December 26, 2012

How to Do a Rotating Dolly Shot Around a 1,815 Foot Tall Building with Your DSLR

There are a good deal of relatively inexpensive rigs out there that can help you achieve a nice dolly shot. For small-scale dollying you might use Cineskates, or for shots that require a greater amount of movement with larger subjects, you might go with Rigwheels. But there might be times when the size of your subject might make these tools -- and even a full dolly track setup -- inadequate for the job. But with a DSLR, some planning, and a little post work, you can put together a beautiful dolly shot of a tall building:

While the technique itself is a clever use of the still image capture capabilities of DSLR's, I can't help but think of potential adaptations. For instance, if you increase the number of shots along the circle (or arc), and use the Time Warp effect in Adobe After Effects or Twixtor in Final Cut Studio, and maybe add a dash of Trapcode Particular, you have the makings of a dynamic shot for an action or sci-fi film, all without having to touch a 3D program. Or with some creative use of mattes, motion blur, and buildings or landscapes that momentarily block your subject, you could have a dolly that seamlessly transitions to multiple different locations.

What do you think of this technique and how could you adapt it?

Link: How to Spin a Camera Around the CN Tower

[via: The Verge]

Disclosure: Cinetics and RigWheels are No Film School Advertisers

Your Comment


That was awesome,

I've seen this guy blend what might be similar technique (but on a smaller scale) into one final image:

I should try it with a huge building haha.

December 26, 2012 at 9:07PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Aaron G


December 26, 2012 at 9:58PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Very cool

December 27, 2012 at 12:59AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Pretty cool! Similar to what the Wachowskis did on The Matrix.

December 27, 2012 at 1:08AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Is the motion timelapse made in similar way only on tripod?
Maby someone knows some tutorials or got some tips

December 27, 2012 at 2:51AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


December 27, 2012 at 11:13AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Google the term Hyperlapse... it works on a similar concept but it is much faster!

December 27, 2012 at 6:20PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Sean Seah

This is interesting too me, and what I see is a movement away from still images and more towards video's with life and action to sell the idea and what a great idea this is, always looking for another POV to share your thoughts.

December 29, 2012 at 10:05AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I attempted to try this at the Space Needle.

I did an imperfect job at aligning, but I did the best I could in the time I had. Also, I couldn't get the motion blur in, because there were too many objects partially obscuring the needle (e.g. branches, architecture/cables). But that's my shot at it!

January 11, 2013 at 1:40AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Nav Tombros

That was so cool!

July 30, 2013 at 4:42AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


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December 15, 2013 at 5:38PM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM