Forced Perspective Shots with a Moving Camera in Lord of the Rings

Have you ever wondered how Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson made Frodo Baggins the hobbit so much smaller than Gandalf the wizard? Aside from using CGI and child body doubles, the filmmaking team also employed brilliant forced perspective techniques that tricked viewers with optical illusions.

Shooting forced perspective in still photography is easy enough — simply find a creative angle that offers some kind of illusion and you’re set — but how would you go about combining forced perspective with a moving motion picture camera?

The answer lies in moving props and subjects. As the camera moves about, the subjects in the forced perspective shot must also be moved to maintain the illusion. Confused yet? Check out the behind-the-scenes video above to see what we mean… and to have your minds blown!

  • gautch

    Nice find! Its pretty impressive how much thought goes into these effects.

  • Renato Murakami

    Very interesting technique… I was kinda curious about that, though I thought it was achieved via CGI. Gotta say I got all twitchy due to the video though… seems it was ripped with a slow PC or something.

  • brob

    very cool. I was always curious about the scene in the first movie, when Gandalf and Frodo are sitting beside each other in the wagon. They made Frodo look so small in comparison

    I’d like to see the set up of that shot

  • Jim T May

    And I thought it was all CG! Very impressive