‘Toy Boats on Sydney Harbour

By Amy Middleton 7 November 2013
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This award-winning and highly creative film presents a fun take on Sydney’s iconic harbour.

THE FIRST TIME YOU see a tilt-shift time-lapse, you may mistakenly marvel at the wonders of modern toy manufacture.

In fact, you should be marvelling at the wonders of digital film – it’s with these techniques that Nathan Kaso created the “miniature” effect in his stunning, Sydney-centric video, Toy Boats.

Toy Boats is a playful depiction of Sydney’s bustling harbour. Light-hearted xylophone is the backdrop for typical Harbourside scenes – ferries at first light, surfers at Bondi Beach, even tiny, suited tourists descending the arch of the Harbour Bridge – all made to look like a doll’s house, come to life.

Tilt-shift time-lapse techniques

Each shot is filmed at four frames per second. It is this slow-speed shooting, coupled with high vantage points and some handy post-production techniques, that give the impression of a miniature model city.

“In post-production, the depth-of-field effect was added, which is the main technique to create the miniature illusion,” says Nathan, who spent four days editing the film after it had been shot.

To enhance a scene’s diminutive appearance, Nathan had to shoot from far above his subject. Nathan’s key shooting locations were the Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk, Pylon Lookout on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Tower Eye, and the Cahill Expressway Lookout.

Sydney’s iconic harbour from a new angle

A Melbourne-based digital designer, Nathan shot the film while on holiday in Sydney, with the intent to offer a new angle to a familiar setting.

“Sydney is such a beautiful city but because of its worldwide fame, some of the best views have become quite cliched,” says Nathan. “Hopefully this video will open people’s imaginations to see past the postcard views and look at the city, and the world, in a different way.”


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