Tilt-shift Photography

Never heard of tilt-shift photography until today, but it is cool.  Here is an example - real scenes are digitally manipulated to look like it is a model.  Which in fact is exactly the opposite of what I try to achieve with my model railroading.

The video seems to have left the building.

May still be linked at engadget


  1. James:

    You say digitally manipulated, but there need not be any digital manipulation to accomplish this. Tilt and shift movements have been around nearly as long as cameras themselves, and thus you have been able to accomplish this look for the last century. Tilt is literally tilting the focal plane, which is very useful to expand the depth of field. As you see here, you can also tilt the focal plane to make it smaller, which has become popular almost to the point of cliche in recent years. Former NY Times photographer Vincent Laforet really popularized this (and made some very cool shots).

  2. Highway:

    I love Tilt-Shift photography, and as James says it's only recently that it's been done digitally. It was previously accomplished with lenses that actually do tilt their focal plane away from the plane of the camera. They've been pretty expensive one-trick-pony lenses, tho, so it hasn't been something that a lot of people do.

  3. Eddie:

    I always enjoy this ever-changing collection of tilt-shift:


  4. eddie:

    Boy, whoever made all those models was really good!

  5. eddie:

    More seriously: it's remarkable the way the illusion's very existence depends on the viewer having already been trained to expect that small object photography has shallow depth of field and that jerky motion pictures are a result of stop-motion animation using miniature models.

    Someone with an isolated cultural upbringing wouldn't "see" the same things we do when looking at these movies.

  6. Captain Obviousness:

    FYI the Engadget link is broken now...

    Tilt shift is awesome... first came across it several months ago with this video (given the music and the location, same guy who did the HP/Engadget one?)


  7. SB7:

    I was going to mention that tilt-shift has only recently been done digitally, but I was obviously beaten to the punch several times over. I can point out a trick for spotting the digitally-created effect vs the real thing. With analog tilt-shift photos vertical objects should remain equally in focus along their entire heights since they are equally far from the lens. (Assuming the photo is taken along a roughly horizontal axis. Adjust accordingly.) A tilt-shift created in post will often blur the bottom of a vertical object like a lamppost and leave the top in focus.

  8. James:


    While you're correct, it was "previously" accomplished by tilting the entire standard on a view camera, long before the likes of Canon or Nikon made specialized lenses.

    Also, these don't look digitally done to me. None of the attempts I've seen to do this in post processing look this good, so I'm guessing they just slapped a t/s lens on there.

  9. TJIC:

    Make magazine had an article on how to make a lens adaptor for a 35 mm camera a year or so back.

    Also, note that the title credits for Joss Whedon's "Dollhouse" use this effect.

  10. Eddie:

    eddie: A lot of our experience with film and image is based on our media culture. If you took a standard movie and showed it to a pre-cinema audience they'd have trouble following the basic narrative. Conventions of montage and various transitions indicating passage of time and such would be totally jarring to those unfamiliar with the modern semiotics of film.

  11. Salmon:

    Since I know nothing about that, I feel it is good and beautiful.

  12. eddie:

    TJIC: You're behind the times. Season Two has new credits, no tilting-shifting in sight.

  13. Maddog:

    Watching tilt-shift made me realize that we live in a tilt-shift world now. Foreign policy is not real it's tilt-shift! Domestic policy, politicians, everything is tilt-shift!

    How much to buy back my reality?

    Mark Sherman

  14. Eddie:

    Sadly, the HP ad link at endgadget is down pending someone getting permission from HP.

    Of course the HP site doesn't feature their new ad campaign, either.