Camera Movement: Understanding Dolly In

In video production, camera movement is not simply for the purpose of framing a shot, but is also a storytelling tool in itself. Sometimes, emotions and characters can be portrayed simply by moving the camera a certain way. One of the most effective ways of focusing on subjects is through a dolly in.

What You Need

If you have the budget, you can opt to rent tracks and a dolly grip. This is a mechanism that can secure your camera on a pedestal, and both camera and operator and pushed on a track. Guerilla filmmakers make do with whatever mechanism that can move. Trolleys and pushcarts can be used to achieve this camera movement, and sometimes even wheelchairs and office chairs are used to dolly in.

Difference With Zoom

Dollying in is often used to give focus on a particular subject. This camera movement is more sophisticated than zooming in. Consider the zoom as if cropping or zooming in to an image. You do not vary the overall composition of the shot. Whereas when you dolly in, you change the viewer's depth and perception of the shot.

When to Dolly In

This movement is best used when you want to emphasize a reaction or highlight a subject. Basic rule is if you dolly in fast, it usually connotes something exciting or foreboding. A slow dolly in is used to signify a strong, often dramatic, emotion.  

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