King of Excellent (according to Scaryduck)

Wednesday, August 10

On tilt-shifting

If you're arty, and appreciate things that look different, then tilt-shifting is very clever. The idea is to make normal images look like models. There are loads of tutorials on how to do this on the internet, most require Photoshop or silly priced lenses, but you can also use some websites like this one, which allow you to upload a picture, and it then creates the image for you.
The system itself is simple enough, and actually only requires two steps. The first is to blur the image, but in varying levels. Split the image into quarter strips across the image. Make the top band the most blurred, the next one down half as blurred, the third band untouched, and the fourth band the same as the second (2-1-0-1). Photoshop has lens blur, but other software with blurring like Paintshop pro can use Gaussian Blur. You need to tweak the size of the blur according the the size of the image, but don't over do it. This gives the images an added perspective, making everything look like models.
The second step is to adjust the saturation. This is how much colour comes through, and basically makes the images more artificial. I find an increase of between 25 and 40% is best.
The effect, as you can see from the image above, is impressive. But, that's easypeasy, and what if you want to do more? Well, Australian Keith Loutit did just that, and came up with some most impressive videos. His best video, winning awards by the bucketload, was Bathtub IV from a few years ago.

Now, I can't possibly aspire to be even close to as good as him, but the technicalities of this system have always intrigued me. Basically, you have to reduce the original film to a series of images (about 10,500 in my 2 minute film) and tilt shift them. I also take every other frame, causing the stop motion like effect, and speeded it up by 500%. I wanted to know if I could do the same, and in one of those "you have to try, you have to try, you have to try" I finally came up with a subject. We live on the edge of the county town of Clare, a town called Ennis (sounds like a film...), and I just wanted to show some of the 'sights.' It's hardly thrilling viewing, but the effect of the tilt-shifting is priceless. The view of O' Connell Street is my favourite, coming out way better than I expected.
Oh, and before you ask, the music is by a musician I first heard of nearly 20 years ago, called Ed Alleyne-Johnson. It's based on Mad World, by Tears for Fears or Gary Jules, but is played on his patented 'electric violin.' His music is truly chilling, and if you get the chance, search for him on youtube. He has some wonderful covers of well known tracks, and also some inspired covers of heavy metal tracks.
Back to my video anyway. Enjoy.