Those who have ever seen the surreal, crescendoing finale of Gaspar Noé’s psychedelic death trip film Enter the Void probably noticed how that the camera seemed to float over a miniaturized Tokyo. Called “miniature faking” or “diorama illusion,” the effect Noe used to pull it off incorporates “tilt-shift” a camera technique which involves tilting the camera so that only one plane is in focus, while the rest of the fame is blurred, resulting in a simulated miniature.
Corridor Digital, a VFX and YouTube video production company, makes use of this very same effect in their latest video The Smallest Empire. In it, aerial simulated miniature footage of people wearing ancient dress is digitally stitched together with footage from Game of War, a gaming app where players build empires through battle and transactions.
When the stitching works, it works really well. Some scenes aren’t so seamless, but that shouldn’t prevent people from enjoying its trippy splendour. The best moments, for our money, are when the characters are running through fields, turning black void into scenery, almost like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Now, perhaps someone could go ahead and use this effect to create an adaptation of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.