I've seen this effect in movies where where the background behind the subject expands. In the movie "Ever After" when the father dies, they do that effect with the the daughter.

It thought I saw a making of where the do the zoom with the camera on rails, so as they zoom the camera moves to compensate.

1 Answer 1


That effect was made famous in Hitchcock's Vertigo. It's called by various names: Hitchcock/Vertigo zoom, dolly zoom, reverse tracking shot.

To achieve this effect, the camera zooms in or out, while the dolly (movable platform on rails) moves the camera towards or away from the subject to keep the subject the same size, while the background zooms in or out.

  • 5
    Note that this is in fact a zoom, and is not achieving the effect "without a zoom" as the question asks (which would of course not be possible). The camera is moved so that the main subject is not affected by the zoom, but that doesn't mean that there isn't one.
    – Mike Scott
    Sep 27, 2015 at 9:55

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