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Think that ship is big? Think again.
An intentional exploitation of the camera's 2-D vision. Place an object closer to the camera, and so long as it's in focus, it looks bigger. Or, place something in the distance, and it looks smaller. This is one of the oldest Camera Tricks
, and dates back to early still photography.
In the pre-CGI days, this was one of the most commonly-used techniques to make sets appear larger than they actually were. This can be augmented by placing children or "little people
" into the miniature background so that they look like they're full-size adults, although this only works if they are seen from a distance.
Compare Depth Deception
(when this happens in-story for comedic effect), Perspective Magic
, Vertigo Effect
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Films — Live-Action
- Mystery Science Theater 3000 Used this a few times.
- In the episode where they watch the aforementioned Future War, Mike is inspired by the film to run to the back of the theater and start "threatening" the bots with forced-perspective shadow puppets.
- The end of the Screaming Skull episode sees Observer shrink Bobo—this is achieved by having Bobo stand at the back of the room, while Observer sticks his hand in front, pretending to hold Bobo. The makers of the show were well aware of the hypocrisy of using this "special" effect after having made fun of it so many times.
- Beakmans World used the perspective to good effect in one of its segments on Optical Illusions. The trick is, of course, to fool a viewer into thinking the assistant is in the rat's hand.
- A minor example in Supernatural usually used to make Dean, played by the relatively short Jensen Ackles seem taller compared to his brother.
- In the "Making of" episode of Walking with Dinosaurs, paleontologist Kent Stevens first appears to be gazing at a life-size Diplodocus statue, which is revealed to be a miniature model as he walks closer to the camera.
- Done in-universe in an episode of Northern Exposure where they're putting on a production of Bus Stop and the stage is quite shallow, so the back wall of the diner swet has very low doors to make it look like it's further away than it is. Chris has to duck his head in order to get through.
- Frequently used in Doctor Who to make model spaceships or bases look full-size during location filming. A particularly awful example of a shot of this type is when the Brigadier summons a model kit tank to fight the K-1 Robot in "Robot", represented by pushing it into frame with the robot in the far distance - unfortunately, it just lets us get a good look at the plasticy fake tank and the grass on the ground gives a really clear idea that the robot is further away than we're supposed to think it is.
- Disney Theme Parks use this trick liberally. All of the parks have a Main Street leading to the central castle. The castles all look bigger than they really are because the buildings in Main Street are built on a progressively diminishing scale both horizontally and (as is the castle itself) vertically.
- Donkey Kong Country 2 shows what appears to be Donkey Kong Island from the first game way in the background of K. Rool Keep. However, it turns out to be Klubba's Kiosk, which you can easily access right there.
- The paintings for Tiny-Huge Island in Super Mario 64 also make use of this. The one in front is of normal size, but the other two on the side appear to be, too... until you approach them.
- Star Wars: Rogue Leader plays this when inside the Death Star's reactor. The entire room is rigged to look far, far larger than it actually is through use of high-res textures, forced perspective, and slowing you down considerably. It looks amazing at first, but if you fly down toward the floor the whole illusion falls through and you can see clearly that you're just moving slowly through an average-sized area.
- Used frequently in Red vs. Blue for the character Junior, a baby alien. Since the game engine does not allow the player to resize their characters, the makers used a regular sized Elite, but just stood him in the background.
- Referenced on Adventure Time when Finn and Jake are making a movie. Finn equips a frog with a miniature chariot and instructs Princess Bubblegum to stand back so that she appears to be riding the chariot.
- Researchers have observed male bower birds seemingly using forced perspective to make themselves look larger to potential mates.