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News PhotoPass at some character locations being replaced by automated cameras

DisneyExpert

Well-Known Member
Who cares?

Photographer: 2 good photos and 4 lousy photos
Machine: 2 good photos and 13 lousy photos

How is the second one worse than the first? Just delete them.
Obviously quite a few people care, but what a great contribution to the discussion.

Nothing like seeing people breathlessly defend blatant cost-cutting at a resort once known for the literal opposite.
 

drizgirl

Well-Known Member
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The only place I've seen them use permanent strobes are at Epcot Character Spot. Not sure why they don't have them everywhere else. The on-camera fill flash is ruining these pics.
I can do much better with an on camera fill flash just by adjusting the flash exposure compensation. Taking the same photo over and over in the same environment, there's really no excuse for at least not getting this part right.
 

CaptainAmerica

Premium Member
CA, I hope you don't take this as a personal attack but you obviously don't know any more about real photography than whatever Pointy Haired Boss (as in Dilbert) made the decision to put this stupid system in. I wish I knew the name of the person who made that decision and his supervisor's name so I could suggest that he be assigned to some role where he couldn't do further damage.

A fixed position automated system will never capture photos like this one made by a real photopass photographer.
View attachment 397107
You all have apparently had different experiences with PhotoPass than I have. I'm not claiming the box is great, but in my experience the photographers aren't all that great either. YMMV I suppose.
 

CaptainAmerica

Premium Member
Nothing like seeing people breathlessly defend blatant cost-cutting at a resort once known for the literal opposite.
Are you really that naive that you think cost cutting is something new? Disney was cutting costs in 1983 too, there just wasn't and army of internet fanboys nitpicking every operational decision they made back then so nobody noticed.

Cost cutting is fine if it doesn't hurt the guest experience. In my opinion, this doesn't. I'm obviously in the minority.
 

drizgirl

Well-Known Member
Are you really that naive that you think cost cutting is something new? Disney was cutting costs in 1983 too, there just wasn't and army of internet fanboys nitpicking every operational decision they made back then so nobody noticed.

Cost cutting is fine if it doesn't hurt the guest experience. In my opinion, this doesn't. I'm obviously in the minority.
No, they aren't great. But even the worst human photographer with a camera set to "auto" will do better than a box taking random shots.
 

ParksAndPixels

Well-Known Member
Not every photo is perfect, but I’ve been happy overall with the quality and number of shots produced by photopass photographers. Our last trip with little ones we caught Mickey and Minnie with no line. The kids played on the floor with them for more than 10minutes! Thanks to photopass photographers that cared, we have some amazing photo memories! Btw, if I ever see @SirWillow in line, I’m handing him my camera! :)
 

Lensman

Premium Member
No, they aren't great. But even the worst human photographer with a camera set to "auto" will do better than a box taking random shots.
I wonder if Disney has plans to deploy additional technology to reduce the seeming random timing of the shots? There are a couple of different directions they could go:
1. Increase the shot frequency. Aside from temporary storage requirements and potential user experience issues, they could take multiple shots per second as well as shoot 4k video. Users could pick shots out from this continuous record of your visit to the photopass location.
2. Have people pick a few key images out of the above.
3. Train an AI to pick out the images the people in (2) pick.

This might be worthy.
 

DisAl

Well-Known Member
No, they aren't great. But even the worst human photographer with a camera set to "auto" will do better than a box taking random shots.
I agree. The technical quality of the photo of Mickey and my grandson posted earlier in this thread is not that great (too dark) but what is important in this shot is the TIMING of the photo. An automated system would most likely not have caught the exact moment Mickey allowed him to touch his nose and the wonder on his face as he did so.
I suspect some salesman sold a "bill of goods" claiming "this system is just as good as a live photographer" to some manager who knows nothing about photography. The system stinks.
 

drizgirl

Well-Known Member
I agree. The technical quality of the photo of Mickey and my grandson posted earlier in this thread is not that great (too dark) but what is important in this shot is the TIMING of the photo. An automated system would most likely not have caught the exact moment Mickey allowed him to touch his nose and the wonder on his face as he did so.
I suspect some salesman sold a "bill of goods" claiming "this system is just as good as a live photographer" to some manager who knows nothing about photography. The system stinks.
Seriously though, anyone with an ounce of common sense had to know this would be the case. My guess is Disney knew it would be a lesser product but decided that was an acceptable loss if it saved them money.
 

drizgirl

Well-Known Member
I wonder if Disney has plans to deploy additional technology to reduce the seeming random timing of the shots? There are a couple of different directions they could go:
1. Increase the shot frequency. Aside from temporary storage requirements and potential user experience issues, they could take multiple shots per second as well as shoot 4k video. Users could pick shots out from this continuous record of your visit to the photopass location.
2. Have people pick a few key images out of the above.
3. Train an AI to pick out the images the people in (2) pick.

This might be worthy.
I have a hunch most people don't want to take the time to sift through all of that to make a good shot. I would, but the average park goer? Maybe not?

Regardless, I doubt Disney would want to tie up the storage something like this would require.
 

DisAl

Well-Known Member
I have a hunch most people don't want to take the time to sift through all of that to make a good shot. I would, but the average park goer? Maybe not?

Regardless, I doubt Disney would want to tie up the storage something like this would require.
Even if they made more photos in the hope of capturing more good shots, they will still miss 99% of those BEST shots that capture the perfect moment.
 

SirWillow

Well-Known Member
Not every photo is perfect, but I’ve been happy overall with the quality and number of shots produced by photopass photographers. Our last trip with little ones we caught Mickey and Minnie with no line. The kids played on the floor with them for more than 10minutes! Thanks to photopass photographers that cared, we have some amazing photo memories! Btw, if I ever see @SirWillow in line, I’m handing him my camera! :)
Thanks for the call out. One thing I had a lot of fun doing on this last trip to Magic Kingdom was offering to take other guests camera and switching into my old photopass mode grabbing photos, both posed and a couple of times with characters. Then listening to the exclamations of happiness over the photos as I walked away- including one set of newlyweds that hadn't had many photos done. it is obvious that the photopass photographers arent' getting the training on poses and shots that they used to (really because so many of them are CP's now so they want to get them out there as fast as possible), but they're still able to get far better photos than a box would.
 

mikejs78

Premium Member
No, they aren't great. But even the worst human photographer with a camera set to "auto" will do better than a box taking random shots.
Even if they made more photos in the hope of capturing more good shots, they will still miss 99% of those BEST shots that capture the perfect moment.
That's not exactly true. I've seen things done with AI/ML and photography that blow most amateur photography out of the water. If Disney invested in this type of tech, it could work and even be a superior product. But from the look of the photos, they are a long way from that.
 

plutofan15

Well-Known Member
Yeah, going to have to say this is a major downgrade. I have the odd ability to be able to wiggle my nose like a rabbit or mouse, weird I know. Three years ago at the Mickey meet and greet in Epcot, Mickey noticed this and we got into a nose wiggling contest. The photographer got pictures that no machine would ever be able to capture. The best part of the photo is my son's reaction in the background.
397242
 

ParksAndPixels

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the call out. One thing I had a lot of fun doing on this last trip to Magic Kingdom was offering to take other guests camera and switching into my old photopass mode grabbing photos, both posed and a couple of times with characters. Then listening to the exclamations of happiness over the photos as I walked away- including one set of newlyweds that hadn't had many photos done. it is obvious that the photopass photographers arent' getting the training on poses and shots that they used to (really because so many of them are CP's now so they want to get them out there as fast as possible), but they're still able to get far better photos than a box would.
Yeah I’ve run into that a few times while on park. I don’t blame CM who haven’t received as much training, as standards have seemingly changed. But still better than the box... :)
 

Bob Harlem

Well-Known Member
I'm pretty sure the photopass photographers hate the boxes too. If you see one of them wearing a "coordinator pin" that usually means they are more senior photographers. Although as much as it costs to go to Disney these days they fact they do stuff like this is somewhat insulting.
 

SirWillow

Well-Known Member
I'm pretty sure the photopass photographers hate the boxes too. If you see one of them wearing a "coordinator pin" that usually means they are more senior photographers. Although as much as it costs to go to Disney these days they fact they do stuff like this is somewhat insulting.
The "coordinators" are the ones that generally handle the scheduling/ breaks or equipment. They make sure that everyone is assigned to locations, that the locations are covered in order of priority, that breaks go out, handles call ins or extending hours, etc. Or (depending on the titles they are using at the time) they'll be the ones to take care of the cameras and gear, assigning them to photographers, making sure everything is working, fresh batteries, etc. They're between the photographers and the lower managers.

So not exactly senior photographers. There have been a few coordinators that have never been photographers. Most were, but not all.

But yes, you're right that every photographer and photopass person I've talked to hates those boxes with a passion. And so do the characters and character attendants.
 

lee.moles.disney

Well-Known Member
Sad to see these machines giving disappointing results.

My husband and I are taking our first family trip next September with our adopted son who will have by that time. Photos are so I,portent to the trip.

To get the best results on our own pics, we've just bought a Sony A7 mK2 and lenses which is showing us some amazing results.

Bit miffed what to do now at these meet and greets with these kind of results? No photospass person there to even take a picture with our camera which tbh, I wouldn't be keen on them to handle
 

SirWillow

Well-Known Member
Bit miffed what to do now at these meet and greets with these kind of results? No photospass person there to even take a picture with our camera which tbh, I wouldn't be keen on them to handle
Ask the attendants that are there with the characters to take photos with your camera. They will be more than willing, and the handle a good number of cameras handed to them by guests. So they'll be able to get some decent photos for you- likely better than the box will.

The good news is it's only a couple of locations- Star Wars Launch Bay, Tink, and soon Mickey/ Minnie at Town Square. The rest of the locations that used to have photographers still should, though not every character has them.
 
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