How To Get The Vertigo Effect In Post Production | Premiere Pro Tutorial

The classic vertigo effect has been an iconic shot in the world of film for a long time.  Today we’re going to go over a truly amazing effect and how to get it in post production.  This unique effect, otherwise known as a "zolly" is where you simultaneously zoom with your lens and move the camera on a dolly in opposite direction.  This would normally be achieved by zooming in with your lens and pulling back on a dolly, or pushing in on a dolly and zooming out with your lens.  

This effect is really awesome, but it can be challenging to get, and there are times when you may only have 1 shot.  However, there’s a way that you can actually achieve this effect in post production.  And the best part is that it’s easier than you might think.  So let’s get started!

Getting Your Footage

The first thing that we’re going to need to do is shoot your footage.  What you’re going for is a clean, smooth motion either forwards or backwards. You can use a dolly, a slider, a drone, whatever you have and whatever works in your situation.  For this shot I have a slider on a tripod.  And we can see that we have a very simply push in.  

The Vertigo Effect In Premiere Pro

From here we do two things.  If your footage is at all shaky, you can add in a warp stabilizer. This will just help to make your footage Perfectly smooth and give this effect a bit more of a surreal feel to it.  Go to your effects panel and search for warp stabilizer.  Drag and drop it onto your footage, and then select detailed analysis, choose enhanced reduction of rolling shutter, and then drop the smoothness to whatever feels natural.  If you’re doing this for a shot from a slider, it should be pretty smooth already, so even 1-3% can give a great effect.  Finally we can nest the clip so that we can make additional changes without messing up the warp stabilizer.  


Now here’s the fun part.  Take your clip and keyframe the scale at the beginning.  If your dolly movement is going forward, then zoom your clip in at the start.  If your movement is going backwards, leave it at 100%.  Now go to the end of your movement and make another keyframe and bring the scale in the opposite direction.  For forward moving shots, like our example, you’ll drop it back down to 100%.  And if your shots were moving backwards, you’d scale up instead.

Making Your Effect Pop

What we end up with for our example is actually a really nice subtle effect.  However, it’s really slow and we want to make this effect pop more.  How would you go about doing that?   The key is getting a faster dolly motion.  But how do you realistically do that?  Get creative.  

The next example clip I have is taken from a skytrian window.  We can see that we go a considerable amount of distance in a short amount of time.  And because it’s a really smooth train, it acts like a perfectly smooth dolly push backwards.  Now we do what we did before, but because our direction is reversed, we’re going to reverse it in our scaling.

Keyframe scaling at the beginning of your clip and leave it at 100%.  Then we’re going to scale up significantly at the very end.  And here’s what we get:  

THAT is a really obvious vertigo effect.   Try it for yourself and let us know how it works for you!

We hope you enjoyed this video. If you have any questions, please ask them below in the comments section. Also, be sure to check out all of our other awesome tutorials. 

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