Ian F. Hunt

Cinematographer and Filmmaker

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Short Form Video – Idea Development (Part 2) Tilt Shift

Tilt Shift, Time Lapse idea development.
Thursday 20th January 2010

Tilt Shift Video

Tilt Shift and Time Lapse video has become front runner for my idea for the Groups Short Form Video. I’ve looked again at the assignment brief and its parameter’s and how this will effect the work of our Group 2. I now realise that my first idea of the small drama titled ‘Gangland’ could be made to work but its potential could be wasted firstly by the limitation of duration of just 2 minutes and the loss of creative control by having its beginning and end scenes pre-determined.

For these reasons I have decided to consider alternatives and one in particular which is very much a personal interest would be the filming of a sequence using the Tilt shift method. Having seen some examples of these in lectures at the end of 2010 I have become fascinated by this photographic/video effect and would welcome any opportunity to produce my own version.

Definition

“Tilt-shift photography” refers to the use of camera movements on small- and medium-format cameras, and sometimes specifically refers to the use of tilt for selective focus, often for simulating a miniature scene. “Source: WEB Definitions”

Ok that’s not that helpful it’s probably best to look at an example and then describe what’s happening.
[youtube.com/watch?v=HyZfIlxwsfI]

Tilt Shift example 1

This is a great example and ties in well with the brief title ‘a week in the life of’.

How does it work? well starting with videoing from a high vantage point seems to be the way to go  in this way your subjects are already in miniature. Next you need to decide in which area of the scene you are going to focus on and then in post you mask this and then blur the rest. In photography this seems to have the same effect as changing the focal length of the camera. There are special lenses produced to give this effect and they seem to work by moving the lens away from the sensor (Digital SLR) and they also give some lateral/tilt movement hence the term Tilt Shift you are literally tilting the lens.

I’ve seen an example of a home modified camera/lens setup where the camera lens has been moved a small distance away from the camera body by using a black flexible pipe. Changing both the the focal length and giving some flexibility to the camera body/lens angle.

Anyway back to the point in post we can simulate this effect by blurring the image outside our area of interest which is safely masked. Then to add to the Toy like effect you ramp up the saturation to give a very unnatural colour to your subjects (Primary Colours) and then up the speed of the video sequence making the subjects move across your screen at a rapid rate.

The big idea ‘A day in the life of Bournemouth’ Tuesday ‘Bus Stop to Bike Wheel’

My idea is to start our 2 minute sequence with a close up of a Bus Stop in Bournemouth’s Triangle and rapidly zoom out manually blurring the entire scene seemingly in one movement refocusing the scene from the  high vantage point from where we would be filming from. This would be ideally from the roof of one of the buildings overlooking the Triangle. The best day I’d suspect would be a Saturday just so that we maximise on foot traffic.

We’d have to experiment to see how much footage we would need to give the desired effect but I’d say we’d need an hours filming for each minute on the screen. My idea would most probably be more effective if we then moved to 2 more vantage points to vary the scene avoiding the audience losing interest.

My first thoughts would be filming the beach from the top of the BIC or the now defunct Imax building or Pavilion and then onto a 3rd location overlooking the Wessex Way during commuting time and maybe include the trains coming in and out of the station. In fact there are so many interesting locations to film that we would almost certainly have more footage than we would need.

The final sequence would be zooming down to a cyclist again seemingly in one movement to an extreme close up of a bicycle wheel.

What’s Next?

Assuming my pitch is successful and the rest of the Group are on board with the idea then we will need permission to film from one of the possible location sin the Triangle. A site survey would be needed to work out the best location but my immediate thoughts are Debenhams in the Tirangle, The BIC and ASDA’s or a Bridge across the Wessex Way. I think there maybe a Bournemouth University building overloooking the Wesex Way which maybe a possibility.

Equipment

We’d have to try what is available to us to see what works, that is the Sony Z5 and it’s Zoom but if possible I think an SLR with a good quality Manual Zoom lens would be the best choice for this application – can we get access to one of these?

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