Project: Explorer’s Lounge, three screen, video wall. A sunrise to sunset time-lapse to showcase the Siemens VIP Center located inside Space Ship Earth.

Shooting a sunrise to sunset time-lapse video of Space Ship Earth from inside EPCOT can come with some unique challenges. If you’re Siemens, USA you’ll move heaven and “Space Ship Earth” and find a way.

The Challenges:

The first challenge was finding a suitable time-lapse location. The decision required input from and visual inspection by 9 Disney employees. The team spent an afternoon scouting for possible locations. The right location needed to be away from guests, provide weather protection, meet all safety requirements, have AC power nearby, be accessible from start time to end time and most importantly be a good location for time-lapse.

The next challenge was the technology required to shoot a continuous time-lapse for 16 hours: camera and lens, battery life, digital storage media, shot interval, changing exposure values, rain, heat and humidity. It was August in Orlando.

The Solutions:

Shoot from above Japan. The location was a covered walkway overlooking the main courtyard at the Japan Pavilion.

Camera: Sony A7r (36.4 MP full frame sensor)

Image size: 7360 x 4912 pixels

Dynamic Perception NMX controller

Shot interval: 10 seconds between shots

Number of shots: 5,760

A time-lapse is interesting when it shows a progression of time. Clouds, shadows, the movement of people and changing light are all great time-lapse subjects. Then there’s layering. A static foreground element helps anchor moving subjects in the mid or background. This particular setup had the static foreground of the Japan Pavilion along with 4 more layers of movement: the courtyard, the Lagoon, Spaceship Earth and the sky.

The original time-lapse images are 7360 x 4912 pixels. The final delivery was a three screen video wall with an image resolution of 5760 x 1080 pixels. The original images were cut up, panned and scaled, inside the delivery frame, always coming back to Space Ship Earth. The story ends with Illuminations which is sponsored Siemens.

(The version seen here is not the 3 screen version. It is a single monitor version also requested by Siemens.)

The final delivery size is 5760 x 1080 pixels. With the single screen 1920 x 1080 (you see here) it allows even more flexibility.

Using time-lapse photography for storytelling offers many creative opportunities. The engaging nature of time-lapse photography allows us to compress time and see the world in a fascinating way. Finding a suitable location to shot an interesting time-lapse is the key. Taking advantage of large format images and editing them into smaller frames allows us to tell stories by focusing attention.

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