Tutorial: How to Quickly and Easily Create the Dolly/Hitchcock Zoom in Your Time-Lapses

As timelapses become more and more ubiquitous throughout the photography and filmmaking community, people are continuously looking for unique ways to stand out and separate their work from that of others. One such trick that many use in their creation is a little effect often referred to as dolly zoom or vertigo effect.

The premise behind it is that as you capture each frame of your time-lapse, you slightly and consistently move the camera’s location, so that when the video is pieced together, you’re left with what looks like a dolly shot captured over an extended period of time. And here to help show just how to do just that is Eric Stemen, in the above video.

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While this particular video shows a more serious setup with a follow focus and zoom controller, the same effect can be achieved through more manual means, albeit a bit more labor-intensive. Stemen seems to share just what’s needed and nothing more, leaving your creativity free to roam wild once the basic premise and practice is understood.

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At just over three minutes, the tutorial is short and sweet, a perfect combination for any Hump Day. Press play and take some notes. If you’d like to see the gear used, you can see the full list in the video’s description, here. To follow Stemen, you can head on over to his Vimeo profile.