Dolly Zoom with no Math, Add Ons, or Scripts

SO = Steady Object. The object that remains constant amid the changing background. Often an actor’s head. It is Suzanne in the example video.

The point of this is to dolly in and zoom out or dolly out and zoom in so that the SO is the same size throughout the shot. This produces the dolly zoom, Hitchcock zoom, or zolly effect.

With this method you can do a dolly zoom with no math, no add ons, and no scripts.

  1. Place the camera near the SO. Set it up for the view you want.

  2. Set the current frame to the frame when the camera will be at this position.

    2.a. If you dolly out, move the camera away from the SO, this is the beginning location. Perhaps frame 1.

    2.b. If you dolly in, move the camera toward the SO, this is the end location. Perhaps frame 60.

  3. Keyframe the camera’s location and focal length at this frame.

  4. Move the camera to the far end of its dolly movement (far from SO) and set the current frame to the appropriate frame.

  5. Keyframe the camera’s location.

  6. Use the timeline controls to jump to the keyframe when the camera is near the SO.

  7. In camera view, put your finger on the screen along an edge of the SO. In the example video I put mine on Suzanne’s chin.

  8. Jump to the “far” keyframe while keeping your finger on the screen.

  9. In camera view, change the focal length so the edge of the SO is next to your finger as it appeared in the “near” keyframe.

  10. Keyframe the focal length. (4.2 MB)

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