Sunday, October 17, 2010

Disney's Time-Lapse & Tilt-Shift Videos

Today, we'll show you a lot of time-lapse videos from Disney and an interview with Todd Heiden, International PR. Director, Disney Destinations LLC.

The first video is the newest one: A Model Vacation on Disney Cruise Line [Tilt-Shift Video]

The next video is the most famous and the one I like the most!!! It shows a day at the Magic Kingdom and also uses a technique called Tilt-Shift.

You've seen the Magic Kingdom in tilt-shift photography. Now see Epcot at Walt Disney World in Florida from a whole new perspective. The exclusive video first featured on The Disney Parks Blog was created from a series of photos snapped inside the park. Our celebration begins at Spaceship Earth and after a brief trip through Future World, shifts to some of out favorite World Showcase areas. There's another special ending with Mickey too. Oh, and this time there's fireworks as well. Enjoy!

Another Tilt-Shift video: Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade 2009

Tilt-Shift miniature faking is a creative technique whereby a photograph of a life-size location or object is manipulated to give an optical illusion of a photograph of a miniature scale model.

Altering the focus of the photography in Photoshop (or similar program) simulates the shallow depth of field normally encountered with macro lenses making the scene seem much smaller than it actually is.

In addition to focus manipulation, the tilt-shift photography effect is improved by increasing color saturation and contrast, to simulate the bright paint often found on scale models.

Most faked tilt-shift photographs are taken from a high angle to further simulate the effect of looking down on a miniature. The technique is particularly effective on buildings, cars, trains and people.

Tilt-Shift photography is all about changing the angle of the camera to give a different perspective and to make something look bigger or smaller. Like when you play poker and your chips are stacked and all lined up, from on top they don’t look like much but if you look from the bottom they could look huge.

To learn more about the technique to do videos and photos using this technique, visit:

Tilt-Shift Wikipedia

An Introduction to Canon’s New Tilt-Shift Lenses

Tilt-Shift Photography Photoshop Tutorial

Tilt-Shift Online Generator

50 Amazing Examples of Tilt-Shift Photography

75+ Stunning Tiltshift Photography Collection

Making of Magic Kingdom Park Tilt-Shift Video

When we posted last week’s Magic Kingdom tilt-shift video, the hope was that a few of you would enjoy the experiment. But oh my…were we surprised. Response was overwhelming.

Some Disney Parks Blog commenters said they were moved to tears. Others cheered and described it as a mini vacation. And yes, we heard those of you who asked for more. So, we immediately found the creative “eye” and champion of the project — David Roark, manager of creative photography for Disney’s Yellow Shoes Creative Group. David sat down with us and shared how he did it.

Tilt-Shift Still Frame

Thomas Smith: This type of project has never been attempted at Disney Parks. How’d you make it work?
David Roark: It was a lot of trial and error. My first two or three trips out of the box I was like, ‘This is not going to work.’ It’s a combination of your height on the scene and in the Magic Kingdom Park there’s just not a lot of fixed platforms where you can lock a camera off for five minutes without it moving. But there’s also lightning and consistency of exposure. We started this in the middle of summer and if you start a sequence and a little cloud comes by, you need to start it over again because the clouds darken the scene so much. So, it was very trial and error. This was on the job training for me.

TS: Was it difficult to find the perfect shots?
DR: In the case of this one, nobody really knew what we were doing. (I said) “just trust me and work with me here, this will all make sense.”

Making of Tilt-Shift

 TS: What lenses did you use?
DR: Nikon makes three tilt-shift lenses, they’re basically architectural lenses and we’re using them in a diametrically opposed application than what they’re built for. They’re built to actually allow you to increase the focal plane in a scene and make everything in focus. For tilt-shift, we turn them the opposite way and back tilt the focal plane so that hardly anything is in focus. And that creates that miniaturation effect.

TS: What was on your mind while putting this together?
DR: For me, it became as much a transportation story – the story of getting to the park and all the things that happen because that activity of parking your car and coming through the toll plaza. I had to think about what scenes have that kind of repetitive motion. It was a lot of fun and it’s different. For me it became a little bit of an escape.

TS: Did you notice Guests wanted to see Wishes Nighttime Spectacular?
DR: Everyone wants Wishes, but Wishes is so bright and because we shoot one frame a second, there were just too many flash frames in it. But, Epcot and Illuminations, I’ll make work. We’ll get the fireworks.

More Time-Lapse videos from Disney Parks

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.

This one shows the look of the Mickey Floral in front of the Magic Kingdom changing from Halloween to Christmas.

You'll see 2 nights of work in just one minute.

Art Director: David Hartmann

This video shows the decoration for Christmas on Main Street U.S.A, inside the Magic Kingdom.

Interview with Todd Heiden, International PR Director, Disney Destinations LLC.

Chad Emerson: Which of Disney’s tilt shift videos has been the most popular so far?

Todd Heiden
: “A Model Day at Magic Kingdom” has by far been the most popular for many different reasons.  First, the park resonates very well with the target audience; when you think of Disney Parks, the first of our parks that springs to mind is the Magic Kingdom. Second, the video launched simultaneously with our Disney Parks Blog, which has turned out to be a huge success for us in terms of having an official Parks voice with which to engage our fans within the social media realm. Lastly, the video itself received key references and embeds from influential external sites that helped drive the views up significantly.

: Please explain how the idea of using the tilt-shift technique came to mind and why you thought it would fit well with Disney theme parks.

: I was first introduced to tilt-shift by my sister-in-law who is an avid photographer. She shared an example of a video by a gentleman in Australia and I was mesmerized by the effect. Tilt-shift is first and foremost a photographic technique, but when the individual images are stitched together the resulting video works particularly well with motion and people. I thought, since so many of our ideas start out as models, how fun would it be to revert to a model-like look and incorporate both motion (trains, monorails, busses, boats, etc.) and moving people?

: What about the technology creates that miniature effect?

: I’m sure I won’t do the technology any justice with this explanation but here’s a try. Tilt-shift lenses do exactly what they advertise: tilt and shift. Whereas a traditional lens is mounted on a camera body in a straightforward affixed position, a tilt-shift lens allows for the movement of the lens relative to the image plane – namely left-right (tilt) and up-down (shift). The ability to do this allows for selective focus and precise control of the perspective. When you take a camera with a traditional lens and point it down or up at a subject (e.g. a building), you either only capture the base of the building or affect the perspective in the resulting image (a building that slowly converges near the top). Shifting the lens upwards on the camera body allows you to capture the entire subject, which is important when trying to tell the whole story. Tilting the lens produces a narrow region of sharpness with a blurring effect top and bottom in the image. Combining these two effects - and punching the color saturation up a bit in post-edit – can give the impression of a miniature.
Results are best when photographed from above or at a distance with a wide angle of view. In certain instances we chose to go with a zoom lens as the resulting image helped move the somewhat loose narrative along.

: You’ve really focused on the theme parks to date. What are some other types of settings in which you could imagine this technique would also work well?

: We’re about to drop our next video, which will feature the Disney Cruise Lines and in particular their ship the Disney Wonder. Seeing a massive 90 million pound cruise line bobbing about on the water like a toy ship in a bathtub is a really cool effect. Beyond the cruise line we have our 24 resorts on property, our two water parks and our shopping district, as well as unique perspective shots that we can consider for smaller POV segments.

Emerson: What type of feedback have you received back from guests regarding the videos? What has been the most surprising response?

: The response has been overwhelmingly positive and “more” is what we’re being asked for. Everyone has their favorite park so obviously, if we haven’t featured their park yet, the expectation has now been set that it will be coming.

David Roark, our photographer who shoots all the images, has had guests approach him in the parks and comment on the videos. It really is a labor of love on his part given all the different locations he needs to lug his equipment around to so the recognition is a pleasant surprise for him. 

Probably the most amusing responses have been to the music selections. I wanted something that wasn’t standard Disney, something that would challenge people to “experience” Disney differently rather than hearing the music and automatically saying to themselves – “Disney.” The Magic Kingdom music is an overwhelming favorite, with Epcot’s music being a little more polarizing – they love it or hate it.  Either way, the videos generate a healthy trail of comments that are fun to follow.

More Time-Lapse Videos from Disney

If you’re building a “dream playground” then who better to go to for design advice than the experts – the children who’ll be using it. Drawings from the imaginations of kids in the community were incorporated into the newest Disney VoluntEARS-built playground at the Walt Disney World Clubhouse of Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida. The play area was constructed in hours by more than 250 volunteers but here’s a look at the effort condensed into seconds:

ºoº Marcio Disney Family Sites Network ºoº

Disney's Dream Makers

Disney Picture of the Day

Vinylmation of the Day

Disney Tales [5 Weekly tales]

The Disney History

Marcio Disney Blog

Disney Pin of the Day

Marcio Disney Digital Media

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