Don’t Assume You Know the Zoom
This classic camera technique is ready for its close-up.
Aspect ratios, pans, tilts, apertures, rack focus: when it comes to filmmaking and camera operations, there seems to be no end to the technical jargon. But one thing everyone seems to recognize and identify is the humble, common zoom. Everyone knows what a zoom is, right? Well…not really.
While the zoom may be a very popular cinematic term, it is also wildly misused. The biggest source of confusion comes from people mistaking a zoom for a dolly shot. What's the difference? To put it simply, a dolly shot is created by pushing the camera closer to or further from the subject, usually with a platform and set of tracks. A zoom is more or less a simple magnification created by adjusting the focal length of the camera's lens. Still a little confused? Well, you're in luck. This video breaks down the major technical and theoretical differences between the zoom and the dolly. Have a watch, and be sure to stay tuned until the end to test your zoom vs. dolly knowledge! Find the answers to the quiz below: