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Shooting miniature sets

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#1 Michael Ognisanti

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Posted 31 May 2017 - 03:11 PM

Hello,

 

Anybody have any tips for shooting miniature sets made to look normal size?

 

From some research, I've found shooting with a wide macro lens at a deep stop will help.  Also, using a small sensor camera.

 

Any other suggestions?

 

Thanks

Michael

 


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#2 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 31 May 2017 - 04:54 PM

Is this just a lock off shot of a miniature, or are there camera moves? Are you doing forced perspective? Are there any practical elements interacting with the miniature (wind, smoke, water, fire, etc)? What's the scale of the miniature?

 

Basically, it helps to scale down the size of the camera perspective relative to the miniature - you want it to feel like there was a camera on the set with an appropriately realistic focal length and focus distance. So as you say, small size sensor, very wide angle lens, stop down, slow movement, maybe overcrank the camera depending on what kind of movement there is.


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#3 Michael Ognisanti

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 07:19 AM

Is this just a lock off shot of a miniature, or are there camera moves? Are you doing forced perspective? Are there any practical elements interacting with the miniature (wind, smoke, water, fire, etc)? What's the scale of the miniature?

 

Basically, it helps to scale down the size of the camera perspective relative to the miniature - you want it to feel like there was a camera on the set with an appropriately realistic focal length and focus distance. So as you say, small size sensor, very wide angle lens, stop down, slow movement, maybe overcrank the camera depending on what kind of movement there is.

Sorry I should have been more specific.  This is a lock off shot.  No special effects.  The gag is we think we are looking at an normal size room but then a hand comes into frame and starts picking things up.

 

It sounds like I'm on the right track though with small sensor and wide lens.  I like the overcrank idea too.

 

Thanks Satsuki


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#4 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 11:26 PM

There's a good chapter dedicated to it in the old ASC Manual. Get an older one on Ebay, and you'll have plenty of info there. But in general, yes, your'e on the right track. Greater depth of field will sell the illusion. If it's a static set, then no need to over crank, but if you have any moving elements, like snow, water, fire, you need to. There's a formula for that in the manual, too. With water and fire, the bigger the scale, the more convincing it will be.


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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 10:01 AM

It's mainly about getting as deep a focus as you can.

 

Think of it as if the shot were of a real-sized object, not a miniature -- how far would the camera be from the subject, how high in the air, etc.  If in "real life" the camera would be, let's say, five feet off of the ground and the subject was 50 feet away but now you are shooting a miniature version that was 1/10th as large so the camera would be 6" off of the ground and the object was 5 feet away -- so how do you get the camera 6" above the ground and how to do you get a lens focused at 5' to have the same depth of field if it were focused at 50'?  And it all gets harder when the miniaturization is greater.  You have to figure that most large real-world objects that are 30 or more feet away from the lens will be in focus from front to back, so your goal is to basically get as much of the frame to fall into focus as possible when shooting miniatures.


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#6 Michael Ognisanti

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 10:50 AM

It's mainly about getting as deep a focus as you can.

 

Think of it as if the shot were of a real-sized object, not a miniature -- how far would the camera be from the subject, how high in the air, etc.  If in "real life" the camera would be, let's say, five feet off of the ground and the subject was 50 feet away but now you are shooting a miniature version that was 1/10th as large so the camera would be 6" off of the ground and the object was 5 feet away -- so how do you get the camera 6" above the ground and how to do you get a lens focused at 5' to have the same depth of field if it were focused at 50'?  And it all gets harder when the miniaturization is greater.  You have to figure that most large real-world objects that are 30 or more feet away from the lens will be in focus from front to back, so your goal is to basically get as much of the frame to fall into focus as possible when shooting miniatures.

This is super helpful.  I'm using a Sony fs7 which has 2000 native ISO in log.  That should help me get a deeper DOF to start.  I'll use higher output lights and wide macro lens as well.

 

Thanks everyone!


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#7 Doug Palmer

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 04:24 AM

As David says everything in focus. But maybe some diffusion could help ?  I've found that it's really hard to make a miniature look exactly like a real object especially if it is static.  It's something about the outline and detail that somehow appears too sharp to the eye.  However, as your shot is of a room maybe the perceived closeness will work better than a more 'distant'  miniature. 


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#8 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 06:55 AM

I'm curious if anyone here has tried using atmosphere or Smoque filters to mimic the impression of atmospheric haze when shooting larger exterior miniatures. My understanding is that they did this on Jeunet & Caro's 'Delicatessen' and it works well in 'Blade Runner' and 'Alien'.
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#9 Michael Ognisanti

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 08:57 AM

I'm curious if anyone here has tried using atmosphere or Smoque filters to mimic the impression of atmospheric haze when shooting larger exterior miniatures. My understanding is that they did this on Jeunet & Caro's 'Delicatessen' and it works well in 'Blade Runner' and 'Alien'.

I was thinking of trying a smoke machine.  I have a really small one I got off Amazon.  That would give me a reason to overcrank too.  It might help sell it.  


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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 10:58 PM

If you see wisps of smoke, over cranking isn't going to help, they will ruin the sense of scale -- the smoke would have to be extremely finely dispersed into an even haze.  Miniatures shot in smoke often use suspended oil for haze.  You could try it but you'd have to be in a seal environment where the smoke could spread evenly.  I'd suggest a Smoque filter as well.


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