and he gives you three feet of animation a week”