• Dylan John Dickerson

How to make a TILT SHIFT effect video for FREE in Final Cut Pro X (no plug-ins needed)




Tilt shift photography and videography is most commonly created by using a lens specifically designed for that look. Basically, the lens optics tilt and shift in the relation to the camera sensor, thus making magic. Seriously it’s like magic.



So when you go out filming, it’s ideal to find a spot that looks down on what you want to film. This will give the illusion that the viewer is some kid, or adult, looking down on their oddly realistic model toy set. What I did was just keep my camera static and zoomed in on a specific area for around 2 minutes each.


The first test I did, I shot a photo timelapse, byt it didn’t look as good as when I shot a video. The cars were just moving too fast for my liking. With video, I changed my shutter speed to 1/96th instead of 1/50th and by keeping my frames per second at 24fps, I was able to create some unnatural movement out of the cars, which fit well with the mood of the film.


In the editing room, you’ll upload your footage and color grade. I figured since most toys and model sets are brightly colored, that my shots should be, so I bumped up the saturation a little and made sure to expand my dynamic range, as usual. To make the movement of whatever is in your shot more unnatural, speed up the clip. I sped most of my clips up anywhere from 200%-1000%. Just find what you think looks good.


The main effect in FCPX you’re going to use is called Focus. It’s free and it can be a little tricky to get right on some shots. Just play with the settings and find what you think looks best. The amount is how much of the effect is put on the clip, and this varied for me from shot to shot. Softness is basically how gradual you want to make the effect. I found that I rarely went over the default settings which is around 578, but definitely played around with it below that default setting. Emphasis is subtle but basically it’s like vignetting and highlighting your focus. This setting wasn’t as important in my opinion but I’f still mess with it. With width, I had the slider almost always to 100. The times I lowered it, it was only a few points. Lastly is height and this is how horizontally tight the effect is. You’ll play around with this one a lot. Basically there’s no set settings. My sliders were quite different most of the time. I experimented with different options to find what I thought looked best.



The other two effects I added were sharpen, which I set it to around '2.0', and cartoonize, and this one I set to '28'.


Finally add some sound effects to finish off the video. I started out trying only high pitch sound effects because I thought it'd be funny and would go well, but I ended up actually liking the normal sounds of cars and buses going by for some reason. I did add some higher pitch horns though to give it a nice touch.


And that’s about it! You now have the free and simple recipe to creating your own miniature world.


Copyright © 2020 Dylan J. Dickerson. All Rights Reserved.

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