Spoiler Alert now - if you don't want to talk about how Disney makes the magic, stop reading now. This thread is about the technical achievement of the Magic Mirror in Belle's cottage.
Well Disney is known for it's 'magic' in its attractions, and in one of the newest opening in the fall of 2012, is Enchanted Tales with Belle. Part of this attraction is a magic mirror that transforms from a mirror to a door guests walk through.
Here is a video provided by Disney Previewing the attraction
It's a very cool effect and I was curious how it worked. So I've studied the videos a bit, and here's my theory..
The effect is hidden by the wood chair rail and vertical columns in the room. The mirror has segments that telescope, and the wall below the chair rail actually moves.
As the effect starts, mirror top and bottom frames telescope outwards, while the center of the mirror frame stays fixed. This can be seen in the videos where the ornate portions are on the 'outside' and smooth sections telescope out from the existing frame. Shortly after, the mirror grows verticaly by having the bottom portion of the wall slide down into the floor. The bottom edge of the mirror is attached to this wall, and as it moves down, the two mirror sides telescope outward to grow in length. The wall panel moves until the mirror's bottom frame is flush with the floor. This design allows the mirror's edges to grow in three directions while leaving the space revealed 'open' to see the projection surface behind.
The keys to this are the mirror frame telescoping in both directions.. and the space BEHIND the mirror frame on the sides is actually open/clear. The mirror sides move approx. the width of the mirror sides themselves. This means the sides either float over the wall, or possibly have a slight overlap behind the mirror frame so it can be mounted and possibly drive the mirror's telescoping.
The wall panel that moves has it's edges hidden by the wooden chair rail and columns on the walls in the room. The panel can slide behind the fixed wall when in the start position. The movement is also obscured by props sat on the floor in the room near the foot of the mirror.
The sum of these movements are illustrated in this crude gif
The green projection originates in the cottage and is hidden in the rafters. This animation of busy effects helps hide from guests the telescoping of the mirror's frame. It's not very visible in Disney's video, but if you look at this guest created video, you can see the edges of the telescoping sections much clearer.
But what about the mirror surface itself?
At the start, the mirror is a seamless mirror, that at the end, magically splits in half to reveal a doorway. The magic happens again by using the animation to obscure the change in the physical environment. Near the end of the animation, a set of wooden doors slides from right to left into view. This animation conveniently is the full length of the mirror and has dark areas where the seam of the doors meet. While this animation is sliding in, the mirror itself is actually sliding as well with a second mirror panel butted against it. When the door is to open, the two panels simply slide open like a closet door or pocket door would. The animation makes people think the door is opening backwards, but that is purely the projection on the flat mirrors.
Watch the mirror surface as the stripped areas in the animated GIF
So what do you all think? Have some other opinions on how it works? Please share!
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