How to get the miniature effect?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Treymac, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. Treymac

    Treymac Member

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    Hey guys. I've been looking to try to take a photo with the miniature effect. But I'm having some trouble finding out how exactly to do it. Youtube doesn't have any videos on it either. So how it the effect achieved? Something to do with tilt and shift, although I'm not 100% sure what those things are exactly. Is it difficult to do?
    Thanks.
     
  2. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    No not hard.

    Need to get a POV that looks down into the scene, like you might look at a model railroad.

    Use tilt to reduce DOF and isolate a subject.

    Play until it looks right and shoot.
     
  3. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    I like to see an example.
     
  4. billbretz

    billbretz Member

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  5. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    From the examples, it seems like you want narrow depth of field at relatively low magnifications. Since depth of field depends on magnification, this is impossible to achieve without re-orienting the plane of focus. You can do this in the camera using movements, or in the enlarger, if you have one with a tilting lens stage.

    I have never heard this called "the miniature effect," but I guess it can make things seem small by combining the low magnification of the subjects with the smearing out of detail, making it seem less realistic.
     
  6. Tom Nutter

    Tom Nutter Member

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  7. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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  8. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    You tilt the lens which shifts the plane of focus. Your plane of focus is like a wall projecting out from the lens.. if you want to imagine it that way. By tilting this plane at an angle, you intersect your subject at a weird angle, or in other words, you tilt this "wall" so that it hits the scene off kilter.

    Not my best description, but that's how I see it.

    View cameras make this easy, as do MF cameras like the Rollei SL66. 35mm cameras also have T/S or PC (tilt/shift, perspective control respectively) lenses. Such as...

    http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/companies/nikon/nikkoresources/PC_Nikkor/index.htm
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/find/newsLetter/CanonTS-E17mm.jsp
     
  9. Treymac

    Treymac Member

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    Ok, so you just focus it like normal shot, then tilt the front lens plate either left, right, up, or down, wherever you want the focus to be?

    Thanks.
     
  10. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    You need the vantage point. May or may not be easy.



    Point the camera down, but use front tilt back. This will put only a central band in focus on the ground. It\'s exactly the opposite tilt you would use to get the whole scene in focus.





    It\'s a technique begging for a Crown Graphic.
     
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  11. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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  12. David William White

    David William White Member

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    Bingo, PE.

    OP, special effects photographers bend over backwards to make miniatures, models, and simulations appear real. I'm not sure what is served by making real scenes appear like toys, models, or cartoons. Has all the stink of a digitally inspired fad. Not trying to be a wet blanket, but that's my take on it.
     
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  13. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    I am seeing a bit too much of this effect lately, to be honest. I've seen it quite a few times in aerial landscapes, most recently in the Sept. 6 edition of Time magazine (images by Vincent Laforet).

    N.b. you can easily get this effect without tilt/shift lens or view camera. You can simply tilt your enlarger stage (or the photo paper), or you can re-photograph your print or slide and so forth.

    Anyway I will admit indulging in the mini effect a few times. Interesting is that it generated a bit of controversy when a Nat Geo photographer used this effect when revisiting New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina.

    P.S. some time ago I remember posting some thoughts on how the effect works i.e. why we perceive the scene as miniaturized when there is severely limited DOF. Basically the very quick refocus of our eyes creates the appearance of infinite depth of field for almost all common scenes that we see. This only breaks down at very close focus e.g. when you hold an object at the near-point of your eyes' accommodation. So... we tend to associate shallow DOF with small objects very near the eye.
     
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  15. Treymac

    Treymac Member

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    I think more than anything, it`s just something fun to mess around with.
     
  16. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Treymac, yes, it's basically that simple. If you have access to one of the aforementioned lenses/cameras then you could easily experiment with the effect, granted you have to have the right vantage point as was mentioned.

    It's becoming overused, but it's a very powerful phenomenon. It has nothing to do with digital intrinsically, except that a lot of people can do it now with software alone.. big whoop.

    It's definitely neat. That much I'll say
     
  17. Treymac

    Treymac Member

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    I`m definitely going to be going out to try it, I actually have a perfect spot - there`s a mountain that I can drive up with a lot of houses on it. Although I`ll be doing it in B&W, which sounds interesting because I`ve only ever seen it done in colour. And ya, I`ve seen tutorials on how to do it digitally, but doing it that just seems pointless. Doing it at the enlarger also sounds kind of interesting.
     
  18. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Yeah, black and white might be cool. I've never seen it either, come to think of it.

    The enlarger idea is interesting... one time I was projecting slides and I had this shot from the top of a press booth looking down onto a football field, when I projected it at an angle onto the wall the effect was striking.

    Be sure to post the results!
     
  19. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    The first examples page has a big header on it, saying "Tilt-shift photography".
    Which, of course, provided a clue that is hard to miss.
    :wink:

    However, some of the examples shown are not that easy to produce without doing what one caption reads: "fake tilt shift effect".
     
  20. Treymac

    Treymac Member

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    Question, tilting is rotating the front lens plate, but what is shifting?

    [edit: never mind, I just did quite a bit of reading on large format and it makes a lot more sense now]
     
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  21. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Well, my photos were models setup to look "real" and taken with a Nikon using a commercial "pinhole" adapter. I used one flash and a fill light (flash) slaved to it. Both flashes were mounted on the ceiling by clamps. There were to tilts or swings used, as the Nikon does not do them easily.

    The RZ67 has a nice tilt/swing adapter and lens. Most 4x5 cameras have that and add shift as well.

    Shifting is lateral movement of the back of the camera in the case of my 4x5s.

    PE
     
  22. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    you might consider using a longer than "normal" lens to compress the
    back+foreground a little bit
     
  23. Snapper

    Snapper Member

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  24. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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  25. Farside

    Farside Member

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    It's a film-making fad I hope dies out soon, as it helped to ruin some documentary programmes I was interested in seeing. Great in its early days, but very quickly overused, like most gimmicks that substitute for talent.
     
  26. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Yeah, but how do you do it?