MATTHEW'S TIPS FOR BELIEVABLE MINIATURE EFFECTS
-Build miniatures at as large a scale as you can afford.
-Limit the length of time audiences see miniature effects in the finished edit.
-Light them realistically, usually with natural light.
-Mix the miniature effects with other techniques like CG and live-action to confuse the scale and keep the audience guessing. If a person walks through a miniature scene, it's harder for the audience to realize it's just a miniature effect - and with modern compositing, this sort of scale confusion isn't so hard to pull off!
-Record at high speed, using the square root rule (slow a shot down by half and it seems 4 times as large, slow it to one third speed and it looks 9 times larger, etc. This is with regard to physics of falling or breaking pieces of a model; small things that fall off small models hit the ground faster than big ones off big objects, so you need to slow the motion of the miniatures down to compensate.)
-Make the model highly detailed and realistic-looking. (My burning dollhouse in Troop 4 TV failed at this, it looked fake so burning it at 60 fps from a believable low angle was insufficient to sell it as real)
-Structure it like the real thing so if it breaks apart it does so in the right way. (My Duel 2030 exploding bunker at 1/8 scale, for example, looked good but could've been even better if the walls were prescored and a lot of little bricks broke off realistically when it blew up.)
A bonus tip for water, one of the hardest things to scale down well - mix detergent into the water to make the droplets in the water break into slightly (20-30%) smaller ones during a splash. BUT ALSO add an anti-foaming agent to minimize the bubbles that result from the detergent.
Bonus #2: Cloud tanks can make awesomely weird billowing-smoke effects!
If you're curious about my videos, take a look at HornbostelVideos.com.
If you want some of the useful, high-speed and easily compositable elements I've shot, for your own video projects, check out my stock media on Itch.IO.
There's a ton of fantastic stuff there and even more on the way!
Ads on TriumphantArtists.com and other websites run by Matthew Hornbostel, include banner ads from Comic Ad Network [top ad - an unfiltered banner rotation system predominantly used by web comics, art sites, but occasionally some questionable items.] and my own banner rotation system [bottom - anything here is either my own stuff like websites, online shops, or social media profiles, or has been vetted by me and found to be generally legit. I have several cashback sites [all of them are ones I've used and cashed out tens of $ from successfully already] and major online retail stores [Sony, Microsoft, Amazon...] in that mix. Usually they give me some sort of small compensation if you buy from them through the link, which I'm disclosing right now. They're all legit spots, but if skeptical do your own research before committing to anything.]