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Making of Magic Kingdom Park Tilt-Shift Video

Thomas Smith

by , Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

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.

Yes, David has already started shooting the next tilt-shift video at Epcot theme park. And he’s promising a few new surprises.

We’ve also uploaded the HD version of the Magic Kingdom Tilt-Shift video to the Disney Parks YouTube channel.

Update: We’ve recently launched a tilt-shift video of Epcot. Watch it here.


  • So so beautiful, I was wondering if anyone knew haow many frames a second this shoot with? I wondered about combining this technique with Nikons new HD movie mode and then dropping frames for a stuttered stop frame feel.

  • Hey. This video is really cool. Is there any way we can get it as a download? It would be great to have this. Thanks!!

  • Thanks for the insights, guys! Can’t wait to see the other parks immortalized in tilt-shift-stop motion…

  • Excellent video!!!!

    Can’t wait to see EPCOT!!!

    Love the blog and DISNEY 🙂

  • While this blog will share the subject matter of many park fan-blogs, this official blog has already demonstrated the unique benefit of enthusiasm + access. Thank you!

    Question: What is Disney’s Yellow Shoes Creative Group?

  • Oh, I can’t wait to see the Epcot one! Too cool! Great job, you guys!

  • Thanks for the “behind the scenes” insight. Love the variety you’re exhibiting with this blog. I too can’t wait to see more of these videos, keep ’em coming!

  • I would LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE to see this done at DisneyLAND since that’s my Disney home! 🙂 But I can’t wait to see the Epcot one. I really really loved this video. WOW!

  • Maybe we will see a similar video documenting the Fantasyland expansion?
    <3 the MK!

  • Thank you for the video but thank you for this forumit bring us more and more to feel like we are part of the inside of Disney!!!

  • THat is simply amazing! Very cool!

  • This is one of the coolest photography techniques I’ve ever seen. I could watch this video over and over again. I’m so exicted to hear that he is doing another one in Epcot. Can’t wait to see it!

  • This was awesome! Glad to hear he is doing another one. Here’s hoping a Disneyland/DCA video is in the works, too!

  • Great info! I’m so excited to hear that at least one other video will be shot. I can’t wait to see Epcot shot like this!

  • Bravo Disney!

    This is why I read this blog.

  • This was so awesome and different. So much fun to watch. My family enjoyed it so much and found it interesting to hear about the work behind it all.

  • Our family really enjoyed this!!!! Thank you for the video and sharing the creative work behind it! Such a delight!

  • Is it possible to make more of the single pictures available so that we can have them as desktop photos? They are awesome!

  • Oh wow!! This is awesome! I absolutely LOVE the “behind the scenes” info! I can’t wait to see the EPCOT tilt-shift video with SURPRISES!!!!!

  • Excellent post. I love photography, and learning new ways of doing things is always very interesting. I can’t wait to see what he will do with the Epcot video, and hopefully many others!

  • Can’t wait for the EPCOT tilt shift video. 😀 Thanks for the “behind the scenes” look.

  • Thanks for the insight on how this was made. And I’m glad to hear that David is working on Epcot already. They really are such a beautiful way to have a ‘day at the park’ in just a few minutes. Almost being like a kid recreating a day at the park with your toys…

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