Sunday, 19 October 2008

Filming Miniature Models

Filming miniature models can be make or break when it comes down to how successful they look on camera. A model can be very well made but can still look unbelievable if it isn't filmed in the correct way. This all comes down to scale, depth of field and camera speed.


  • Depth of field: To make miniatures look realistic it is important to photograph them with the same depth of field as would be used in normal scale photography. This will usually involve having to get quite close to the model, but making sure that both the model and the background are in focus. For example if you filmed a normal sized car from a length of 3 metres, the car and the majority of the background would be in focus. To re-crete this depth of field on a 1:10 scale model car you would need to film the model nine tenths closer, so only 30cm away.

A couple of months ago I came across a process called Tilt-Shift photography, which is a perfect example of how important depth of field can be in relation to creating the illusion of scale. The Tilt-Shift process involves manipulating photographs of life sized objects or locations to make them look as though they are miniature scale models. Click on the link below to have a look at the results and some examples of this technique. http://www.tiltshiftphotography.net/


  • Camera Speed: The camera speed used to film models also plays a big part in how realistic they come across. There is a specific formula for calculating camera speed when filming scaled miniatures. D=Dimensions of full scale object (feet) d=Dimensions of model (feet)

3 comments:

John said...

I'm interested in where you got your formula for camera speed (like a book and page number will be appreciated). I've thought about scale models in movies for a while and came up with a formula based on physics. I kept wondering what people in movie industry use until I saw your blog. My formula turns out to be the same as your quoted formula. Yeah, physics works.

Nityanand Mahale said...

Hi very nice blog with lot of informations. We also manufacture various kind of Scale, Engineering & Miniature Models.
Thanks for sharing.

Nityanand Mahale said...

Hi, this is a very nice blog.. We also do manufacture and offer Scale, Engineering & Miniature Model .
Thanks for sharing.