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Choose Your Tomorrow attraction, Horizon Pavilion, EPCOT, Walt Disney World
Visual Effects - Model and Prop Builder and Special Effects.

In 1983, I, and about 30 other Model Makers, began a year long project of making two minutes of Visual Effects fly-through and process shots. There were three main 31-second Visual Effects sequences, the ocean, the desert, and space. In addition, there were process plates for views out the windows of the full size sets as the guests rode through. At the end of the ride, passengers would push one of three buttons on the ride vehicle and be shown one of the three 31-second Visual Effects sequences. At one time or another I worked on each of the sequences. In the late 1980s, I was working at Walt Disney Imaginerring and one of my projects was a redesign of the Horizon Pavilion and ironically, the removal of this attraction.

The motion control rig was one of the largest ever built, about 100 feet long, 50 feet wide, and about 20 feet high. Built in 1983, there may have been larger since, but I don't think anything this size had been built before. We shot in a hangar at the Burbank Airport. Motion Control Rig
Note: These images and clips are presented here for portfolio purposes only. These images and clips are not available for sale or to be given away in hard copy or digitally in any scale. I will be happy to show hard-copy during a legitimate job interview for Set Designer.


Under Water Sequence

This model was made in two parts, first one section was shot, then moved out and the other section finished and shot. The two sequences were visually joined by a pass though the total darkness of the ocean depths. In addition to the two seascapes, models included the ocean city, one-person submarines, a larger submersible research vehicle, a sunken ship, divers, fish, and plant life. My contribution was some of the vegetation, casting some of the divers and fish, and some work on the ocean city.



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Desert Sequence

While the Space sequence was the most popular with the ride passengers because of the popularity of space movies and television at the time (many of which I also worked on), we all felt that the Desert sequence was the best of the three - too bad most riders didnít consider this option. The model was about 32 feet wide and 75 feet long. The fly-through began and ended with closeups on two over scale futuristic houses. To save construction costs, only one house was built. Because it took the camera about half an hour to travers the entire model, once the first house was out of frame, it was carefully lifted off the landscape, set on an electric trolley that ran under the model, and carefully placed on the landscape at the end of the flight. We made hundreds of cubic shaped laorange (long orange) trees, hundreds of cactus, dozens of houses, a half dozen each harvesters and blimps, and many hover cars, people, and other accessories. Many hours went into carving the rock work and installing the vegetation. I sent most of my time on this model, although I did work on the underwater and space sequences as well.
Full Model
Full model.
Full Model
Full model.
Farms
Farms.
Farms
Farms.
Cactus
Cactus.
Cactus
Cactus.
Houses
Houses.
Houses
Houses.
Solar Power Plant, Houses, and Farms
Solar Power Plant, houses, and farms.
Solar Power Plant, Houses, and Farms
Solar Power Plant, houses, and farms.
Solar Power Plant, Houses, and Farms
Solar Power Plant, houses, and farms.
Solar Power Plant
Solar Power Plant.
Solar Power Plant
Solar Power Plant.
Solar Power Plant
Solar Power Plant and arroyo.
Arroyo
Arroyo.
Under Construction
While still under construction.

Space Sequence

I didnít work much on the Space sequence. I started making all the large parts and turnings on a machine lathe. Then we had to wait for the neon tubes to be made before assembling. By the time the neon tubes were ready, I had moved on to the Desert model and Dave Heilman completed the assembly and detailing. The fly-by included a satellite and a asteroid mine.
Space Station
Space Station on stage.
Space Station
Space Station on stage.

Space Station Interior

Some of these same models were also used for various process shots for out-the-window backgrounds. For one such background, we had to construct a dedicated interior model of the space station. This was an 8 foot diameter ball with all the detail on the inside. We built hundreds of houses, vehicles, boats, harvesters, travel tubes with chaser lights. Because the sphere would rotate to simulate gravity, there was a continuous linear lake about the inside of the equator with boats. I left just before completing this model and have no photos.
Video Clip 1 - Video Clip 2 - Video Clip 3


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This page last updated 7-1-04

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