View Full Version : Making a small object look larger or opposite of minatures

16-Feb-2014, 12:50
Im very new to 4x5 and I have scoured the net on how to make a small object like a toy car appear life size. I see plenty of stuff on the internet on how to make life size things look small but no much on the opposite. I know it deals with rear tilt. However I think my plane of focus and camera level is the missing part of the puzzle. If anyone can explain this to me without complicated math. I would appreciate it.

16-Feb-2014, 15:10
Two points are to get on a natural level to the object--on a car that would be with your lens about even with the top. The second is the more depth of field, the better. Then you need everything else you can see in the scene to be in scale, which means anything normal size has to be very far away. I assume you've seen this? http://petapixel.com/2013/10/14/life-like-miniature-scenes-shot-using-model-cars-forced-perspective-250-ps/

Drew Bedo
17-Feb-2014, 05:53
Perspective and depth of field are among the things that giv away a miniature.

One trick that I have seen used with model railroads is to use a mirror at 45 degrees. Place the mirror with its edge on the table and facing the subject, Tilt the top edge back to 45 deg. Now shoot straight down into the mirror to get that s5tanding -on-the-ground perspective. Old SX-70 polaroids have a nice little front surface mirror inside.

The DOF issue may sometimes be delt with using movements. The camera has to be horizontal and level (OK, so no mirror . . .right) and the composition should have a realistic foreground.

What is your subject?

17-Feb-2014, 08:28
No particular subject. I am back in college working on a MFA. One of the assignments in my 4x5 class was to make a small object appear large using movements. I have seen this called looming but no clear description on how to do it through movements. The example that mdarnton posted is similar to holding up a quarter to block the sun. I understand that concept but what I cant figure out is how to do it through using rear tilt. There is an example here: http://www.onlandscape.co.uk/2013/03/the-art-of-looming/ I have tried to follow this with poor results. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks for your reply

17-Feb-2014, 09:19
Drew Bedo is correct; perspective and depth of field are the strongest "clues" as to the scale of an isolated object. If you want to make a miniature car look "real", you have to photograph it from about the same distance that you would be viewing it as a full-size automobile. Conversely, you can (as many have done) take a picture of a street scene from a high window, using lens movements to throw the background out of focus, and create the impression that it is a picture of a model city.

The effect that you are looking for is accomplished with a very short lens, with a viewpoint a few car lengths away. Rear swing will help to keep the whole the car in focus, but the key is that the relative sizes of the near and far elements of the image will be in the same proportion as they would be if you were looking at it from the same relative viewpoint--eyes at about roof height, two or three "car lengths" away.

There are (or were) systems for photographing architectural models built to exact scale, using a sort of inverted periscope and a computer-controlled motion system. The resulting video tour of, say, an office/apartment complex, complete with model pedestrians, was eerily realistic. The key was that if the model people were six inches high, the camera viewpoint moved along five inches above the model sidewalk, and the lens was short enough to give about the same angle of view as the human eye would.

My guess is that you will have a hard time doing this with a typical view camera, because you won't be able to use a short enough lens. Your best bet might be to start with the shortest lens you can manage, and work backwards to see what object and view point will re-create natural looking perspective. Then you can worry about managing the depth of field...if you just want to demonstrate the principle, pinhole photography might be the place to start.

Drew Bedo
17-Feb-2014, 13:40
]I hesitate to bring this up, as it may not satisfy the requirements of your assignment. With that said:

A technique often used in motion pictures (before CGI) is to use a greater than life-sized replica of something small.

I have done this with giant wine glasses from Hobby Lobby. Another one was cut gem stones.The image is 8x10 on Ektachrome. These are cut-glass décor items the size of a lemon.

17-Feb-2014, 14:04
lighting goes a long way too

the minature has to be out in the same lighting as the rest... I saw an article with a guy doing model cars..with a digi point and shoot no less... but he made the 'road' very realistic and he seemed to have a natural shadow..from a building or something run thru his set as well as the 'real' background

I think that was one thing that tied it together

17-Feb-2014, 14:24
I am back in college working on a MFA. One of the assignments in my 4x5 class was to make a small object appear large using movements. I have seen this called looming but no clear description on how to do it through movements.

I'd want to learn what LF front and back movements do, on a basic level, before tackling a practical assignment.

Does your college have a library?

Sometimes books are better than looking for people on the Internet to help you w/ quick explanations "without complicated math" or geometry.

Three oft-recommended books:
1) The Camera, by Ansel Adams
2) View Camera Technique, by Leslie Stroebel
3) Using the View Camera, by Steve Simmons

Monographs by the "Masters" often have illustrations and explanatory text. BTW, it occurs to me that the Simmons book above has a nice photo and caption about a miniature yellow construction truck that would help you with your assignment. And the Adams book has a photo and caption about "looming" tree roots. Ansel Adams is known to be a great practitioner who also happens to be a great educator.

If there's no library at your school, or it doesn't have LF books there, try the local library. Maybe you have Amazon Prime w/ 2-day shipping? Also, the search function here would be my next choice. Try key terms like "plane of focus," "front movements," "back movements," "DOF," (that's for depth of field), etc. You can type your term in the rectangular box, upper right, and click the magnifying glass. Remember the search function makes no judgements about knowledge in its results.

You could very well find threads dedicated to miniatures by using the search term "miniatures." Good Luck with your college research!

17-Feb-2014, 14:28
I have this old Sinar guide that is pretty good too - don't know where I got it...but it's pretty informative

17-Feb-2014, 14:48
[Double post.]

But while I'm here, Dr. Tang's mention of the Sinar guide reminded me of my Toyo user's guide that came with my 45c.

It's surprisingly good!

17-Feb-2014, 20:11
Thanks all for the advice. I was able to pick up View Camera Technique by Leslie Strobel at the College Library. I had some success with this assignment but I agree with others as to learning the camera and the movements prior to doing this... This was our first assignment and when I probed the teacher she could not answer any of my questions. She is a recent MFA Grad and does not have the experience required to teach this class but none of the more experienced professors were available. The only time she ever used a 4x5 was when she was in the same class i am attending. BTW I truly enjoy using this camera. I normally shoot Medium format 6x7 but this is a new world

Drew Bedo
18-Feb-2014, 07:08

Welcome to the LF community here. The talent pool here is deep and wide, so come back if you have another question, but read and research the topic first.

Post a few images here and let us knowwhat youj are doing in LF.

Pete Watkins
18-Feb-2014, 07:55
Somebody should warn you not to forget "the bellows factor" if you're going in close.