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"Miniatures Point of View Tips?" Topic

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668 hits since 7 May 2015
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Russ Lockwood07 May 2015 7:24 p.m. PST

I'm trying an experiment and the photography is ending up between pitiful and awful. The idea is to run an ancients miniatures game on my tabletop with friends around the country where their only view comes from photos at the eyeball-level of their general. In a way, it mimics a first-person shoot-em-'up style because terrain blocks line-of-sight (as opposed to the helicopter view we enjoy when standing around a table). The goal was to lay a simple camera on the tabletop and shoot the miniature-eye-level photos. Put the photos in a Word doc and e-mail.

After six turns, the concept of this point-of-view style is working (despite some complaints about 'my scouts would be able to tell me…', or, I would be able to move slightly and see…).

BUT, whereas I envisioned one photo, I'm finding that covering the "general's" 180-degree forward field of vision requires at least three, or sometimes four, photos.

And the results are terrible, especially if the general is close by a terrain piece (hill or wood). Merging the photos together often doesn't work if the camera is stationary and merely rotated, and quite often worse if slightly moved left or right when changing the direction. I don't mind slight out of focus here or there, but when players are naming terrain pieces The Venetian Blinds Forest, Fault Line Plain, and Blurry Hill…

Any tips of technique suggestions for being able to merge multiple shots together?

Sundance Inactive Member07 May 2015 7:41 p.m. PST

great idea – I'll have to give it a try.

vagamer63 Supporting Member of TMP07 May 2015 8:48 p.m. PST

Is your camera capable of shooting 15 – 20 sec panoramic shots of the "General's" field of view? Might prove more effective then 3 or 4 photos pasted together!

Russ Lockwood08 May 2015 6:55 a.m. PST

No, it's just a small point-n-shoot camera. I've read the tutorials posted here in other messages, and they're great for the set-piece, one-photo shot, but when you're on the tabletop, you don't often get the perfect distance and lighting -- and that's not really a problem, per se.

I imagine that new cameras can do just about anything now. Indeed, there's a new Kodak (yes, Kodak -- thought it was out of business) 360-degree video camera that has some sort of software to flatten the image into a photograph, either the full 360 or two 180s. YouTube reviews note the software's clunky, but it has some promise. At $450 USD ($350 discounted), it's a bit much to satisfy my experimental whim…

Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP08 May 2015 7:13 a.m. PST

But it sounds like you are getting the Fog O' War element that you wish to achieve, so things must be working.

I've started taking more ground level pictures of wargames to post on my blog and I think that this is the best way to photograph miniatures.

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian08 May 2015 7:51 a.m. PST

I'd just use a phone or a USB WebCam on a cable. I have a couple that are only an inch or two above the table, clutter hids nearly everything.

Played an Armor game via Instant messanger, players said it was like a sub hunt, really hard to pick things out.

PatrickWR08 May 2015 8:05 a.m. PST

What about shooting quick 10-second videos showing the general's view of the battlefield, from left to right, then uploading to YouTube. Sure it's a lot of work, but you're already taking multiple photos and piecing together custom Word docs for the players, so you must be a glutton for this sort of punishment. >:-)

Russ Lockwood09 May 2015 8:42 p.m. PST

Yes, the Fog of War is working well.

And yes, I thought about taking video and spinning the camera in place. The file could be sent as an attachment. Would have to experiment, but I really thought the photo thing would work better than it has…

On the other hand, once players understood you could zoom up to 500% in a Word Doc (I euphemistically call it squinting), all of a sudden those tiny blurry figures are now larger blurry figures…

so you must be a glutton for this sort of punishment. >:-)

<chuckle> Thanks. It has been more work than expected. I just thought it would be a nice way to game with minis with a bunch of friends across country (and some local).

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