While we all love to go to movies these days and get lost in the big-budget CGI spectacles that are most modern superhero blockbusters, there’s a certain charm to being able to revisit the film classics that made the most out of practical effects and basic VFX wizardry.
No one knows this better than the Swedish filmmaker and visual artist Sebastian Jern, who is an expert in creating beautiful (and cinematic) miniatures that feel bigger than life once you put them on video.
And, thanks to a new (and insane) giveaway coming from the team at Syrp Lab, you too can unlock the power of miniature VFX wizardry, as well as add some helpful motion tracking tools to up your film and video projects.
And all it takes is signing up for a monthly newsletter… Let’s dive in!
The Syrp Lab Giveaway
Before we check out this cool interview with Sebastian Jern and get a peek behind the curtain at some of his tips and tricks, we have to showcase this incredible giveaway being put on by Syrp Lab. Combining years of experience in R&D and innovation, the filmmaking team at Syrp Lab is dedicated to creating a new and unique approach to product development, developing next-generation tools for creatives.
In collaboration with Jern, they are giving away over $10,000 worth of film gear, including the very same motion control kit Jern uses to create his incredible miniatures that you’ll see in the video below.
All you need to do is subscribe to Syrp Lab's monthly newsletter for a chance to win! (Prizes are drawn on Aug. 5, 2022.)
Unlocking Sebastian Jern's Process
Chase from Syrp Lab sits down with Jern to go over how he has been able to bring new life to the art of miniature VFX in his video projects. It’s really a great interview full of awesome insights into how Jern has been able to bring both art and education to a rapidly growing Instagram and YouTube.
But what can filmmakers learn from Jern’s workflow and approach?
While he’s mostly self-taught in art design and miniature videography, Jern has quickly carved out a name for himself in this DIY filmmaking space. He does this by focusing on depth. Everything that is done to his miniatures in lighting, physical design, and camera movement is all in the name of depth.
For example, in Jern’s Stranger Things miniature, the road isn’t actually straight but becomes thinner the farther it is from the camera. This accentuates its vanishing point and creates—you guessed it—depth! However, the 1917 miniature was all about the lighting and special effects. While the miniature was simple, Jern’s use of smoke and silhouette lighting gave his frame a multitude of layers.
The use of depth really makes Jern’s work unique. If filmmakers take one thing away from his work, it would be to focus on depth in their images and stories. How can you utilize silhouette lighting to create depth? How does it inform your story? How can you deform your props to create the illusions of a bigger (or smaller) space? Just because Jern’s techniques work in miniatures doesn’t mean they won’t work for life-sized props and people.
From his creative use of lighting to his pristine focus on depths and miniature design, these tips and tricks can help filmmakers bring their projects to life, whether big or small.
Sebastian Jern’s 3-Axis Kit
Syrp Lab is excited to be offering this giveaway which includes Jern’s signature 3-Axis Kit as the 1st prize. In this kit, you’ll get the following pieces of gear, including:
- Genie II Linear
- Genie II Pan Tilt
- Magic Carpet Pro 61cm
- Magic Carpet Carbon Fiber Kit w/ Extension
- 2x Manfrotto 055 Tripods
- 2x Manfrotto Move Quick Release
- Manfrotto Pro Light Camera Bag
It’s also really cool to hear Jern talk about the importance of these motion control tools as a way to really make sure you’re capturing real-life parallax in your videos as you aim to create as many details on set before you make your subtle touches in the edit.
And remember, to enter the contest all you need to do is subscribe to Syrp Lab's monthly newsletter to be in to win!