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Disney's Invisible Flashes

While visiting Disneyland Paris, long-time reader Paul Mason of Hartlepool, UK watched a Disney staff photographer work a room doing shots of kids with the characters.

He noticed a remote on the photographer's camera, but saw no flashes anywhere — until they went off.

Disney has always been a great organization for stagecraft.

And true to form, the staff photographers at Disneyland Paris want to make sure the magic spell isn't broken by a bunch of strobes, remotes and Magic Arms hanging about. Given that they work the same room all of the time, the solution is as simple as it is brilliant.

Paul explains:

I just spent the day with my two young kids in Disneyland Paris. One of the high points of their day was the "meet the princess" session, where they got to meet and greet a Disney princess in her castle.

I had a simple walkabout kit (camera, 18-200 and an sb600 mounted on camera). There was your typical Disney photographer lurking nearby who had some kind of trigger in the hotshoe. What surprised me was that when he jumped in and started shooting, the remote units he was controlling were actually built into the wall of the room, and covered with a screen/scrim or similar so that you couldn't even see them until they fired.

Made quite a difference to having light stands and umbrellas as part of the setup, and meant that the fairy castle image could be maintained. I was quite impressed with the setup.

I'll say. That's a pretty slick. So A+ for photo lighting stagecraft. But as for the actual lighting...

The images were less inspiring; rather over-flashed and flat. My on-camera (Editor's note: (o_O)) flash balanced with a little ambient gave good enough results without me needing to spend 16€ on their images!
(Photo by Strobist reader BigDaddy)


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