Shifting Perspectives

by Megan -

The technique of tilt shifting is becoming increasingly popular in the film world. This effect uses tilt shift lenses to manipulate the depth of field and perspective of scenes filmed through a normal lens. By rotating the lens against the image plane (tilt) and the movement of the lens along the image plane (shift), filmmakers are able to obtain a very shallow depth of field, distorting the focus of the image.

Using the tilt shift technique often results in “miniature faking.” The effect of this is a life-sized scene being “faked” to look miniature. This is what Keith Loutit achieved with “The Lion City,” his time-lapse animation of the beauty of Singapore. His idea behind the film was to use the tilt shift technique to let the viewer experience the focus and distance of Singapore for themselves. He also wanted to translate Singapore’s constant heat and humidity, which resulted in some really great shots that played on the distortion of the image’s focus.

The film was shot in all digital stills on Nikon D3s and D4 bodies along with the Canon 5D MKII/Little Bramper combination for some day to night work. Keith also used an extremely large-scale dolly for the tracking shots, and he used lenses whenever possible for the different focusing effects. He edited the film in Final Cut Pro and added effects in After Effects. All of this resulted in an incredibly unique and surreal view of Singapore. Check out Keith Loutit’s “The Lion City” above!

Want to try your hand at creating a film like “The Lion City”? iStopMotion offers features that give you the perfect opportunity to mimic the tilt shift effect in a time lapse just like Loutit’s. Keith Loutit used time-lapse animation to speed up different aspects of his film, such as traffic racing along below the buildings. Try using iStopMotion’s time-lapse feature to show movements sped up in time, like the blooming of a flower, the melting of ice or a sunrise or sunset.

iStopMotion also has its own tilt shift feature that mimics the effect created with specialized tilt shift lenses. It does a fantastic job of tricking the eye into seeing something a bit differently, just as “The Lion City” does. Tilt shift is perfect for stop motion animation’s small movements and individually photographed frames. This unique pairing of tilt shift with stop motion and time lapse recording software allows animators to expand creative expression, manipulating the depth of field of their images so that life-sized locations or subjects appear miniature in size. For a great example, this time lapse from the Munich Olympic Tower was created using iStopMotion’s tilt shift effect. To make your own film using tilt shift, just draw the line you want your image plane rotated against right on the screen, and then adjust the focus. You can even adjust the picture’s color using the scales on the side of the screen to give it more of an interesting effect. Use iStopMotion’s tilt shift feature to show off your own unique perspective!

We’d love to see what you can do with iStopMotion! Hit us with your best “shot!”

*Please note: the above example was not created using iStopMotion