The Incredible Shrinking Greek Island


While on vacation in Greece, filmmaker Joerg Daiber skipped the traditional tourist video and used a tilt-shift look to miniaturize the landscape. With a couple subtle effects Cute Creta turns the island into an adorable toy model. Find out how he did it in the interview below.

The Atlantic: Could you explain how tilt-shift works for someone who isn’t familiar with the technique?

Joerg Daiber: It's very well explained here but basically it's applying blur to the images so the human eye is fooled into thinking that the image is macro photography. Then there are a few other elements that help sell the effect, like shooting with wide-angle lenses from elevated positions and adding contrast and saturation to the image.

Do you use a special tilt-shift lens or an effect in post production?

I apply the tilt shift effect in post production. In my opinion it provides much more flexibility and control over the final end product. I know that some other guys would call this cheating, but what do I care ;)

Did you shoot these films on vacation? Do you ever feel torn between filming a place and putting down your camera to experience it directly?

Yes, I shot both films while I was on a vacation trip. These days you don't need to carry heavy equipment for stuff like that. All I had with me was a Lumix GH2 System Camera, two lenses and a gorillapod.

As for being torn between filming and experiencing a place, I completely understand what you mean, but the funny thing is, with tilt-shift movies you can actually do both: When I see an interesting spot, I set up the camera and hit record. Then while I wait for something to happen in the picture (which can take quite a while), I have all the time in the world to experience my surroundings.

How did you get into filmmaking?

I worked in special effects for a few years before I started making my own movies. Being a big fan of the Muppets, my first TV productions were a puppet series for kids.

What kind of films do you make when you are not shooting tilt-shift videos?

I have a production company in Berlin and we do all kinds of stuff: children’s films, commercials and documentaries. Our last production was a doc about women who inspired famous pop songs. We did interviews with Buddy Holly's Peggy Sue, Ritchie Valens' Oh Donna, Leonard Cohen's Suzanne, The Knack's My Sharona, Bruce Springsteen's Rosalita, and the girl from Ipanema among others. It was really great to meet them. I love filmmaking!

Currently we are looking for partners to make an "international version" of this documentary. Here are some pictures if you are curious.

Are you planning to shoot more tilt-shift videos like this? Where are you headed next?

I definitely will shoot more videos like this. I would actually love to make something like a "Little World Series" for a Travel Magazine or something similar. Besides, I really think "tilt-shifting" puts things somehow in the right perspective. I think people should not take themselves and what they do too seriously. I prefer to see the world as one gigantic playground.

As for the next trip, I am probably heading to Asia again as winter approaches here in Germany. Maybe I will come back home with "Little Lao" or "Small Singapore."

For more videos by Joerg Daiber, visit or check out his Vimeo channel.

Video via Vimeo Staff Picks. 

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Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.
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