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Tips & Tricks

How to Create the Dolly Zoom for Timelapse and Hyperlapse

By Hanssie on August 6th 2014

A popular cinematic effect in filmmaking is the Dolly Zoom or the “Vertigo Effect.” It changes the viewer perception creating an effect where the subject remains the same size while the background moves. Alfred Hitchcock used this effect to make people dizzy in the 1958 movie, Vertigo.

The following tutorial, which is a short and sweet 3 minutes long, was created by Eric Stamen, and gives you a look at how he creates this effect. He uses over 100 photos for about 4 seconds of hyperlapse footage (if played back at 24 fps). It’s a great effect that will make your timelapses stand out…just takes a good amount of patience.

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GEAR LIST:

Check out the video tutorial below and head over to DIY Photography for a written tutorial from Eric on how it’s done.

 See more of Eric Stamen’s timelapse work on his site, Ocean Llama.

[Via Eric Stemen on Vimeo/DIY Photography]

About

Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at www.hanssie.com and www.fittedmagazine.com. Follow her on Instagram. Email her at:
[email protected]

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Michael Moe

    great tutorial!

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  2. Michel Andy

    Many many thanks… What if you went out of zoom?

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  3. Sean John Zanderecza

    this is cool!! would try it when i have more time..

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  4. Cy Sawyer

    Great explanation! As mentioned above though, I doubt I have the patience either lol.

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  5. Stan Rogers

    Way, way back in the caveman days, when we used something called “film” as a sort of memory card, Minolta made a series of lenses for the Maxxum/Dynax/Alpha “xi” 35mm AF cameras that would have made the effect easy. They linked the autofocus to the zoom to maintain a constant subject size (for as long as the zoom range of the lens would allow it, of course, and there were speed limitations, given the AF of the period). Back then, I found it very handy for runway fashion (where the lighting could make up for the relatively slow max apertures of the lenses; things could fade into blackness instead of blur). I’ve always wondered why that feature didn’t survive into the modern era; it would certainly make things like the wedding photographer’s aisle shots a lot easier — set the initial zoom with a stand-in or two, then concentrate on the moment rather than the framing.

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  6. MARTIN MIANO

    l I just knew about hyperlapsing but this is new to me and I love it the more…..thumbs up

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  7. Matthew Gruber

    This is such a cool technique and it’s always incredibly helpful to have people explain how they did it. You have officially inspired me for the day! I can’t wait to try this and pick out some cool spots in my city.

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  8. Emilio Savov

    Great video, the tips and tricks for this Dolly zoom (or Vertigo effect) were a mystery to me some time ago, and I’ve always wondered how do they do it. It’s a great effect and I love the way it turned out in the time lapse video :) Thank you for the great tutorial.

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  9. Steven Pellegrino

    That’s a really interesting video and technique. I don’t have the patience for that though!

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