Video: Evening at the Kingdom – A Grand Circle Tour!

By Cory Disbrow on July 12th, 2012   |    Posted in:  Disney Photo Spotlight   |    7 Comments

Hey everyone!

Today, I am excited to announce my first go at it in the world of cinematography. I’ve seen some seriously inspiring work done with DSLR’s lately, and I figured since I have the equipment, I should give it a shot. So, after some reading on the internet, I decided to do some filming around the house with my kitten. After that proved to be a lot of fun and rather successful, I decided to try to apply some of it to Walt Disney World. So, as the title implies, I spent an evening in the Magic Kingdom filming some of my favorite things.

So, here’s the video, and we’ll talk a little bit further about it once you’re done watching!

Hopefully you all enjoyed it!

About the Video

My intent behind the film was to showcase some of my favorite things about the park, and help transport the viewer right to the Vacation Kingdom of the World. This proved to be a little bit harder than I thought it would. One thing that is great about shooting stills is that motion can be conveyed, but it doesn’t have to. I can take 50 pictures of Cinderella Castle that evoke emotion, have different compositions and angles, and are pleasing to the eye. But when doing video, you have to have motion, or else it would just come across as staring at a still frame for 10 seconds before moving on. Thankfully, there is TONS of movement at the Magic Kingdom, and as I did my Grand Circle Tour clockwise around the park, I found lots of things to shoot, even without riding any attractions.

Equipment and Settings

Another challenge was the fact that I don’t have an expensive rig to set up. I used my Canon EOS 7D along with the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM and Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG lenses. I thought I would be able to hand hold a good chunk of what you saw. Not exactly the case, as proved by the initial frame taken from the Ferryboat heading towards the park. Especially when shooting at short telephoto ranges without Image Stabilization. Thankfully, I brought my tripod with me and used it for the rest of the evening, to much more pleasing, and less Blair Witch Project-esque success.

Using the manual focus ring is also something that happens a lot more when shooting video as compared to stills. For those shots where you saw a diffused Main Street all of a sudden come into focus required very smooth motion on my behalf with the manual focus ring while also trying not to make the camera move much on the tripod. Needless to say, it took several tries to get it right.

Also of importance was the glass that I decided to use. Having fast aperture prime lenses made it very easy to keep the ISO down as the sun set. If I was only using f/3.5 or f/4 lenses, I would have had to go way higher with the ISO, and that would have resulted in more grainy, noisy footage. I also really enjoyed the way the fast primes created a very cinematic look by shooting at f/1.4 or f/2.


Lastly, I used Apple’s iMovie ’11 to edit the film. iMovie is a little daunting at first, but is outrageously user friendly. It makes it very easy to clip certain scenes (I made sure to shoot more than I needed, so I could ‘crop’ the scenes when necessary), add transitions, and also drop in the Magic Kingdom Entrance Plaza background music you hear in the movie. I was also able to (in a limited fashion) adjust exposure, contrast, and colors in all the frames. It was nothing like what we can do with stills in Photoshop, but still saved some of the scenes from looking quite boring and drab.


Overall, we really have come a long way since the 5D Mark II was the first DSLR to introduce video back in 2008. The level of quality and very cinematic look that comes in a ‘prosumer’ package that many of us shoot our stills with is very encouraging, and is also a fun way to get creative if you happen to fall into a funk with your photographs. I encourage you all to mess around with the movie mode on your cameras, as you never know what you might be able to capture. As for me, my mind is already thinking of the possibility for the Epcot video!

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!!


  1. Steve Burns   |   Jul 12, 2012

    Great video! It brings back all the emotions of being there. Well shot, and well edited.

    Unfortunately, I have learned the same thing about the necessity of using a tripod for video. I tried a few short videos on our recent trip, all handheld, and they really aren’t worth using for anything besides my own personal viewing. Oh well, there’s always next time.

  2. Larry White   |   Jul 12, 2012

    Well done! I thoroughly enjoyed it!

  3. Kyrce   |   Jul 12, 2012

    Great video, now I’m ready for yet another trip to the Magic Kingdom! Perfect music selection, too.

  4. Tim Georgeff   |   Jul 12, 2012

    Great video Cory. I don’t know if iMovie ’11 has this feature, but Final Cut Pro X has a stabilization/steady cam feature that does a good job of removing camera shake when a tripod is not available or cumbersome. Thanks for sharing your work!

    • Cory Disbrow   |   Jul 12, 2012

      IMovie does have that feature, and I in fact used it on the opening frame from the ferryboat!

  5. Doug (Photogineer)   |   Jul 12, 2012

    Video is a whole new ball game. This turned out really good though. Video is driving me to actually buy a Mac. I just think it is easier to deal with on the Mac side.

  6. Brett Kiger   |   Jul 14, 2012

    Shakiness at the beginning aside, this was an awesome video! You did a great job of really making the viewer feel like they spent a day at the park. The combination of the music and visuals really make me wish I was there right now!

    Is that music available on CD at the parks? I never really thought to buy any music from the parks, but this one in particular sounds really good.

    One a side note, ISO5571 might benefit from a little background music during the segments. Just a thought…

    Keep up the great work!!!



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