Have you ever wondered how, in Elf, they made Will Ferrell’s Buddy appear so much bigger than Bob Newhart’s Papa Elf and the rest of Santa’s little helpers? You might be surprised to learn that Director Jon Favreau opted for some good-old fashioned practical in-camera techniques rather than fixing it in post. A new six-minute Youtube video takes you behind the scenes and shows you how they made this and a lot of other magic happen.
First, a set was built specifically for the shots where the effect would be required. Then, DoP Greg Gardiner simply shot Will Ferrell much closer and higher to the camera than the other actors in the scene, achieving a forced perspective, so they appeared much smaller than him. This was much more satisfying and less expensive than simply handing the job to a compositor.
Source: Digital Camera World