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Reverse Dolly WHILE Dollying In?


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#1 Fdz Bx

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 08:32 PM

OK, I've been trying to convince my DP that this is possible. Basically I want to do a trombone shot (reverse dolly / vertigo shot) but don't want it to be very clear. I want to slooooooooowly dolly in on my main character and feel like the rest of the room is closing in around her.

My solution is to start wide and then dolly away from the subject faster than I'd be zooming. This would achieve the effect I'm talking about however wouldn't it just look like a zoom in?

Any ideas?
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#2 Michael Collier

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 10:09 PM

I am confused about what effect your trying to get. You have stated both dollying in and out in your post, I cant quite figure out wich way the dolly will be moving.


Theres the clasic vertigo effect where you dolly away and zoom in to keep the subject at the same frameing (background compresses). Then the reverse where you zoom out and dolly in, keeping the same subject framing (background uncompresses). Sounds like you want to take one of those or the other and slow or speed the zoom rate so your pulling out, but apearing to push in, or the oposite push in and make it look like pushing out. I am confused since you said you would both be dollying in and out.

For the closing around effect, with a slow feeling of pulling away from your charecter I think like you said somewhere in your post you can dolly away while zooming in a bit slowly. It might be a trick to get the rates right, since the rate the background colapses would be directly linked to the zoom speed and thereby linked to the rate it feels like we are pulling back.

Could be an interesting shot though.

Edited by Michael Collier, 27 August 2006 - 10:10 PM.

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#3 Jon Kukla

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 02:06 AM

There's a scene in Goodfellas towards the end in the cafe between Ray Liotta and Robert DeNiro in which they do this subtly. It's completely doable, but will likely require a lot of practice between your grip and your focus puller, both before the shot and with several takes. Also, if you want it to be slow and unnoticeable, you'll probably want a zoom motor like a Microforce, in order to keep the zoom slow and steady.
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#4 G. Stephen Bruno

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 03:48 AM

I'm really confused here.

Also, I thought that real names or at least a signiture were required?

Hard to believe the pope would have the talent to dolly in and out simutaniously.
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#5 Stephen Williams

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 03:52 AM

I'm really confused here.

Also, I thought that real names or at least a signiture were required?


Hi,

They are, but it's a manuel task for Tim Taylor to remove people who don't.

Stephen
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#6 Fdz Bx

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 07:00 AM

OK, let me see if I can describe the shot better. We have our actress hunched on the floor crying in the middle of the room. I will describe the look of what I want to achieve, but I'm not sure on how to technically do it. I want to dolly in on her over a 15 second shot and make it also look like the room is shrinking around her.

The vertigo shot usually goes from telephoto to wide and throws the background further. In Goodfellas, they do the opposite. However, the norm in using the reverse dolly shot is to have your subjects stay in the same place on the screen so that you can achieve the maximum impact of the shot. I don't want to do that. I want to use a much more subtle approach and make it look as if it were a slow dolly in whilst the walls push tighter on her.

Any way of achieving that optically?

Edited by thisisthepope, 28 August 2006 - 07:01 AM.

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#7 Matthew Parnell

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 07:45 AM

This effect is done both optically using a zoom lens and physically. Basically you keep the subject at the same size by zooming and tracking at the same time keeping their change rates the same soas to maintain the one sized shot. For example you start with a mid shot that starts on a tele lens and ends with a mid shot on a wide lens.

The way i would try is to just change the rate of the zoom or dolly in relation to one another to achieve a subtle dolly in.
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#8 Chad Stockfleth

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 08:25 AM

From what I can tell, you are wanting to do a push/pull type shot where the push is slightly faster than the pull.

If you want the background to compress, you will have to dolly out slowly while doing a slightly faster zoom in. If you want the background to uncompress, then you want to dolly in slightly faster than you are zooming out.

Either way should subtly achieve the vertigo effect while moving into close-up on your character. As was said before, co-ordination of this shot will be tricky.

Good Luck!
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#9 Fdz Bx

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 08:35 AM

From what I can tell, you are wanting to do a push/pull type shot where the push is slightly faster than the pull.

If you want the background to compress, you will have to dolly out slowly while doing a slightly faster zoom in.


Thanks a lot, Chad. That's the answer I came up with as I do want the background to compress. My question, though, is if I was dollying out and zooming in, would it look like a dolly in or more like a zoom in? I say that because it means that camera will be going back and the only thing bringing us forward is the zoom.

Also, what kind of coordination would there to be? The grip moving the dolly backward and the focus puller zooming in? Any equipment necessary? We don't have much of a budget... And can you think of an example of this kind of a shot in a movie, where the subject is also getting closer to the camera?
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#10 Jon Kukla

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 01:54 PM

Thanks a lot, Chad. That's the answer I came up with as I do want the background to compress. My question, though, is if I was dollying out and zooming in, would it look like a dolly in or more like a zoom in? I say that because it means that camera will be going back and the only thing bringing us forward is the zoom.

Also, what kind of coordination would there to be? The grip moving the dolly backward and the focus puller zooming in? Any equipment necessary? We don't have much of a budget... And can you think of an example of this kind of a shot in a movie, where the subject is also getting closer to the camera?


As I mentioned above, the main requirement for the focus puller will be a zoom motor such as a Microforce or some such equivalent. It allows a constant speed to be easily set, which will make the zoom slow and completely smooth. Now as for the grip, I don't know what tricks they use to keep a constant speed at the same speed for different takes, but I would imagine that you can find someone competent enough do manage to pull it off most of the time. Short of that, you'd need a motion-control dolly rig, but that just seems pointlessly expensive and unnecessary.

Also they'll need to coordinate their start and stop points, as well as the extent that you want to zoom and dolly. But that's all things that can be mostly done on the day, assuming that you've made them well aware of it ahead of time - at worst they might just want to do some tests ahead of the shoot. The main thing will be allotting the scene enough time to allow them to properly do a few technical rehearsals and then let them do as many takes as they need until everyone's certain that it "felt good". Might take 15 minutes, might take hours. Just depends on all the factors in play...
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#11 Tony Brown

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 02:41 PM

I've worked with directors who wanted the same effect you describle. However you look at the end result, it will always look like a badly time effect. Too subtle and it flys over peoples heads..... you wont win.

Its not a good look IMHO.
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#12 Chad Stockfleth

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 02:48 PM

Yeah, Jon pretty much covered it above.

I think that the move discussed will look like a zoom in.

Test, test, test. Get a mini-dv camera and a wheelchair or something and try it out both ways. You should be able to see what is possible and what will work.
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