Here are a few tips on how to create a high-quality miniature set that feels life-like.
With Hollywood still shut down due to COVID-19, filmmakers are having to get creative and sharpen their set design skills. Miniature set designs are a perfect way to create detailed scenes that bring style and depth to the film without having to pay much out of pocket.
Sebastian Jern, a Swedish filmmaker, recreates sets from major movies to see if it is possible to recreate Hollywood on a table. His high production value on a Hollywood scale made small is created by mostly practical effects and a little bit of post-production magic. Jern shared some tips with Artlist on how to get the most out of your miniature sets.
Check out the video below, then read on for tips.
Making realistic miniatures
There are lots of tips to be taken from this artistry. Here are our key takeaways.
Start with an idea. Study shots from scenes and note what it is that makes the shot feel real. Check to see the particles that are in the foreground and background, the vibe of the scene, and then find out how the large-scale sets were created.
Lighting is crucial. A set can be beautifully designed, but only lighting can create depth and mood within the scene. Understanding shadows and contrast can produce the most beautiful shots. While creating the Avatar-inspired forest shot, Jern used four LED lights to emphasize the silhouettes of the plants and mimic a mystical feeling that comes from the forest and four UV black lights to highlight all of the neon that was painted on each leaf.
Pay attention to the details. The best results are achieved when the visual and the practical work together. Use a matte knife to create slashes or dig out pieces of Styrofoam to create texture in the scene. Study the visual reference to know what can be added to make the shot feel bigger than life. Try to make most of the details in the shot practice, then add layers and layers of dust, fog, snow, or even fireflies to add more depth and realism.
Filming is the fastest part of this process. Building the set will be the longest part of the whole process. The nice thing about this is filming won’t take too long. Use a narrow lens like a small form factor lens to move through the terrain. Moving the camera between objects will make the miniature feel life-size and will sharpen your skills on scale and diagrams.
What do you want to make a miniature of? Let us know below!