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Super Zoom

Simple effect and clever editing for dramatic transition By Stephen Schleicher
It is always cool to see an effect you like, and even neater to break the effect down and figure out how to recreate it yourself. This week, well use Adobe After Effects (4.1 or later) and some clever editing to create what I like to call The Super Zoom.

You have probably seen an effect like this on such shows as CSI Miami, Smallville, and the like it starts off fairly far from the subject and then zooms into an area of interest very quickly. When you want to do a shot like this in your production, the first thing you need to begin with is the shot itself.

The images for this exercise were captured with my Sony PD150 on a cold November morning.

I began by considering that I wanted to do two quick zoom transitions to the subject X distance away. This means the shot starts out far away, zooms quickly to half the distance, then finally to the close shot of the subject.

Set up the camera for your far shot, grab a couple of seconds, then physically move the camera closer to the subject. For this effect I found that between the establishing shot and the halfway point I would need two additional shots essentially creating a step progression toward the subject. I then shot my halfway point image and again captured the necessary intermediate shots between the halfway point and the final.

For this exercise, I have provided the stills from those various shots for you to use.

Digitize your footage and import it into Adobe After Effects. This effect will work in version 4.1 or later.

Begin by placing your first shot in the Timeline, and set an Out point after an adequate amount of time. The keyboard shortcut to set an Out point for a layer is Command+] on the Mac and Alt+] on the PC.

For this exercise, the entire length of the Composition is five seconds, with the first shot lasting one second.

Place the next shot in the Timeline and then advance two frames and set an Out point for this layer. This is the first of our Super Zoom transition shots.

Place the third transition shot in the Timeline and again set an Out point two frames from the In point.

Your next shot is the halfway point shot. Set the duration for this layer to an appropriate time (I set mine to one second again).

Repeat these steps for the remaining shots in the sequence.

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Related Keywords:adobe after effects, super zoom, schleicher, radial blur


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