Lucid Dreams Of Gabriel”, an experimental research film project created by Disney Research in collaboration with ETH Zurich, was shot at 120 fps/RAW in Engadin, Switzerland, one of the most spectacular mountain areas in the country

Why we made this film:

  1. Research to try out new production and post production technologies
  2. Education to take researchers through the nuts and bolts of film production and post production
  3. Integration to have many researchers working towards a common goal
  4. Footage to create professional film footage for future experiments and to provide it to the research community
“Lucid Dreams Of Gabriel” is a surrealistic and non-linear story about a mother achieving immortality through her son, unconditional love, and the fluidity of time
The film portrays a moment of transition, from life to afterlife, with the story being told from three different perspectives – a mother, her son, and the messenger who can alter time. Simona and her son Gabriel travel through three realms – a present moment, supernatural world and a lucid dream – to discover purpose after a series of events change their lives forever.

Through an afterlife mirror, Simona views the last few minutes of life with her son. Later, as Gabriel falls asleep, Simona receives a small gift from the Messenger - to talk to her son for exactly one minute. As the sands of time quickly run out, she appears to Gabriel in his dream to deliver a message that he will never forget.

Technology Features

  • ARRI Raw 120 fps HDR production workflow with custom scripts
  • Per pixel Flow-of-Time technology:
    • Global and local frame rate variations
    • Slow motion and retiming
    • Artistic shutters: rainbow, motion strobe, MotionSmoke
    • Compositing, temporal alignment
  • High dynamic range tone mapping
  • Medusa Performance Capture
  • AudioCom

Artistic Challenges:

  • highly experimental technical research project, most of the technology and plugins were developed during production
  • breaking the rule 101 (the story goes first), and letting the technology go first and then wrapping the story around the effects
  • a limited budget required a simple film with a minimum dialogue and cast
  • static camera shots were preferred to provide the maximum use of footage for future research


luciddreamsofgabriel "at"