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Old August 6th, 2005, 06:04 AM   #16
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Well you can't really define it in two sentences I think.
It depends on the scene, the mood, the frame, the location even maybe,...

I think you should just try and see what you like best, and look to lots of movies and see if you spot where they use what and why it works so well in the movie (or doesn't work).
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Old August 7th, 2005, 08:12 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Matt Brabender
So I guess it's like this:
Dolly if you want to move your audience through or within the scene
Zoom if you want to give them binoculars

does that sum it up?
Bottom Line: It's the Directors call. The Director must decide what look he wants and what techniques advance the story. There are "hard rules" in almost everything, but in the end, it is an artistic, or technical, or budgetary factor that sways the decision one way or the other :-)
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Old August 8th, 2005, 08:27 AM   #18
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Sam Raimi uses both at the same time and it looks like he doesn't use a dolly. The camera man just walks up to the actor while zooming and then they speed it up in post. This gives you a rapid effect that looks like something is running up to the character and also gives the scene a more gritty urgency. Perfect for setting up a fight scene.

I'd smooth it out only if you are trying to do the "stretching hallway" effect but if you are using it to create tension, rather than nausea, try Raimi's approach.
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Old September 30th, 2005, 08:14 AM   #19
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In my current short, I have a shot like this:


From this angle all we can see of PAUL is his lower legs and feet. We see he wears jeans and work boots. As approaches, the camera dollies back and tracks with him for a moment.

The tracking speeds up a bit and puts some distance between the camera and Paul. In the right side of the frame, the park bench comes into view and we see Sparky’s distinctive shoes. We stop tracking just past the bench and boom up slowly. We can now see that the guy is a huge bruiser. Paul sits down next to Sparky.
To do this shot, my wife (DP/operator) used a combination of zoom / dolly / boom up / pan. She had to practice the shot about 8 times before she had it down. The resulting shot is very smooth and the viewer has no idea that the zoom was used at all. I think it all depends on context. Generally, when I visualize a shot I don't think in terms of the physical moves needed to make a shot. My goal is to do the shot in such a way that it adds to the story.

Once I have the shot concept, I will load up Lightwave and set the shot up. At that point, I will show it to my wife and she then translates it to the physical moves needed to accomplish the shot.
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Old September 30th, 2005, 09:01 AM   #20
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Pre-Viz is the way to go , if you have that capability in your toolbox !!
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Old September 30th, 2005, 09:39 AM   #21
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I know this topic is a little old but I thought I'd chime in with my opinion FWIW.

Zooms vs Push: What do you do when you can't read a sign in the distance? You move closer. Is there anyone here that can "zoom" their eyeballs? My point is that a push is a lot more natural. We do physical "pushes" all the time. When we walk down the street we are doing a push. No one really "zooms" down the street with their eyes.

This is why I think that zooms take the viewer out of the action. It just feels unnatural.
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Old September 30th, 2005, 12:29 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Eric Stemen
What's a crash zoom?

Check out the fight sequences in Battlestar Galactica (new series) tons and tons of crash zooms mixed with jerky camera movement. I think this was done in Saving Private Ryan among other films.
For these type of action sequences it works beautifully because on a subconscious leve,l when we see this in a movie, it gives it a sense of realism because we're use to seeing this type of camera movement in reality news type situations where the cameraman is trying desparately to follow the action.
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Old October 1st, 2005, 12:58 AM   #23
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Just like anything, a zoom or a push should be motivated. Are you trying to show something closer? Then do a tight cut-away, dont make the audience endure a move for no reason. A zoom is generally to draw specific attention to a particular make it seem important or significant. It should get you THINKING. A push is general to engender a reaction, be it sadness, frantic, tense, etc. It should get you FEELING. These are the subtle things often forgotten as people obsess with "film look" and 24P.

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Old October 1st, 2005, 07:23 AM   #24
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Yes, we 'dolly' in real life by walking closer to the subject. But the real life equivellant to the zoom, also exists.

We stand in the doorway looking around the room we PAN our head left and right. We TILT down too look at the coffee table. Our eyes TRACK down the legs of the table to our CAR KEYS located just behind the left front leg.

And we haven't take a step. We have ZOOMED our perspective from taking in the whole room, to focusing on the two square inches behind the table leg where our car keys lie.

None of this contradicts anything that anyone has said so far. I think it just illustrates the difference that people remark on. Dollying is a move THROUGH space. Zooming is a move THROUGH perspective. Both of them can bring you closer/farther in regards to the subject in the frame, but they have distinctly different subjective feelings to them. A dolly moves the physical perspective, a zoom moves the mental perspective.

Directors choice of course.
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Old October 1st, 2005, 10:49 AM   #25
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Great stuff all around, everyone. I'm a bigger fan of no zooms and only push ins, but in the 1970s, zooms were big. It's all a matter of taste and, I suppose, the era we're in.

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Old October 2nd, 2005, 09:34 PM   #26
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Like the high shutter/shutter angle now, zooms were a new tool in the 70s and in many cases overused. The key to great direction and cinematography, is using the tools available to us in a motivated way to help convey the story.

ash =o)
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Old October 6th, 2005, 06:48 AM   #27
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There is so much info around these parts...

In the crappy little stuff I've done the visual elements which seem to garner the most praise are the dolly shots. People aren't expecting them on low budget stuff and a nicely executed dolly movement adds the look of $.

Amazing the effect pvc tubing and skate wheels can have :-)
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