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What is this Camera Technique

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Jack Sammanson
What is this Camera Technique
on Aug 15, 2008 at 10:21:46 pm

How would I go about achieving an effect similar to the one in the last few seconds of this video (51-52).







(The only problem with that clip is that it isn't the exact effect I was trying to portray.)

I'm looking for a way to make it so the subject stays in focus, but the background warps/stretches/zooms/etc. Would you just greenscreen the subject, and place him/her over the background? Is this there a practical way to do this impromptu on the streets?

Any advice is helpful.


Thank You!
Jack


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Richard Herd
Re: What is this Camera Technique
on Aug 15, 2008 at 11:21:49 pm

I don't see what you're describing, sorry.

An old-school, in-camera technique can be achieved with modern equipment relatively easily. Here's what you do: Put the focus on auto, hold the camera, as you move the camera backward (by walking or dollying), then zoom in with the button. The "trick" is to keep the composition about the same and to time your movements. After a few tries you'll get it.





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Todd Terry
Re: What is this Camera Technique
on Aug 15, 2008 at 11:30:57 pm

I couldn't get the video to load and I'm not totally sure from your description, but what I think you might be talking about is known as a "trombone" shot...

It is created by dollying the camera in while the lens zooms out (or conversely, by dollying out while the lens zooms in), so that the subject stays the same screen size but the perspective of the background radically shifts throughout the move. Very cool and creepy. Seen in a few Hitchcock movies (most notably in Vertigo). Best used very sparingly (maybe once in movie).


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Jack Sammanson
Re: What is this Camera Technique
on Aug 16, 2008 at 5:54:23 am

Yes! That's it! Thank you so much Todd! I knew I had seen it before, and it was "Vertigo" by Hitchcock. This is what I was talking about:









Thank you so much again!


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Todd Terry
Re: What is this Camera Technique
on Aug 16, 2008 at 2:09:30 pm

My pleasure....

Yes, Jack, those in that example are all trombone shots.

Some are short, some (such as the "Jaws" one) involve extremely long dollys and radical focal-length changes.

I'll have to say, I didn't remember the one from "Goodfellas" at all, and I've seen that movie numerous times. Just shows how a compelling story can suck you in and and make you unaware of the technicalities that are happening around you.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Rick Wise
Re: What is this Camera Technique
on Aug 16, 2008 at 4:56:02 pm

I've shot this style just once. It's very difficult to pull off seamlessly as there has to be perfect coordination between the operator and the dolly grip: start/stop exactly together. Plus, the operator is constantly reframing during the move but it has to look like a lock.

The most dramatic example I remember is at the end of Psycho, when Bates is tied up in the loony bin and the walls recede (or do they close in?) around him. I don't remember this type of shot in Vertigo at all -- Vertigo came out 2 years before Psycho, so I presume that Vertigo is the first film where Hitch used this technique.

Rick Wise
director of photography
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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Tim Wilson
Re: What is this Camera Technique
on Aug 16, 2008 at 8:19:52 pm

Sommmmmmmewhere in the Cow, somebody talked about doing this from a moving boat in the Chicago River. As Todd and Rick mention, everything has to go right or it looks like a mess.

Our boy talked about travelling up the river, seeing that not every piece fell into place....then travelling back down while the part of the shot on shore also set up again. He said it was worth it at the end, but a looooong day.

Sorry not to get any closer, but with 1000 posts a day to search, and not remembering any more clearly than that, I'm not doing too well searching. Maybe it was one of you nutty kids?

Tim Wilson
Associate Director, CreativeCow.net
Associate Publisher, Creative Cow Magazine!


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Richard Herd
Re: What is this Camera Technique
on Aug 19, 2008 at 12:00:24 am

The autofocus lens and servomotor tighten/widen button on modern dv cameras (like the panny ag-hvx200) make this camera move super easy to execute.



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Shaun Pitts
Re: What is this Camera Technique
on Aug 26, 2008 at 11:38:48 am

You might also be able to accomplish something similar with a 'lensbaby' attached to your camera if you are using a nikon film lens adapter.



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