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Sweet Sadie Helps Disney Theatrical Productions Commemorate "The Lion King's" 15th Anniversary

A call was heard in New York that echoed around the world" was the emotional theme of a video produced by Sweet Sadie, Inc. for Disney Theatrical Productions commemorating the 15th anniversary of "The Lion King's" debut on Broadway.

The video was shown at the end of a special 15th anniversary celebration performance of the musical at the Minskoff Theater. Sweet Sadie was tasked with collecting thousands of images and video clips from over 1900 cast members and creatives from the Broadway production as well as 17 productions world wide. The media was then used to create a compelling yet intimate video.

"Our goal was to create a cohesive story communicating the heart and soul of 'The Lion King,'" said Rachel Lederman, founder of Sweet Sadie. 


The video featured the signature song "Circle of Life" sung in various languages by its far-flung cast and employed the image of the growing branches of a the show's Banyon tree connecting "The Lion King" with all its major productions globally. "The video was a particular challenge because we had to conceptualize, design and edit a huge amount of elements in less than a month," she noted.

Disney provided the studio with a massive trove of stills and videos tracing the far-flung 15-year history of the show from which to draw. Employing After Effects, the Sweet Sadie team set about to bring this material to life by animating cast and crew images against new backgrounds, such as show set photography and crowd scenes complete with flash bulbs popping. 2.5D techniques were used to "cut out" foregrounds from backgrounds to stunning effect.

The Lion King, 15 Year Anniversary from SweetSadieINC on Vimeo.

Sweet Sadie's team of talented animators used the Adobe Creative Suite to create the desired look of the video. To create the 2.5D effects, they first leveraged Photoshop to cut the hundreds of still images from their backgrounds, then seamlessly integrated the stills in AE to create the simulated 3D look.

"The whole process was executed with precision by our team who worked under extreme deadlines to deliver a project that we are extremely proud of," said Lederman.

Because the video was to be accompanied by live orchestra and singers, the studio was provided a piano track with singer to edit to correct timings.  "The timing had to be perfect," Lederman said. "It all came together and there wasn't a dry eye in the house."

The studio, an award-winning boutique creative production company, has maintained a long-standing relationship with Disney Theatrical Productions handling its video creative. "We go back to when Disney needed an innovative 30-second commercial for '"The Lion King'" to play in  taxicabs," said Lederman. "They liked the work so much that we continued to be awarded more and more projects and have enjoyed a great relationship with Thomas Schumacher and his team at Disney Theatrical Productions."

A recipient of Clio and numerous Telly awards, Sweet Sadie also spearheaded the campaigns for Disney's "Mary Poppins," "The Addams Family," and the Radio City Rockettes. The studio provides production and post production, including motion graphics, visual effects, color correction and finishing, for broadcast, automotive and other clients.

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Related Keywords:Disney, The Lion King, Sweet Sadie, Adobe Creative Suite, Post Production

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