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class="style10">Camera Track While Zoom Out

>Published : 9th September 2006

>Dear all,

>How you call this camera trick which consist in a camera track while doing zoom out at the same speed. By doing this you get this weird effect of moving the subject further away from the background. I don't recall if there is any name for this trick. I mean, when you want to do it, what do you say to your grips and focus puller?

>Let's do a.... What?

>Sorry if this so obvious but I have no idea right now, and that bothers me.

>Thanks folks!

>Santi Trullenque
Director
Barcelona


>I know it as a 'Contra Zoom', but I'm sure there are other names for it.

>Stuart Brereton
DP, UK


class="style13">>How you call this camera trick which consist in a camera track >while >doing zoom out at the same speed.

>Compression shot.

Hitchcock special

Robert Houllahan
Filmmaker
www.cinelab.com


>Stuart Brereton a écrit :

class="style13">>I know it as a 'Contra Zoom', but I'm sure there are other names for it.

>In France we name it a "Trans Trav". The "Trav" part because for us, a Tracking or Dollying is a "Travelling", I don't know for the "Trans" part.

>--------------------------------------------------------*
Always look on the bright side of life !
--------------------------------------------------------*
Frédéric ANSALDO
Instructor
Toronto Film College
36 Eglinton West, Ste 707
Toronto, ON M4R 1A1
www.torontofilmcollege.ca


class="style13">>How you call this camera trick which consist in a camera track while >doing zoom out at the same speed.

>I have a highly technical name for it when I call for a "Trombone Shot" to be setup - like the musical instrument. Learnt that name about 20 years ago in Australia. Probably not the official name but my assistant knows what it means.

>Bret Nichols DOP
iSYLUM Films Ltd
New Zealand
www.isylum.com


>What is the proper technical process to achieve the Contra Zoom effect smoothly? What do you need? and What do you want to avoid?

>Thanks,

>Roman Jaquez


class="style13">>How you call this camera trick which consist in a camera track while >doing zoom out at the same speed.

>Santi,

"La toma de Vertigo". (the Vertigo shot).


Everyone will understand what you're talking about. Very hard to do right manually. You need a lot of rehearsals. Hitchcock made a rig that synchronized the zoom to the dolly movement.

> Jorge Diaz-Amador
Designer / Technician
CinemaTechnic, Inc.
Miami, FL USA
http://www.cinematechnic.com


>I used to call it the "Vertigo" shot since that's where it originated. The younger crowd didn't know what I was talking about (Philistines!) so it became the "Jaws" shot and then later the "other Goodfellas" shot (the first being the steadicam through the nightclub). Now it's the "as seen in every horror and/or student film" shot.

I still prefer the "Vertigo" shot.

Mitch Gross
NYC DP


class="style13">> I still prefer the "Vertigo" shot.

>Mitch, if they don't know what you mean by that they don't deserve the shot anyway

>-Sam Wells
film/.../nj


>I had always heard of it as a dolly counter-zoom. Not sure where I first heard that but it stuck for me. Is this shot generally done by just being extremely rehearsed with the zoom being done by hand? I have always wondered if someone had made some contraption to hook the zoom in with the tracking movement to make sure they are both in sync....

Jeff Clegg
NH


>Jeff Clegg:

class="style13">>>I have always wondered if someone had made some contraption to >hook the zoom in with the tracking movement to make sure they are >both in sync....

>Hi,

>With Flair motion control software it’s fairly easy once the Zoom lens has been linearised.

>Stephen Williams DoP

>Zurich
www.stephenw.com


>Roman Jaquez wrote:

class="style13">>What is the proper technical process to achieve the Contra Zoom effect >smoothly? What do you need? and What do you want to avoid?

>There is a nice little tool from ServiceVision in Spain. You have to mount a rubber-band to the dolly-track and put an encoder on the dolly. This connects to a box that controls the zoom motor. with some adjustments you should get the shot that you
want.

>Easy to set up, no long rehearsals...

>I am not affiliated to ServiceVision.

>Philipp Chudalla
AC
Munich, Germany.


"Contra Zoom", "Compresion Shot", "Vertigo Shot"


Lovely names. I guess I'll go for the "Contra Zoom" (it makes sense) and later I will use the "Vertigo Shot", It's more cool!!! Lovely.

>Thanks a lot guys! You're always there.

>Santi Trullenque
Director
Barcelona


>Back when it was done for Vertigo I believe they rigged a geared system that mechanically linked the zoom and the dolly track, like a rack & pinion steering system. I was told that the shot in the coffee house in Goodfellas (Liotta & DeNiro sitting in a booth with a phone booth out the window) was done "freehand," with the camera operator using a Microforce and the dolly grip viewing a tap monitor.

>Note that the Vertigo shot is a dolly in/zoom out to increase the sense of depth while the Goodfellas example is a dolly out/zoom in to increase the compression of depth.

>Mitch Gross
NYC DP


class="style13">> effect smoothly? What do you need? and What do you want to avoid?

>Motion control is an obvious, though cumbersome solution.

>I've used the Scorpio follow focus system to accomplish this shot. You can program the Scorpio to hit precise lens positions (on both focus and zoom) as the dolly tracks along. You must attach a toothed timing belt to the track along which an encoder rides to feed the dolly position to the Scorpio control unit. It's a very slick little package, very quick setup and fast programming.

>Don Canfield
Gear+Rose Motion Control
New York
914-421-5019 Office
www.gearandrose.com


>I will mention the "dirty word" now ...

>While thousands of these shots have been done without motion control, this is the sort of thing that motion control can do quite well...In the simplest example, you put an encoder wheel on the dolly that scrubs the track and use it to drive a zoom motor. Grip pushes dolly, computer pulls zoom.

>Since you already have the motion control stuff there, and everyone is already complaining about how miserable motion control is, you might as well add a motion control follow focus motor to the mix...

>You don't have to build the move at a pre-determined dolly speed - you browse through the move using the dolly encoder to drive it.

>Of course you can also use a motion controlled track dolly with sticks on it or any of a variety of more versatile motion control rigs, but there is no need to do so.

>Someone mentioned the ServiceVision or something like that which I have never seen but understand to do the same thing without all the other features and complexities of full-up motion control.

>Mark Weingartner
VFX in LA
If what you have in your hands is a hammer, all your problems look like nails


>Mitch Gross wrote :

class="style13">>Back when it was done for Vertigo I believe they rigged a geared >system that mechanically linked the zoom and the dolly track, like a >rack & pinion steering system.

>If that's the case, I'd guess it was done using SelSyn motors -- common for remote follow-focus devices since the late 40s.

>Easy enough to put a shaft encoder on a dolly wheel, and link it all to focus and zoom, using an electronic "gearbox" to make it work -- sort of realtime Kuper. But "freehand" is more organic...

>How about on Steadicam -- or handheld on roller skates?

>Jeff Kreines


>Scorpio wireless remote has a dolly encoder that interfaces with zoom and focus.

>Steve Peterson 600 1st ac


>At some point I picked up the term, it may have been in film school, "Zolly."

>Dave Winters
DP L.A.


class="style13">>Someone mentioned the ServiceVision or something like that which I >have never seen

>The Scorpio/ServiceVision rig is great. It's not full on moco but there are times that tools like that and others (the mosys comes to mind) are the perfect tool for the job.

>Disclaimer : I'm not affiliated with either one in any capacity.

>I've always known the shot in question as a "Vertigo" shot, made famous of course by that film.

>Best Regards,

>Anders Uhl
Cinematographer, NY
the dop shop
http://www.thedopshop.com


>Didn't Spike Lee use dolly counter-zoom shots in a couple of pics?

>I vaguely recall one or two shots but can't remember which films..

>Mark Weingartner
LA based


>My favourite term is 'crash zoom', and I've heard 'smash zoom' as well.

>Sometimes I feel like calling it the 'COPS zoom', as you see it all the time on the U.S. television show COPS whenever the camera operator zooms out while shooting out the front windshield of a speeding police vehicle. Very disorienting.

>Chris Freilich
Camera, Lighting, and Technology
New Jersey, USA
http://www.virtuosofilms.com


class="style13">> At some point I picked up the term, it may have been in film school, >"Zolly."

>Better than "Doom"

>Sorry this was practically an open invitation,

>Sam Wells
film/.../nj


class="style13">> At some point I picked up the term, it may have been in film school, >"Zolly."

>Perhaps...and please forgive me for this old chestnut...Zolly was a contraction of the famous New York (Jewish) Cameramen's anthem: "Zoom, Dolly, Dolly, Dolly, etc." Again, sorry, but it is crucial that the younger generation have to suffer the same corny humour we did.

>Jerry Cotts
DP/LA
Satellight-X, Inc.


>One was Do The Right Thing - when the character with the boombox (forgot his name) enters the pizzeria for the first time - the neighbourhood visible beyond him seems to crowd in along with him through the doorway (zoom in dolly out)...

>Ramshreyas Rao

>AC
Bombay, India


>I'm not familiar with the term "Zolly" and it sounds like a film school thing. I used the term "Zoom Dolly" for when I extend the effect of a move by pushing the zoom in the same direction as the dolly (zoom in, dolly in; zoom out, dolly out). How many times does the director want to go from a wide shot to a close-up with five feet to move the dolly?

>Mitch Gross
NYC DP


>The key to doing this kind of shot (I like "trombone!") freehand is to decide at what distance from the camera your field remains unchanged throughout the shot, and use objects at that distance as a reference against the edges of your frame.

>For example, if you're tracking toward a doorway as you zoom out, just do the best you can to keep the doorframe the same size in your finder. The closer the edges of the doorframe are to the edges of your image frame (or inscribed finder lines) the more precisely this approach will work. If you can do this remotely via video-assist (while the camera operator keeps the shot framed) you may have better luck because the zoom operator will have only one thing to pay attention to -- keeping that doorframe at a fixed size.

>A rotary zoom control that adjusts zoom *position* (rather than
direction and velocity) should be easier to use for this purpose than a pressure-sensitive one. And it may help to lay down floor marks next to your dolly tracks that represent, say, a second's worth of tracking time -- the better to keep your tracking speed predictable.

>You could also put a set of corresponding marks around your rotary zoom control (or zoom lens barrel if you're doing it hands-on) to keep the zoom position coordinated with the dolly's position

>Dan " MoCo's for sissies" Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA


>Dan Drasin :

class="style13">>A rotary zoom control that adjusts zoom *position* (rather than direction >and velocity) should be easier to use for this purpose than a pressure->sensitive one.

>Actually, having done this on the fly as a last minute idea a number of times, I think pressure-sensitive is the way to go. Dialling down a Microforce so that you really have to push against it to get about the right speed works great. Same goes for using a fluid drag like the Chroziel with a zoom stick.

>I find that these create the most consistent moves that are also the smoothest.

>A couple of practice runs with the dolly grip and it works surprisingly easily.

>I also disagree with the doorframe reference. Almost always the call is for a shot with a person's head in the foreground. In this case the chief goal is to keep that head the same size as the world changes around it. Unless that person is standing right in the doorframe, you're on the wrong reference. On one of these shots that we had to do the move rather quickly, I lay a sheet of clear plastic over the onboard LCD on the camera (always on any camera I shoot with no matter the format!) and marked a circle around the actor's head with a Sharpie. Worked great for keeping him the same size and in the same place in the frame.

>Otherwise I just do it through the eyepiece, but again it's fairly easy once you practice a couple of times. You can just feel when the speed and frame is right.

>Mitch Gross
NYC DP


>I'm going to do this tomorrow, or so I found out today. I just call it "dolly out, zoom in" or such.

>Never heard it called anything else.

>Art Adams
Director of Photography
Film | HiDef | Video
www.artadams.net

> "Cognoscens Me,
Cognoscens Te-
Aha!" -Alan Partridge


>I've heard it called a Contra zoom too or a Trombone shot. Haven't used a computerised system yet when I've shot this trick but it's a great challenge for a crew to get in sync together and show a bit of skill achieving. The craft I suppose. Good effect to show horror, underline a powerful reaction or isolation/integration as the subject becomes increasingly removed/part of their environment. Would be fun to use the shutter to control depth of field whilst manipulating field of view

>One great example of a near perfect execution is in Event Horizon http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119081/fullcredits as Sam Neill is in the ducts of the ship, shot by the sadly missed and extremely skilled Adrian Biddle, BSC.

>Shane Daly
London DP


>I also use Zolly. Picked it up a few years ago from a Director on a series of connected shorts. It's shorter than saying "Dolly In, Zoom Out".

>Not really any stranger than asking for "a box of T-stops"

>Illya Friedman
On Sabbatical
Van Nuys, CA


>Mitch Gross writes:

class="style13">>I also disagree with the doorframe reference. Almost always the call is >for a shot with a person's head in the foreground.

>Mitch, I was using a doorframe only as a convenient example of an element in the scene that was to be kept the same size. In your case, it would indeed be a person's head rather than a doorframe.

class="style13">>>I lay a sheet of clear plastic over the onboard LCD on the camera

>If that's the type of soft vinyl film that clings to smooth surfaces without needing an adhesive layer, please let me know where I can get some!

>Thanks...

>Dan "what's wrong with a doorframe? I like doorframes" Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA


>Dan Drasin writes :

class="style13">>If that's the type of soft vinyl film that clings to smooth surfaces without >needing an adhesive layer, please let me know where I can get some!

>Sorry, just grab some Saran Wrap from Craft Services.

>Mitch Gross
NYC DP


>There an interesting variant on the "trombone shot" in the first scene of Jean-Pierre Melville's "Le Samoura" : a wide shot of a man lying in bed using a dolly-in with an intermittent zoom-out: gives a nice jerky "push/pull" feeling which subtly speaks to the character's emotional state (he's an alienated hit-man). In this case, the effect relies on NOT having the dolly and zoom perfectly synchronized.

>Jason Brandenberg
Filmmaker
Burningmountain Films
Bern, Switzerland


class="style13">>>a dolly-in with an intermittent zoom-out: gives a nice jerky >"push/pull" >feeling

>This reminds me of a very important caveat to this type of shot: make sure the AC continuously pulls focus. Some AC's like to hit marks in a way that is not turning the focus knob at a continuous (or even cumulous) speed. Different zooms will display various amounts of focus breathing which can really muck up the Vertigo effect.

>If the focus is continuously adjusted then the breathing can be compensated for in the zoom.

>Mitch Gross
NYC DP