Using Your Camera To Manipulate Size

Size manipulation plays a crucial role in all types of filming, it can be used to make a character appear powerful or weak. One example of size manipulation can be seen in a clip from Jurassic park. If you watch the clip below note how the camera gives a close up of Jeff Goldblums face, shifts onto the footprint (again noticing how the shot zooms right in to give the emphasis on the size of the footprint) then focuses on Jeff Goldblums reaction in the puddle within the footprint. However the really clever use of size manipulation in this shot is the side mirror shot, in this case it is used to show how close the T-rex is to the jeep. This method however can be used for multiple types of shot, depending on your desired outcome of the your shot.

What Is Size Manipulation Used For ?

Making ojects or people appear larger can increase the drama or suspense in a scene. It can be used to in corporate video for comparison to competing products or services. It also helps direct the audience to key points of the characters or objects in the scene.

Making People Look Bigger

Making someone look bigger often portrays them as powerful, it is also used when dialogue as an importance to the scene.

One of the easiest methods to do this is shooting a person from a lower angle, having the camera lower down and panning up slowly for example gives the illusion of great size. By using the lower angle and then zooming in we help create a large than life shot of that person.

There is a balance to this technique, over do it and you lose the effect completely, practice until you get the desired shot when you use this method. Then take note of the equipment you used, heights etc, write this down for reference, you will likely do similar shots in the future and this reference will help speed up the time getting your next right.

Using Wide Angled Lenses

Using wide angled lenses is a useful method for size manipulation. People or objects placed in the foreground using a wide angled lenses always appear larger and more dominating. Another advantage of this technique is the background has more depth which further enhances this method.

The Set

Again this applies to all types of video production. The set can be built to portray the person or object to appear much larger than it actually is. Ceilings can be very low and doorways small. All relative objects such as furniture would also be reduced in size to give a realistic look to the scene. Of course the opposite is true, to make people or objects look small you would simply use high ceilings, large doorways and large furniture and related objects. Back before special effects were used size manipulation in films was alot of work. You may also want to read  The Fountainhead by Ayn Rnd which gives a unique insight into these matters, it’s not directly for film but once you read it you will have a better understanding of size manipulation in general. Works by Ray Harryhausen may also interest you in this subject.

Special Effects

Technology and software have advanced to such a degree we can make the unbelievable believable. Imagine showing a film such as Jurassic World to someone 40 years ago, they would without believe the footage was real when you compare it to the quality of special effects back in those days.

Green screen has made special effects a whole lot easier, indeed visit YouTube and you will see people creating some great special effects from their homes, amazing.

The video below shows how green screen can be used to manipulate object or people and it is pretty cool.

We’ll cover green screen and software size manipulation in other articles, and it’ll need many articles because it is a very diverse arena of video production.

We hope you found this article useful, we’ll be covering alot more on size manipulation and dedicating a post to each method but all the methods mentioned here will certainly allow you to start experimenting with your filming.

We’d like to thank our friends at Bristol Video Production Services for helping us out with some of the information in this article.

Remember if you are a photographer these methods will still apply to you, the methods have exactly the same applications for photography as they do videography and filming.

Do you have something you want to share, we’re always looking for useful video production and filming information so why not drop us a line. We will give you a shout out for your business or blog as a thank you.

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