5 Simple 'Desert Island' Effects You Can Do In-Camera

These effects are so easy, you barely even need your camera to do 'em. 

What's a "desert island" effect? Well, imagine being on a desert island thousands of miles away from your gear bag, a camera store, or like, the photo+video section on Craigslist and all you have with you is your trusty camera, a tripod, and whatever you have on your person. What kind of cool in-camera tricks do you think you could pull off? If you take a look at this video from the team over at Film Riot, you'll at least be able to do five.

These effects are great to have in your back pocket regardless of your budget or access to gear. They're incredibly simple to do, they can add a ton of production value to your film without costing you anything, and you don't need much if any additional gear. Again—you crash land on a desert island with your camera and somehow both of you survive—guess what. You can still make an awesome movie.

(Also, I know! You need a computer and an NLE and power and blah blah blah to edit some of these into existence. I'm sure you'll eventually be able to fashion a makeshift laptop out of coconuts and Premiere Pro out of, like, palm fronds and ground up fishbone. "But what of the power, V?" My friend, it's been inside you all along.)

Let's run through these effects quickly before it gets any weirder over here.

  • Whip pan transitions: Super simple technique here. Just perform a whip pan at the end of one shot and at the beginning of the following shot, edit them together, blend the transition if you need to, and boom! You've got a sweet whip pan transition.
  • Forced perspective: It's the good ol' "I'm holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa" gag (which is infinitely better than the "My wiener is the Leaning Tower of Pisa" gag...*gag*). Just arrange your subjects in a way that makes one appear larger or smaller and ensure that you've got some deep depth of field so everything is in focus. You can do this by shooting with a small aperture or using wider lenses.
  • Vaseline effects:  You know, because you probably have chapstick in your pocket on that desert island, right? Slop some of that stuff on your lens (or, better yet, over a protective UV filter) and start shooting. Experiment with placement and dispersion to get different kinds of cool effects.
  • Stocking filter: Stockings are on the island, okay? Let that just be a thing. Maybe you were wearing them, maybe you found 'em. Who cares, because when you stretch them over your lens, it produces a nice bloom.
  • Faking proximity: If you want to beat up some murderous great white sharks, who have animorphed into humans but only up to their waist, but not for real, only for a kick-ass maritime murder mystery sci-fi thriller you're making, shoot on a long lens to make it appear as though the furious fists and fins are being swung much closer than they actually are. 

What are some other super easy in-camera effects you know of? Share them down below.     

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1 Comment

Nice.. great.

August 29, 2018 at 4:09AM, Edited August 29, 4:09AM

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Sameir Ali
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