How to use a toy model and a forced perspective to create a high-end visual effect (VIDEO)


posted Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 6:06 PM EDT


If you've just started getting into shooting video with your HD-DSLR or video camera, here's a great clip showing you how to create a low-budget but impressive visual effect. In the one-minute video at the bottom of this post, filmmaker Vashi Nodmansky, demonstrates how to use a toy model and a forced perspective to produce a high-end effect

For the scene, which is from a feature film titled "The Grind," Nodmansky used a Humvee miniature for a flashback that occurs in a desert during the Gulf War. The film didn't have the budget to use a real Humvee (or, for that matter, to shoot in an Iraqi desert), so they bought a 1:18 scale, 12-inch model Humvee at Walmart for $23 and set the scene up in sand dunes outside of Los Angeles.

"The wonderful aspect of using models is that once you position them and get your camera angle…they are part of the scene," Nodmansky writes on his blog. "The sun and your lights strike them naturally and if your perspectives are correct, everything blends together in a seamless fashion. If the model is the slightest bit off, the illusion is ruined and falls apart. In this example, we were shooting on a Panasonic HVX-170 with a 1/3-inch sensor at the widest lens setting, so depth of field was not an issue. I was at f/11 and everything from one foot to infinity was in focus. The Humvee was about 2 feet from the camera and the actors were 40 feet away."


Check out the results below. For such a minuscule budget, it's pretty impressive. As Nodmansky notes, miniatures and forced perspectives have been used in filmmaking for a long time, most notably in Steven Spielberg's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," where Spielberg  used a 20-foot model of a battleship in a desert with the actors a quarter of a mile away.

Read more at his excellent blog.

(Via Filmmaker IQ)