Unable to shoot on location in Salzburg, where the story is located, Kevin and his production team decided to turn their Toronto studio into a virtual set. Kevin completed all the background photography while in Europe – stopping at locations throughout Salzburg, Bavaria, Munich and Vienna – and then digitally reconstructed the photography using CGI technology.
They were able to create a 3D world in post production, using the kind of technology used in movies like 300 and Sin City. Then, real actors performed their scenes in front of green and blue screens and background animation and images were added later.
By using this method, majestic places like Neuschwanstein Castle – a 19th century Romanesque Revival palace on a hill in southwest Bavaria – was included in the film. The castle was originally built as a refuge for the shy King Ludwig II of Bavaria, who barred all of his palaces to strangers. But after his death in 1886, it was opened to the public and currently sees about 1.3 million visitors a year. During the summer, 6,000 visitors a day can be seen strolling through the rooms that were used by just one man.
Neuschwanstein has been used in several movies and apparently inspired the Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland. But while the setting is idyllic, the foundation and walls of the castle must be continually monitored and secured because of the effect of the harsh climate.