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How do they do that zoom trick where the background moves closer while the subject stays in the same place?

Internet Filmmakers' FAQ

The "weird zoom trick", where the background seems to either be sucked towards the camera or pushed away, is done using a combination of zooming-in whilst moving the camera away from the subject (or vice versa). The results of this basically mean that the subject remains still in shot, while the background moves. This technique is an excellent tool when used effectively, however it is harder that it seems to do well.

This technique is also known as "blowing out the background" and has been a popular suspense-building technique in suspense and horror movies. Hitchcock was one of the first to use this, although there are good examples in Jaws and Goodfellas (extremely slow). The technique is even parodied in the Kevin Bacon film The Big Picture, giving weight to the brief that its use is pretty clich├ęd these days.

Answer by Benjamin Craig  |  Last updated 24-Nov-2004

Comments

Older Comments

agniva  |  01-Mar-2006
If you intend to perform this trick while the subject is being shot in a close-up or a mid shot, you can take the help of blue screens too. But this will require a bit of precise digital editing. Take the shot of the subject infront of the blue screen. Than take the shot of the background separately and zoom in on it as required. Finally, while editing, just place the subject infront of the background. This will look pretty convincing, provided the lighting is properly synchronised.