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!
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