Time-lapse at Alton Towers

Time-Lapse Systems: Our projects with Alton Towers

As a company, we have developed a long-standing relationship with Alton Towers Resort, over the course of which we have completed a variety of projects for them.

These projects include not only time-lapse photography of the construction (and demolition) of many of their iconic rollercoasters, but also filming and photography of several different attractions and events.

Photo capturing the Towers and the lake at Alton Towers resort

The Early Days at Alton Towers

DVD Sleeve for 'The Story of Alton Towers'
Above: DVD sleeve from ‘The Story of Alton Towers’

One of our earliest projects was the production of a documentary for the resort, entitled The Story of Alton Towers. The film features our Managing Director, Dr Gary Kelsall, exploring the history of the resort from images & film dating back to as early as the 1870s. The 60-minute film tells the story of what was once an incredible gothic mansion to what is now one of the most popular theme parks worldwide.

Gary has also been involved in several other projects, such as a POV video of the last ever circuit of the resort’s legendary rollercoaster – Corkscrew. He visited the resort on the 9th November 2008, where he rode the coaster on its last ever run after 28 years of service. Another fairly early project that we have been involved in was the production of a time-lapse video, monitoring the internal and external construction of Sharkbait Reef in 2009, the resort’s Sealife Centre.

Coasters and time-lapse

People onboard the Smiler for one of the first rides at Alton Towers
Above: one of the first rides on The Smiler roller coaster

We have produced a time-lapse video for all three of the resort’s most recent rollercoasters – Th13een (2010), The Smiler (2013) and Wickerman (2018) – all of which have been a success and attracted a lot of interest, especially on social media, and even by national news outlets such as The Mirror.

Th13teen being constructed in snowy weather at Alton Towers
Above: Th13teen during construction

Released in March, our time-lapse of Wickerman’s construction, with a duration of just under two minutes, achieved just under 250,000 views on Facebook alone, and can be viewed here, whereas our time-lapse of The Smiler was shown on the BBC and shared by Alton Towers on their YouTube Channel.

In March 2010, we completed our 12-month long time-lapse of Th13teen’s construction and, despite facing extremes of temperature and weather conditions, our time-lapse camera system operated throughout entire construction.

Events and Attractions

Above: P!nk performing at The Towers
Man being scared in one of Alton Towers' Scarefest mazes
Above: Scarefest 2010

In June 2010, we time-lapsed the entirety of a Pink concert hosted by the resort, which involved the stage construction, the concert itself and the de-rigging of the stage. Other events that we have filmed for at the resort include Scarefest, the resort’s Halloween attraction that they host annually.

Segments have been filmed from several other rides alongside the major coasters, such as Galactica (2016), Nemesis: Sub Terra (2012), of which we filmed the launch of the attraction, and footage of one of the resorts earlier rides, Hex.

In February 2011, we also completed a project at the resort’s waterpark, Splash Landings. Much of the photography contained Minions, who are popular with families and attracted a lot of attention.

Celebrity Katie Price riding Th13teen at Alton Towers
Above: Katie Price riding Th13teen

Celebrities at the Resort

For the Nemesis: Sub-Terra launch in 2012, the resort hosted a publicity event with many celebrities attending and we were present to photograph & film the event.

Plus, we have also photographed many other celebrities at the resort, such as Katie Price on & around Th13teen and Girls Aloud’s Sarah Harding around the park.

Project file – Congo River Rapids 360° video

Location: Alton Towers Resort, Staffordshire
Captured: June 2016

In June 2016, we created a 360° video in what were, arguably, some of the most challenging conditions there are in which to capture a 360° video, including a new pitch-black tunnel, rough, choppy waters, harsh currents and twin waterfalls.

It proved popular with fans and was the first time that a 360 video had been created at the resort. The video, which Alton Towers published through their various social media channels, generated thousands of views and was shared worldwide.

Timeline of projects

  • 2005 – ‘The Story of Alton Towers’ documentary
  • 2008, Nov – time-lapse video of Corkscrew demolition.
  • 2009 – time-lapse video of internal and external construction of Sharkbait Reef.
  • 2010 – time-lapse video of Th13een construction.
  • 2011, Feb – photography at Splash Landings hotel and waterpark.
  • 2012 – filming and photography for Nemesis: Sub-Terra launch.
  • 2013, May – time-lapse video of The Smiler construction.
  • 2013, Oct – photography and filming of resort’s Scarefest event.
  • 2016, May – segments filmed for launch of Galactica.
  • 2016, Jun – 360° video of Congo River Rapids.
  • 2018, May – time-lapse video of Wickerman construction.

Wider Work for Merlin

As a company, we have a long-standing relationship with Merlin. As well as doing a lot of work at Alton Towers, we have also worked at many of their other attractions worldwide, most notably the several Legoland Discovery Centres globally, such as:

  • Boston and Dallas in the USA
  • Toronto in Canada
  • Osaka in Japan
  • Manchester in the UK
Wii Party at Chessington World of Adventures
Above: Nintendo Wii party event at Chessington World of Adventures in 2011

We have completed projects with the London Dungeons, such as filming the launch of Vengeance 5D. This part of the dungeons formed an experience that took the title of the UK’s first 5D ride.
Not only that, but we have also completed a project for another of Merlin’s theme parks – Chessington World of Adventures. This included producing a time-lapse video capturing the construction of a marquee to host an outdoor event by Nintendo Wii.

We are honoured to have such an established relationship with one of the most popular and recognisable brands in the entertainment industry.

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