Why Disney Cruise Line turns to Panasonic’s PTZ cameras
Families on Disney cruises expect the kind of magical experiences the iconic Disney brand is known for, and a major draw is the world-class entertainment. Guests of all ages can enjoy interactive deck parties and immersive stage performances on the upper deck of each ship. This includes shows such as the “Frozen” Deck Party, Pirates in the Caribbean show and deck party and Sail-Away Celebrations that give guests the chance to see their favorite Disney characters.
To deliver outstanding live shows and entertainment on the outdoor stage, the production team at Disney Cruise Line utilizes point, tilt, zoom (PTZ) cameras positioned around the upper deck of each of the four ships in their fleet: Disney Fantasy, Disney Dream, Disney Magic, and Disney Wonder. The back of house camera is particularly important. It is used to provide wide shots and close-ups, thanks to its straight line of sight to the stage.
When it came time for Disney Cruise Line to replace these entertainment workhorses on their fleet, the team sought to upgrade their current technology with state-of-art cameras that would deliver on the promise of an unforgettable experience.
When it was time for Disney Cruise Line to replace the point, tilt, zoom (PTZ) cameras on its fleet of ships, it presented an opportunity for a technology upgrade. The entertainment team uses these cameras to enhance the live shows and entertainment performed on the open-air upper deck of each ship within the Disney Cruise Line fleet. These cameras get mounted outdoors, on the aft funnel directly above the engine room, so the team wanted a product with good image stabilization to compensate for the ships’ movement. Installation would also have to go smoothly to accommodate each cruise ship’s scheduled sailing dates.
Disney Cruise Line sought recommendations from its partners at Disney Parks Live Entertainment– a group known for its expert audio, video and lighting designers. The live entertainment team arranged a meeting between Disney Cruise Line and a sales rep for Panasonic, who suggested the AW-HR140, a rugged outdoor PTZ camera designed to perform well in various weather conditions. Disney Cruise Line decided to do a two-week demo of this camera on the Disney Fantasy.
The installation went smoothly, and the AW-HR140 was compatible with the ship’s current control systems. Operators were impressed with the sharp, stable footage the Panasonic camera was able to capture while at sea. “The video quality was enhanced compared to our previous cameras and the built-in image stabilization allowed us to zoom in farther,” said Rory S. Roseman, a production rep for Disney Cruise Line. The trial was so successful, Disney made the decision to replace the back of house cameras on all four of its ships with Panasonic.
A stable picture even at sea
Cruise ships present unique challenges for capturing high-quality video. Obviously, there are swells at sea, but even in port a ship is constantly in motion. And the back of house camera gets mounted outdoors, on the aft funnel directly above the hum of the engine room, where wind, salt and spray add extra hurdles.
These cameras on the Disney Fantasy, Dream, Magic and Wonder had all exceeded their capital life. When weighing their replacement options, the entertainment team decided to leverage this opportunity to seek out a solution that would outperform their current equipment.
“We were looking for a product with superior image stabilization,” said Rory S. Roseman, a production rep for Disney Cruise Line Technical Operations.
“If we’re trying to get a shot 100 feet away from the stage, with that long distance, you’re going to see that vibration,” notes Roseman. Without the right camera to compensate for this, the images displayed on the large screen could be grainy, especially in close-ups.”
Disney selected Panasonic
Roseman reached out to Disney Cruise Line’s partners at Disney Parks Live Entertainment for expert advice, knowing its audio, video and lighting designers could suggest the best solution for his needs. Their video team arranged a meeting between the cruise line team and Wes Carr, sales representative from Panasonic, to discuss the AV innovator’s line-up of professional pan-tilt-zoom cameras.
Carr recommended the AW-HR140, a rugged outdoor PTZ camera designed to work well in various environments and still produce broadcast-quality results. Disney Cruise Line was interested in trying out the AW-HR140, so Carr was able to quickly arrange a two-week demo on the Disney Fantasy. Panasonic technician Michael Rusynyak came on board to swap out the existing camera, mounted on a shelf in the aft funnel. The installation went smoothly and the AW-HR140 was compatible with the ship’s current control systems. Now all that remained to be seen was if the new camera was truly seaworthy.
A direct line of sight to the stage
After the two-week demo, the footage captured was offloaded and reviewed to assess the camera’s performance. The team at Disney Cruise Line was impressed with the sharp, stable footage the Panasonic camera was able to capture while at sea.
“The video quality was impressive and the built-in image stabilization allowed us to zoom in farther,” said Roseman.
The trial was a success, Disney Cruise Line made the decision to upgrade the back of house cameras on all four of its ships with the Panasonic AW-HR140. Now, with the high-quality video Roseman’s team can project, the experience of each deck party is enhanced for the guests. Learn more about Disney and Panasonic collaborations.