My impression of Nuke test footage was always that it was nothing more than elaborate propaganda utilizing scale miniatures. Well, possible confirmation of my suspicion came while I was watching this propaganda film allegedly documenting the 1955 'Operation Cue'. There are scale miniatures being explicitly shown and referenced within the first few minutes of the film. The narrator says, "carefully prepared model of the site".
Operation Cue was the first and largest "so-called" atomic test that was conducted specifically for civilians. Coverage of the test was carried live, nationwide by radio and TV stations, as well as extended coverage in newspapers. The blast was alleged to have been about twice as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb. (Link)
The Operation Teapot series of (so-called) nuclear explosions involved fourteen "nuclear" events and one non-nuclear detonation between February 18 and May 15, 1955. The participants included the various branches of the military brought together under the rubric of the Joint Test Organization (JTO). The JTO also involved The Federal Civil Defense Administration (FCDA) the Department of Defense Operations Coordination Staff, the Air Weather Service, the JTO Radiological Safety Group, the Lookout Mountain Laboratory Group, and the Field Command Support Group. Shot Apple 2, the May 5th (supposed) nuclear explosion on which the Operation Cue tests were based, was the 14th detonation in the Teapot series. (Link)
The following are all images from the 1955 Propaganda Film above. Notice the boards that the models are mounted too; the supposed real buildings seem to be on similar surfaces.
on May 1, 1955 fellow Copa Girl Linda Lawson was crowned "Miss-Cue" by military personnel participating in Operation Cue at the Nevada Test Site. Miss-Cue was actually named for the program known as Operation Cue. When high winds kept causing delays, personnel dubbed it "Operation Miscue" and further poked fun by crowning Lawson with a mushroom cloud. (Link)