Disney – the OG – re-establishes innovation foothold in SF

The Bay Area – and San Francisco, specifically – is no stranger to high-tech movie production with the likes of LucasArts, Pixar and Dreamworks churning out feature films that use massive computing power and performance. But a new musuem opening in SF’s Presidio (where LucasArts currently resides) in October will offer a glimpse into cutting-edge movie-making of the past – via Walt Disney’s mastermind – before the PC was used in the process.

The Walt Disney Family Museum was opened to media this week and the FT gives a report of the highlights:

…we were introduced to innovations such as the 13-feet-high Multiplane Camera and the optical printer. The camera rises through two floors of the museum… Its use was perfected in Snow White, allowing several layers of artwork to be moved past a camera… giving a 3D effect and also allowing different parts of the picture to move in and out of focus. The optical printer takes two films and combines them, allowing real-life pictures to be merged with animation, such as in Mary Poppins .

The FT also opines: “[The Museum] is likely to lead to a reassessment of [Walt Disney] as a great innovator and visionary than movie mogul.”

Here, here. Cool stuff. AND, seems like a huge opportunity for social media engagement. Whether Facebook applications and trivia or games, a Google Earth live tour of the museum, videos galore and Twitter updates on museum specials, guests, etc. (like the California Academy of Sciences in SF), this consumer-facing campaign could do very well. Will look forward to seeing what Disney rolls out as they get closer to launch!

Disney film reel

Disney film reel


SF renames Bush St – aptly

So this rippled through the Interwebs today but I had actually stumbled upon it rather organically (or, ignorantly, as the case happened to be) and got a huge kick out of it – perhaps greater than if I had seen it online first then sought it out after – the beauty of a perfectly-executed stunt!

I was on my way to an appointment after watching the new Pres be sworn in this morning. Of course I was very excited, but also running a little late. As I biked quickly up the hill toward my appointment on Bush Street, I squinted toward the street sign to see if I’d met my destination (I don’t know this part of town well so was trying to get my bearings). I wasn’t wearing my glasses, either, but I swore – and as I got closer – did it really say? It looks like… OBAMA St!!

I stopped my bike at the corner and pointed toward a sign, exclaiming to a random man. English wasn’t his first language, so it took a second for us to get on the same page, then we smiled at each other, laughed and went our separate ways. It was beautiful. I snapped a photo on my phone and posted to Twitter.


Obama Street (at Hyde St), SF

Obama Street (at Hyde St), SF

After my appointment, I saw some students snapping photos but no one knew at the time who had executed this stunt. It was fun, though, watching people react to it – drivers honking, yelling, pedestrians smiling, snapping pics, etc. So super cool.

A friend of mine IMd me once I got back to my desk to inform that it was the work of Laughing Squid – how appropriate!

Well done, guys! This thoroughly made my morning. :)


UPDATE: Apparently I assumed this was done by Laughing Squid, however just learned that a group called Survival Research Laboratories (they have a Wikipedia page) was behind the stunt. Thanks, Derek, for the tip! http://sfcitizen.com/blog/2009/01/20/survival-research-labs-changes-bush-street-to-obama-street/