How to Simulate the Famous ‘Vertigo Effect’ Dolly Zoom With a Drone

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How to Simulate the Famous ‘Vertigo Effect’ Dolly Zoom With a Drone

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We’ve covered the dolly zoom (or “Vertigo effect”) in detail recently here on PetaPixel, but did you know that you can achieve this effect using a drone, without zooming?

In this 6-minute video, Captain Cornelius shows you how to take a simple tracking back shot and edit it in Final Cut Pro to achieve a simulated version of the famous Hitchcock/dolly zoom. The results speak for themselves:

To achieve this, Cornelius first uses scaling to increase the size of the subject (in this case, a castle) at the end of the clip to the same dimensions as it was at the beginning. The value he uses is 160%, meaning the entire video is now zoomed in by 160%.

Next, he sets a keyframe at the end of the clip to anchor the scaling at 160%, and another at the beginning of the clip at 100%. This means that the clip zooms smoothly from 100% at the start of the clip to 160% at the end… and that’s it!

There are two keys to ensure your simulated effect looks as good as an organic dolly zoom shot. First: the shot has to have a clear foreground and background. And second: you will also need to shoot in the highest resolution possible, since you will be losing resolution by scaling the clip.

Take a look at the video embedded at the top to see exactly how the technique works, and if you want to see more drone tips and tutorials, Captain Cornelius’ Drone Film Guide YouTube channel has you covered.

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