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Internal time-lapse at Legoland Star Wars Miniland

News Using Time-Lapse: Merlin Entertainments

8 February 2017 Daniel Curtis

Our “using time-lapse” spotlight blogs take a closer look at how businesses big and small are utilising our full range of services.

One of the most recognisable brands in the entertainment industry, Merlin Entertainments is a global business, operating 117 attractions, 13 hotels, and 5 holiday villages in 24 countries.

Specialising in branded, location-based, family entertainment, Merlin Entertainments is the largest entertainment company operating in Europe and was ranked as one of the 25 best big companies to work with in 2015 and 2016 by The Sunday Times.

We have a longstanding relationship with the company, having completed projects with some of Merlin Entertainments’ most recognisable brands at several of their leisure locations, including:

  • Legoland
  • Chessington World of Adventures
  • Alton Towers
  • London Dungeon


Built on ‘fun’

It is of no surprise that Merlin Entertainments is a company who are ‘serious about fun’, as one of their many iconic brands deals with those much-loved plastic building blocks – Lego.

Our work with Legoland has been extensive, having worked on over 13 separate Lego-based projects.

A large percentage of our time-lapse projects have documented Lego scale-model builds, all of which eventually found a home in Legoland exhibitions across the world.

These included one of Japan’s tallest skyscrapers, Abeno Harukas, bound for the Discovery Centre in Osaka, to a model of Boston’s Fenway Park Stadium, for the Boston Discovery Center in Massachusetts.

We’ve also time-lapsed the construction of models of Toronto’s CN Tower, Tokyo’s SkyTree and the Dallas Cowboys’ Stadium, as well as Blackpool Tower.

Larger scale projects have also included the installation of a Star Wars ‘Miniland’ attraction at Manchester’s Discovery Centre, although the work required for this was by no means minimal!

Thin image from the Star Wars Miniland exhibition

Project file – Lego Star Wars Miniland exhibit

Location: Legoland Discovery Centre, Manchester
Capture duration: January 2013 to February 2013
Number of Lego pieces required: 250,000 bricks and 2,000 mini-figures

Marking the 6th time-lapse project we completed for Legoland, the building of this Star Wars Miniland attraction took 2,000 man-hours to create.

Time-lapse lends itself well to Lego-builds, especially as its construction is often time-consuming and involves intricate processes.

The attraction was open for a limited period, but the build lives on through this timeless video.

Like the product itself, Lego-build videos are high in terms of their reception value online, offering bitesize content that can be enjoyed and easily shared on social media platforms like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

For brands that are already recognised globally, like Lego, this is a way of furthering their reach and maintaining visibility.

Their sophisticated approaches to mobilise their brand, for instance, have recently taken the form of a child-friendly Lego-themed Instagram, where young users can post photos of their Lego creations and comment on the work of others.


Magical locations

Merlin also pride themselves on providing memorable visitor experiences at various leisure parks and resorts around the world.

Besides projects for Legoland, we have worked at several other of Merlin’s UK-based attractions. For Alton Towers alone, we have undertaken dozens of time-lapse and video jobs, including capture of the demolition and construction of several of their iconic rollercoasters.

We also documented the installation of their new Sea Life Centre, Sharkbait Reef, in early 2009.

Our visual solutions have also been utilised for special events hosted at the resort, including a concert by pop-star, P!nk.

Thin image from the Pink's Alton Towers concert

Project file – P!nk concert

Location: Alton Towers Resort, Staffordshire
Capture duration: June 2010
Stage construction underway at Alton Towers for Pink

As part of her ‘The Funhouse Summer Carnival Tour’, American singer-songwriter, P!nk paid Staffordshire a visit for a unique one-off event at Alton Towers.

A stage was temporarily constructed in the grounds overlooked by Alton Towers house, a Grade II listed building dating back more than a thousand years.

Utilising structures that were already in place, we securely mounted our camera system to a building overlooking the concert area to create the perfect vantage point.

We time-lapsed the stage construction, the concert itself, and the eventual de-rigging process to capture this special event in all its detail.

Chessington World of Adventures is another of Merlin’s notable resorts, comprised of a theme park, zoo, and hotel complex, to the southwest of Central London.

The venue hosted a party event by Nintendo Wii in 2010. Over the course of two days we supplied a fully manned time-lapse camera system to capture the construction of a huge marquee that would house this outdoor event.

As well as providing external coverage, we also provided internal capture of the live event, plus the construction of special lighting and staging equipment, followed by the eventual de-rig.

Time-lapse can operate in both internal and external environments and so it is incredibly versatile and adapted for any event. These capabilities are ideal when it comes to a company as dynamic as Merlin Entertainments.

Our experience and skills have definitely been put to the test on projects such as those mentioned here and we continue to relish the challenges that Merlin projects inevitably present.

We are honoured to have such an established relationship with one of the world’s top leisure and entertainment brands.

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