Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hanging Miniature

A hanging miniature is the term used for in-camera photo effects, where a miniature is carefully placed to give the illusion that it is a full-sized part of the scene. These effects have been used almost since the beginning of filmmaking. Today, the same illusion is usually achieved with computer graphics. But even today computer graphics can be more expensive than simple model building. This is a film effect worth knowing.

This first image shows a space rocket coming in for a landing. The cluster of modules in the background is the US Moon Station from the 20th Century-Fox, Jerry Lewis comedy, Way... Way Out. The rocket coming in for a landing is actually a miniature (even in this SketchUp model).The single lens of the camera has no depth perception so, in proper focus, both objects appear to be on the same plane.

The second image shows the miniature landed on the hanging miniature base. This base is actually on the other side of the stage, far in the foreground, 60-feet away from the US Moon Station. Our weathernaut is leaving a station that appears to be about the same size as the space rocket. But the space rocket in the foreground is only one-quarter scale.

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