Filming with the Tilt-Shift Effect in South Africa

We’ve recently been blown away by the videos Luke Bell of South Africa has been sharing with us, and specifically by the way Luke is using the Tilt-Shift Effect to make things seem smaller than they actually are.

If you’ve been following us on Facebook, you might have seen some of Luke’s videos. One we recently shared was called Mini South Africa, and followed a similar approach as the video featured below in today’s blog post, called Cape Town Mini Town.

Scroll down if you’d like to learn more about the Tilt-Shift Effect Luke used to get this unique miniature look in his videos.

The Tilt-Shift Effect

As we mentioned above, in order to create the miniature effect you see in the video, Luke used an approach called the Tilt-Shift Effect.

According to to photographer RL Miller (who we were lucky enough to interview a little while back!), the Tilt Shift Effect “is a method that makes an image appear as though it is a miniature version of the subject.”

The Tilt-Shift Effect can be done by shooting subjects from a high angle (especially from the air), which creates the illusion of looking down at a miniature model.

A camera equipped with a tilt-shift lens, which simulates a shallow depth of field, is essentially all you need to do this.

You can also create the Tilt-Shift Effect in post-production using Photoshop.

Tilt-Shift Photo Example (see link below for photo credit):

Tilt-Shift Effect Example

Image Source

Luke’s Words on His Video and the Tilt-Shift Effect

Living in Cape Town, we are continually awed by the beauty our city has to offer. As content creators and consumers ourselves we have seen our city captured from every angle there is. From FPV trail runs, to sweeping vistas captured from up high, it has been hard to share the majesty of our city in a way that we felt would be original.

Thus, instead of thinking epic, we thought small. Living in Cape Town is just fun and as a result, what better way to depict our city than as the playground it is.

We have admired tilt-shift videos for a while, but given that we had only 24 hours to capture our video, we were daunted by the proposition of finding and gaining access to the buildings and look-outs tilt-shift videos are normally captured from. To solve this we turned to probably the greatest filmic problem solver to come out in my short career as a video creator: the drone.

Using our DJI Phantom we were able to capture angles and scenes we would have been unable to shoot using even the longest telescopic lenses. More than that, we were able to cover exponentially more locations in just one day.

All of this came together in the short video you have here, which showcases the beauty of Cape Town in a way never shown before. There is something humbling about seeing the big city we live in as something small.

Video Specs

  • Location(s): The video was shot at 20 different locations in South Africa. 3 were just outside of Cape Town.
  • Camera(s) used: The Phantom 3 Professional was used.
  • Editing software used: Final Cut Pro X was used for post with the FCP Tilt Shift Plugin from the App Store.

Looking for the best camera drones on the market? Check out our recently updated guide, The Best Camera Drones for Aerial Photography.

Happy flying!

Alan Perlman

Founder at UAV Coach
Alan is an FAA-certified drone pilot and founded UAV Coach in 2014 to help connect drone enthusiasts, to provide world-class sUAS industry training courses, and to help push the drone community forward with a focus on safety and commercial opportunities.

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