A roundup of some of our favorite city-based tilt-shift videos.

What if a debigulator ray actually existed? You could point it at cities and shrink them down to the size of molehills. A ferry would fit in a teaspoon, a skyscraper in your pocket. It wouldn't be a very nice thing to do to the thousands of city residents turned sea monkeys, but it sure would be a neat thing to keep on your desk at work.

People on the Internet have been playing around with this idea for years, using a bit of camera trickery known as tilt-shift photography, (Architects also occasionally use the technique to get the perfect perspective on a building or, if they're jokers, will shift but not tilt to make a building look like it's falling over backward.) Tilt-shift photography has become well-known enough that it's appeared in a Thom Yorke music video and has inspired several websites devoted to the fun visual effects it can provoke. The technique really shines when used by competent videographers, though, as you can see in the following examples from cities all over the world. Can you tell the difference between these metropolises and super-realistic train sets? (Hat tip to ArchDaily for featuring some of these videos.)

"Little Big Berlin," by pilpop:

"High on London," by 24/2 Productions:

Tel Aviv-based Efim Graboy and Daria Turetski, aka threeshot, took five days to shoot their delightful "MiniLook Kiev" with a Canon EOS 550D:

"Downtown Nashville Tilt-shift," by Kelsey Wynns:

"Paris Plages," by Alta Media Productions (warning: contains powerfully French music):

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Design

    The Curious Politics of a Montreal Mega-Mall

    The car-dependent suburb it’ll be built in wants to greenlight Royalmount against the city government’s wishes but it needs them to pay for the public infrastructure.

  2. Design

    A History of the American Public Library

    A visual exploration of how a critical piece of social infrastructure came to be.

  3. Multicolored maps of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Tampa, denoting neighborhood fragmentation
    Equity

    Urban Neighborhoods, Once Distinct by Race and Class, Are Blurring

    Yet in cities, affluent white neighborhoods and high-poverty black ones are outliers, resisting the fragmentation shown with other types of neighborhoods.

  4. Design

    There’s a Tile Theft Epidemic in Lisbon

    With a single azulejo fetching hundreds of euros at the city’s more reputable antique stores, these tiles, sitting there out in the open, are easy pickings.

  5. Equity

    Capturing Black Bottom, a Detroit Neighborhood Lost to Urban Renewal

    “Black Bottom Street View,” now exhibiting at the Detroit Public Library, thoughtfully displays old images of the historic African American neighborhood in its final days.