Created by German film production company Spoonfilm, Jolly Jordan is a beautiful 4-minute film that takes viewers on a journey to an adorably miniature version of the Middle Eastern country, where the desert of Wadi Rum, the ancient wonders of Petra, and the incredible cities of Amman and Aqaba have all the appearance of a living model train set.
The director, Joerg Daiber, is using a technique called tilt-shift photography. You might be familiar with it because it’s an effect you can add to a photo in Instagram. When properly used, it can make objects in photos and videos look really tiny.
Tilt-shift photography works by translating what our eyes are seeing into distance and size. When you focus your eye on something that is far away, your depth-of-field is pretty much infinite. Now, hold your finger a few inches away from your eye and focus on it. Notice how everything even a little closer or further away has become blurry? That’s the result of a shallow depth-of-field, and it’s a critical element of our vision that helps our brains figure out if what we’re looking at is close and tiny, or big and far away.
This effect works best if everything along that axis is roughly the same distance away. Because it simulates what happens when we’re deeply focusing on something small that we’re holding relatively close to our eye, tilt-shift photography makes the real world look like a toy wonderland.
So not only do you now know how tilt-shift photography works, but you’ve just taken a beautiful video tour of Lilliputian Jordan. Happy Friday!