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Tilt-shift shot of a car park

News Exploring tilt-shift in time-lapse

11 November 2014 Daniel Curtis

The illustrious tilt-shift.

It was touched on briefly in one of our previous blogs, but we are now taking a closer look at such an enchanting technique and editing process.

The main takeaway from any tilt-shift video is the simulation of a miniature scene. To create this effect, two different types of movement must take place.

Firstly, the “tilt” requires the rotation of the lens to the image plane (the surface light is focused onto once it has passed through the photographic lens). And, secondly, the “shift” is the movement of the lens parallel to the image plane.

If that has you completely bemused, not to worry – Mooh’s guide to tilt-shift has some simple but handy diagrams that make it easier to comprehend.

There is another way to create a tilt-shift shot, however, which is by creating it as an added effect – making things a little easier from the off. There is a whole world of “miniature faking” out there, with post-production techniques used to digitally manipulate photos to add a shallow depth of field.

The ‘look’ created by tilt-shift is usually associated and encountered with close-ups. So when it is applied to long shots of urban areas it creates the miniaturised effect.

We have a lot of experience capturing projects in London, which was highlighted recently in our news article about our work in the capital. And photographer Mario Muth has created a time-lapse video, with a tilt-shift look applied in After Effects, of various aspects of everyday life in London.

Tiny London from Mario Muth on Vimeo.

Our work in Scotland has also been a major talking point, as has Philip Heywood’s Leith tilt-shift video. He, like Muth, used post-production techniques to achieve a miniature look on his shots over the Edinburgh harbour.

Leith // Time lapse No.2 from Philip Heywood / 80:8 on Vimeo.

Tilt-shift works best over urbanised areas, but it is not limited to the United Kingdom. The next couple of videos feature two of Europe’s most historic and influential cities – Barcelona and Paris.

Tilt-Shift Barcelona from joja on Vimeo.

Paris… (tilt shift & timelapse) from BISSON Nicolas on Vimeo.

That is not to say there are not other uses for tilt shift. Simon Berry captured the miniature world effect to perfection with his video of the Red Bull Air Race 2014 at Ascot racecourse.

At The Races – A Tilt-Shift Film from Simon Berry on Vimeo.

And even the Superbowl – America’s sporting pinnacle – can be transformed with some clever editing, incorporating genuine tilt-shift captures.

the tilt-shift superbowl | from The Season presented by SAP from stillmotion on Vimeo.

But do not forget why tilt-shift is such a popular and fascinating effect. Whilst it can be applied to individual, still frame pictures, it is only when they are put into a time-lapse video that the tiny worlds come alive in front of your very eyes

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