Comments 4

Tilt-Shift on Screen

Several times over the last few months I’ve seen TV shows, movies and even advertisements that have been shot, at least in part with a tilt-shift lens. I presume this has something to do with the Canon 5D mark II revolution that brought a photographer’s wide range of high quality optics into the cinematographer’s playground.

So what is a tilt-shift lens?  A lens that is able to  rotate the optics of the lens relative to the film / sensor plane (tilt) or  move the optics up or down relative to the film / sensor plane (shift). These “movements” are  usually done to control the plane of focus (tilt) or correct converging lines (shift). Landscape photographers might tilt a lens to increase the depth of field in the image ensuring front to back focus. Tilting the lens in the opposite direction creates an unusually narrow field of focus. This gives the effect of miniaturization.  It was used to shrink London for the recent BBC drama Sherlock, and  New York in the opening sequence for Gulliver’s Travels. Today I saw it used to transform a rally car into a toy.

Anyone else spotting the tilt-shift phenomenon appearing on their screens.

This entry was posted in: Photography


Travel writer and photographer living in Okinawa, Japan


  1. Tom Amick says

    I haven’t noticed this phenomena in videos here in the U.S. yet, but I did notice something like this when I was looking at a picture of Zamami village recently. The image looked like a miniature model of the actual town. I know about tilt-shift lenses, but I thought they were mainly used for architectural pictures to correct for line convergence which tends to make tall buildings look like they are falling away in the picture. Thanks for sharing the video.

  2. Hi Tom,
    Yes the miniature model effect is exactly what I mean. The shift is the part used for architectural pictures. Tilt can give you the miniaturization.

    Thanks for the link! Great stuff. Bookmarked!

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