Impossible footage of ‘little people’


Pavel sent me this great footage from a 1977 Czechoslovakian children’s television show and containing an extraordinary realistic depiction of ‘little people’.  There is no CGI, green screen, no rottoscoping, or postproduction.

Can you figure out how it was produced?


37 comments on “Impossible footage of ‘little people’

  1. Daniel says:

    the little ones are farder than they look, really impressive!

  2. Bob O'H says:

    Isn’t it just a perspective trick? The children are in Czechia, the little people further away in Slovakia.

    Really nicely done, though.

  3. Brayden says:

    Easy… being in the exact right place…

  4. Peter O'Day says:

    Perspective; “little people” are farther in the background than it seems, working with over-sized objects. The few things that are in both the background and the foreground have something blocking the transition in size. Funny the boy never touches the background and the “little people” are never in the foreground. Must have been tough to get the transitions right, but artists have been deeply studying perspective for half a millenium.

  5. CH23 says:

    It’s all about point of view, very well done though!

  6. Damocles says:

    These are small but those are far away.

  7. Forced perspective. Also used to great effect in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

  8. edgar1975 says:

    Really easy do to: they used giant children.

  9. Yup, forced perspective – one of the oldest special effects in the movie (and photography) book.

    Usually simple, usually cost effective and it works. Usually.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The part where the kid is sitting by the white basin is at 1.2x speed or something. That might be considered post production.

    • It could also just be that it was filmed at low speed and played back at normal speed, like old silent films.

      Though, strictly speaking, editing, sound, music, color correction are all post production. Obviously they just mean, no after edit effects.

  11. There’s a scene at the end of Casablanca where mechanics are preparing an aircraft. It was all filmed in the studio so in order to create the illusion of distance they used dwarfs and a scaled down plane. If you look carefully you can tell.

    However, in the case of the video posted above I would tend to go with edgar1975 and giant children. That or witchcraft,

  12. This is easily explained if you factor in Rick Moranis.

  13. Zoe Butler says:

    Forced perspective. I thought there might be some matte work until I read in the description there was no post production work which rules that out but on a second look I could see it was all a clever use of forced perspective. If that does the job then there’s no need for modern techniques which are often not as convincing as they are thought to be.

  14. I kept expecting to see Benny Hill in the scene.

  15. Lazy T says:


  16. Derek says:

    Has to be forced perspective. Very well done!

  17. NegativeEight says:

    Hope someone had invented the rebigulator for after the filming!

  18. Charlie says:

    Lord of the Rings used this same trick in some instances, they even built special rigs to allow the camera to move.

  19. prune says:

    I’m not sure what the problem is. It is entirely legal to use actors from the fairy realm provided you pay them at the accepted rates.

  20. FrankN.Stein says:

    Perspective, of course – but very well made, especially the kid and the little ones at the vat – that looks seemles….

  21. Jeff B says:

    Very well done! Especially the panning camera in the first wide shot, and the kids did a great job getting their eye-lines right. They must have rehearsed the hell out of those shots!

    Technical difficulty combined with great execution is always fun to watch.

  22. One Eyed Jack says:

    Forced perspective. Forced perspective. Is that all you people can say? You think you’re so smart. “Call on me, teacher. I know the answer.”

    Well, you can shove your smug little answers in a sack, because you’re wrong!

    Those were obviously genuine faerie folk.

    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” – Hamlet, Act 1, scene 5

    Shakespeare had it figured out.

  23. Sili says:

    What’s this crap about forced perspective?

    I thought everyone knew that the coommies bread small people in captivity. It’s sorta like bonzai kittens but with babies. The trick was to give the pregnant mothers chemicals that would make the babies’ bones as soft and bendy as a kittens.

  24. edwardv says:

    It’s looks very well done but not perfect. There is an inconsistency in the grass on the left. The white box with the pole and the kid pretending to scope out whatever is very impressive but his head movements watching the guy falling and climbing are just a little off. It seems the kids are up on a small cliff set back from the little people.

  25. Kurt Pankau says:

    Forced perspective, but it also looks like they filmed it at a lower film speed (making the playback appear slightly sped up). The higher speed sells the idea that the little people are smaller, and the children in the foreground barely move, so you don’t notice it on them.

  26. Anonymous says:

    I’m going to guess it was produced using the director’s brother in law’s credit cards.

    What do I win?

  27. George says:

    Reblogged this on WordPress Trends.

  28. Gail Carlyle says:

    just forced perspective, nicely done though

  29. David Polák says:

    Uuuu… I haven’t seen this in ages, I used to love this film, back when I was six or so…

  30. Vern_B says:

    Santa needs to suit up and go conquer those goofy bastards.

  31. says:

    Thanks I have been looking for lots more information on the subject discussed in this post. again thanks.

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