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Miniature shoot Practicle?


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#1 Joseph Nesbitt

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 05:51 PM

I was reading a book about prcticle special effects, inside it had a short colum about shooting with minuatures. Now I know movies like The Posiden Adventure used minuateres to represent the ship, however I'm sure they had good artists and such to make it look like a ship. Anyways what I wanted to know was can I have a realistsic looking minuature on a small budget? And if so how do you light these things? Obviously on a big ship there is going to be lots of little patterns of light. Or is there a better method, compositing the shot always or trying to do this cg.
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#2 Toby L Edwards

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 07:09 PM

Joseph'
You should check out IN MY IMAGE by Scot McPhie. There is a really nice shot using Fore ground miniatures on Super 8 Film.
The greater depth of field of supper 8 makes it a nice choice for this type of work. Go to the link below. I'm sure if you contact Scot he will be very helpful. He post here often as is a really nice guy. His link is below. There was also a GREAT article in SUPER 8 TODAY magazine a few months back on fore ground miniatures. The link for that is below as well.
Hope that helps
http://www.mango-a-g...image/image.htm
http://www.super8today.com/

Toby
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#3 Kenn Christenson

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 03:14 PM

By lighting, do you mean interior lights in the model or lighting the exterior of the ship. Both lighting elements are usually pretty complicated to produce and shoot. If the miniature is moving - getting the lighting right would involve using a motion control camera and/or rig for the model. Shooting a model with both interior and exterior lighting almost always requires two exposure passes with the camera, to balance out the difference in brightness between the exterior lighting and the interior.

Breaking up the light on the exterior (patterns) is usually a good idea that helps sell the scale of an object - check out the behind the scenes material of the Star Trek the Motion Picture DVD and see what lengths they went to, to light the Enterprise.

You should definitely ask around your area for someone with experience building miniatures. Although you can learn how to build miniatures, it takes years to really master the art and create something that will fool an audience.

If you're doing a super low budget piece for the experience only, go ahead and try your hand at building something - I'd suggest finding the largest scale model kit you can afford and give that a shot - scratch building is MUCH more difficult and requires a LOT of math.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 04:42 PM

It starts with making a good miniature that holds up to close-up photography, unless the miniature will only be shot in long shots. That takes model-building skill.

As for lighting, you are basically simulating natural light at a high enough level so you can stop down the lens for more depth of field.

Since water itself doesn't miniaturize well, ship models tend to be built as large as possible, sometimes large enough to be shot outdoors on real lakes or other bodies of water, or if not, large studio tanks. And often they are shot outdoors under real daylight.
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#5 David Regan

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 05:38 PM

I don't have any personal experience, but if you want a good look at what really goes into miniatures, the behind the scenes stuff for the Lord of the Rings series goes into the subject frequently, and gives you a good idea of how it all works. There are other factors than just making it look natural, it has to be to appropriate scale, you have to consider if there is going to be compositing of say full scale foreground elements you will have to track the camera if it moves, and so on. I think its a really interesting field, so good luck.
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#6 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 04:33 AM

Like David mentioned, fire and water needs big models for the effect of scale. Stop down the lens (so as to maximize DOF) and using wide angle lenses will also help with enhancing the scale.

Old model work and miniatures could range from atrocious to fantastic. One of my favorite sequences is the boat crashing against the cliffs in the Guns of Navarone. It's absolutely flawless and really looks like the real thing. Not an easy thing to do with water. There's some amazing model work in all of the Alien films and most sci-fi from that era (Outland has great model work, for instance). Top Gun is another film that has a lot more model work in it than one thinks - also flawless.

For an example of some pretty bad model work, I'd say Logan's Run is a contender.

If you want to learn more, I'd suggest buying old Cinefex (pre 1994-94, I'd say) magazines on Ebay. They're a wealth of information. I've got most of the 80's issues, and they're just a joy to read.
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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 05:53 AM

I'd aslo add the model work from 2001 to the tier of some of the tops.
Mr. Frisch, do you mean "stop down the lens to maximize Dof?" or am I that tired?
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#8 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 06:52 AM

Yes, I did. It appears I was the tired one!

Changed it now.
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#9 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 07:03 AM

Whew, good, for a moment there i seriously questioned my sanity (after 30 hours of being awake, it's hard to tell what you know and what you're imagining! anyone know how to make blue people go away? :wacko: )
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#10 Kenn Christenson

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 12:44 PM

And, don't forget "The Right Stuff" lots of excellent (realistic-looking) miniature work.
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#11 Steve Wallace

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 01:07 AM

Un Flic by Jean-Pierre Melville has one of the worst miniture scenes (the helicopter landing on the train). Otherwise a great movie though. His films are so great but produced entirely independent so budgets were tight.
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