CLASSROOM: How to Dolly Zoom Without a Dolly or a Zoom Lens
The “dolly zoom” or “zolly” was made famous by Hitchcock in the movie “Vertigo” and since then has been used in countless Hollywood movies. Just a few years ago, this move was almost impossible to pull off but with today’s new gear, almost anyone can do it.
To produce the zolly effect you will need to either push the camera in while zooming out or pull the camera out while zooming in. Doing this manually is almost impossible but this becomes extremely easy if we zoom digitally in post. If you have a camera that shoots in 4K, you’ll have plenty of extra resolution to digitally zoom with.
The other half of the puzzle is camera movement. If you have a gimbal you might be able to pull this off but if you happen to own a slider, this will be much easier. If your slider is electric, that’s even better. We own the Rhino slider which can automatically replicate the same move again and again. We set the slider to go back and forth and we did take after take very quickly for the skit at the beginning of our video. You’ll notice that the zolly effect isn’t super significant and that is because our slider isn’t very long. Getting closer to your subject and moving the camera a further distance will produce a much more pronounced effect.
If you don’t have a slider, don’t worry, you can also easily pull this off with a drone. Simply fly the drone back and forth away from the subject without changing direction or camera tilt. Remember that for the effect to work, you need to have a noticeable object in the foreground with a background element behind it.
Image credit: Fstoppers