Tilt-shift emerges as new effect in film

One big emerging trend in video and film is an effect known as “tilt-shift.”

Tilt-shift is a style that makes real-life footage seem cartoon-like.  In the style, everything moves at hyper speed. People race around like toys at high speed and huge objects can seem miniature. Gigantic cruise ships suddenly race around the frame like toys, and huge construction machines seem comical.

The tilt-shift effect is created by an optical illusion. In a tilt-shift video, a significant part of the frame is out of focus. With only a small part of the frame in focus, the objects within the frame appear to be miniature. Our brains use depth of field (focus) to measure distance, and tilt-shift capitalizes off of this quality to create an illusion.

Most tilt-shift videos are shot at a downward angle, which further amplifies this effect.  Colors are often over-saturated to exaggerate natural colors, adding to the cartoonish feel.

If you’re interested in shooting in this style, hop on any video site — such as vimeo.com — and check out a few videos first.  Many of the best tilt-shift videos involve huge objects like boats or cars, but huge masses of people have also been very successful in some videos.

To shoot a tilt-shift video, all you’ll need is either a tilt-shift lens or post-production software that can create the effect. When shooting, keep in mind that the key to a tilt-shift video is movement within the frame.  Also, tilt-shift videos are sped up at least 10x, so long shots are key — 60 seconds of shooting is only 6 seconds in a tilt-shift video.