The Late Movies: Amazing Miniature Worlds

Ransom Riggs

The scenery in these videos may look miniaturized, but it's not -- it's the real world, shot with tilt-shift lenses (or using a post-processing technique that simulates their effect), which without going into all the mind-bending mathematics of lens science, straightens out lines that would otherwise curve into the distance when photographed with wide-angle lenses, and creates a very shallow depth of field (meaning lots of stuff in the frame is out of focus). Essentially what this does is fake the look of miniature photography -- to sometimes amazing effect. This technique is used in the music video for Thom Yorke's "Harrowdown Hill," which is the first of our "Late Movies" this evening:

Remember, this is a real landscape, filmed from a helicopter and subjected to intense post-processing.

That was just the beginning. Things get even cooler looking when you use a real tilt-shift lens (instead of fake post-processing to simulate one), and add time-lapse photography to the mix.

Bathtub IV from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

Lilliputian Day from Carelton & Eda Holt on Vimeo.

Here's a really successful tilt-shift fake miniature time-lapse video of Saigon:

Tilt-shift master Keith Loutit gives Mardi Gras the fake-mini treatment. This is cool!

Mardi Gras from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

This one's amazing -- it's hard to believe this isn't a really elaborate stop-motion miniature version of a monster truck rally.

Metal Heart from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

A day at the beach.

Beached from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.