Camera Movement: Understanding Dolly Out

There are many types of camera movements you can use in order to establish your scene or setting. A popular one is the dolly out, which often involves having your camera on a wheeled platform, and then moving it along a track. In professional set-ups, this means having a dolly grip, with your camera operator riding the platform. In guerilla, low-budget productions, you can make use of anything with wheels. The dolly shot can be achieved using a wheelchair, pushcart, office chair, and even a skateboard.

Though sometimes it is used to achieve the same thing, the dolly out is different from zooming out. With zooming out, you simply change the focal length of your lenses, allowing more room in your shot. The dolly out is a more sophisticated way of widening your shot, changing your viewer's perspective and depth. Here are some ways that the dolly out is used.

To Portray Strong Emotion

If you have a strongly emotional scene, notice that dollying out of the scene will often enhance the drama of your character - most especially if you're trying to depict isolation.

To Establish Setting

You can dolly out from your character to highlight your setting and location. This will help in establishing your scene and characters.

As a Revelation Tool

The dolly out is a highly dramatic tool for revealing something to the viewers. Doing the dolly out slowly will increase the suspenseful mood of scenes. 

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