Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Welcome to Elgin Park

Although Michael Paul Smith isn't involved in movie production, his photographs of miniature vehicles using forced perspective are a great example of the process and beautiful works of art to boot! For over 25 years, he has been building scale models. Elgin Park is a recreation of everyday scenes from mid-20th century America, all in 1/24 scale. 

Don't get the impression that he's just pulling ready-made miniatures out of the box and photographing them- oh no! There is a huge amount of craftsmanship in his modifications, custom buildings (with interiors) and streets.

But looking through his Flickr pages (and it's worth reading many of the captions) you'll get some great insight in how forced perspective and foreground miniatures can be combined to create some amazing images. It works the same for film.

An example of the end result. While Michael's work focuses on the 1950s, I'm a 1930s nut, so you get this image!
Here's the setup for the photo above. Note the way he has added a pole in his diorama to tie in with the real-world power lines.

This miniature interior would be seen through the window from the outside, but that's no reason to skimp on the detail.

The diner interior above is deconstructed, providing some insight into how everyday materials are utilized to become something else in the miniature world.

Self-portrait of the artist in his element.

Welcome to Elgin Park

Fon Davis Talks Miniatures

Fon Davis loves miniatures. He's been at work in the Hollywood industry for a long time and his company, Fonco, now provides special effects services to movies, TV and advertising, as well as creates content of their own.

Make magazine profiled him in a video awhile back and I neglected to link it here, which is a horrible oversight on my part. It's an interesting (though too brief!) look at miniatures in today's CGI-crazy world.

Make: Believe Visits Fon Davis

Friday, September 06, 2013

10 Movies With Mind-Boggling Miniature Effects

The Mental Floss web site recently did a breakdown of some of their favorite miniature shots.

"Filmmakers are, by nature, liars. They’re masters of misdirection and optical illusion and whatever on-screen flim-flammery is necessary to get the shot. Which is why, even in our CG-heavy age, the miniature special effect is still in (occasional) demand. Recent movies like Inception and The Impossible proved that the use of small-scale models to simulate large-scale cinematic visuals is not only viable, but can even be preferable to all-digital approaches. After all, the best miniature effects provide the sense of weight and realism that computers often can’t."

10 Movies With Mind-Boggling Miniature Effects