Creating huge landscape sets isn’t something we can do. You can of course go shoot on location and with some clever post production and compositing, you can completely alter your shot. You can literally place yourself in any world that you want. This is also a technique that is used often in Hollywood movies.
But what if you don’t have the correct location? Well why not create your own location, but then in a miniature form. With some time and some crafting you can really create stunning new worlds. And a great example for this technique are the older Star Wars movies.
Which lens to use
Now you can’t just start shooting miniatures without some preparation. The first thing you need to think about is the lens we are going to use. You probably think, everything needs to be big so let’s take out our tele-zoom lens and shoot from a distance. Well no, the objects will take a lot of space in your framing, but you won’t get the feeling it’s big. You are far away from it and you can feel this as audience.
So what do you need? A wide angle lens and you need to get close to your object, making it bigger and creating the feeling you are nearby. So if possible you best take a Wide angle macro lens. But this will bring us to the next problem, the shooting angle. It’s always better to try to take a low angle shot. This will mimic the feeling of a normal eye level shot, again immersing you more in the miniature landscape.
And then the last thing you need to pay attention to and that’s the depth of field. If you are shooting close to your objects, then you need to close up the aperture. This will enlarge the depth of field, giving the miniature object a more realistic feeling. But when doing this, you will need to crank up the lights in your scene. Because you are blocking out the light with your closed aperture.
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