How to Create Tilt-Shift / Miniature World Time-lapses

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Today, I want to show you how to do time-lapses that look like you’re in a miniature or tiny world, aka the tilt-shift effect.

In reality, this is a simple technique that can be done in any editing program. I’m going to show how to do it in FCPX, but once you see what I do here I think you can follow along in AE, Photoshop, or Premiere.

But before I get to that, I should probably explain why this technique is called the tilt-shift effect. That’s simply because you can simulate this miniature world on larger scales with a tilt-shift lens.

The best tutorial I’ve seen about that is this one from Canon’s Vincent Laforet – but essentially you can take a lens like this and use the tilt function to change the plane of focus. However, what kind of blows my mind is that there is no good reason that I can think of as to why you’d shoot your miniature world time-lapses like this. It gives you no ability to change the focus afterwards. I prefer to do it all in post-production, and in fact it’s really easy these days.

I think the blur technique is fairly straightforward in the video.

However, to get the effect right, I think it’s good to do a few more things other than just blur it. First, models like the legos we shot are usually painted with vibrant and saturated colors. That means you need to up your saturation, contrast and sharpness

Other than that, it’s up to your creativity. To wrap up my suggestions, here are three general rules to do after you do the blurring.

1. Get the angle right – pointing down at 30-45 degrees
2. Make keep that contrast and saturation up.
3. Keep the shutter speed fairly fast – 1/60th or faster.

In this video I talked about time-lapses from the Toronto Tiny world:

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Duration: 00:12:17

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