The SETUP / es­tab­lish a minia­ture war zone


1 Toys and props We set up our bat­tle­field with toy sol­diers. It helps to have an ar­ray of poses to add va­ri­ety. We also sprin­kled some soil in the fore­ground along with sticks, then used other props for the back­drop. 2 Scene depth To give our scene some depth, we posed our fig­ures and scenery on three planes – a fore­ground (the front­most sol­diers) midground (dis­tant sol­diers) and back­ground (hills, statue and trees). 3 Tri­pod We’ll build our im­age by cap­tur­ing sev­eral dif­fer­ent shots, so we need a tri­pod to keep them in align­ment. It must all stay in the same po­si­tion, so be care­ful not to nudge the ta­ble or fig­ures be­tween shots. 4 Ca­ble re­lease A ca­ble re­lease en­ables us to shoot with­out hav­ing to touch the cam­era. It also means we can con­cen­trate on cre­at­ing the smoke and light­ing it with the torch then fire the shut­ter at the right time. 5 Wide lens A wide fo­cal length is best as it lets us cre­ate a sense of epic scale. We shot at 24mm. This also ex­ag­ger­ates per­spec­tive, so ob­jects close to the cam­era ap­pear larger than those fur­ther away. 6 Dark room We’ll be paint­ing with light so make sure the room stays dark – this will al­low us to use longer ex­po­sures. So turn off any lights and seal win­dows, or try shoot­ing at night. The less am­bi­ent light the bet­ter.

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