Embedded Zoom Advice

I have a potential job that will involve several embedded moves from one scene to the next. Got a few straightforward shots that pan to the sky or use sun flares to transition in and out. The trickier ones involve drone shots and interior shots being tracked into each other. For example, a drone camera moves quickly into a cityscape, ending up at a building window, and tracked inside that widow is the interior plate – which continues to zoom further into the action.

One thing I brought up with production is that the drone camera can’t too different from the interior camera. Like, no tiny wide angle DJI or Blackmagic sensors at 10-12mm. The distortion alone could be dealt with, but getting a match between that and an Alexa would be pretty severe. Pick a camera and stick with it, right?

Another thought is that these interiors would need to be a set, most likely. Wouldn’t they need to shoot fully out to the edge of the room, and push in?

Any expertise is appreciated!

Hard to know the most efficient approach without seems the images. Usually my first step for these kind of shots is to have a tracked camera…. and if you can set the origin of both cameras to a spot when the plates would align.

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For sure – planning on tracking the cameras for both.

If you are able to lineup the cameras in a way that you can transition from one to the other, by using something like this Expression to animate between 2 cameras in Action - #8 by PlaceYourBetts you may be able to control how to go from one focal length to the other in a smooth way.
There is a YT Logik Live specifically dedicate to this kind of approach… THIS…


Hi Nick. I did a similar shot some years ago, and as an amateur clairvoyant, I can predict that you will run into unexpected issues and a good bit of manual work, no matter how well you pre-plan.

One thing I would highly recommend is that you get high-res stills or locked off footage of that wall and window that you’re pushing through. This will very likely come in quite handy.


And if you’re “passing through” a pane of glass, be sure to get some good reflections over black there.

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Yeah. One of the tricky things about being on an actual location is not being able to pass through walls/floors. The acceleration from ground level or the deacceleration to stop the camera smashing into the ground is very tricky to deal with if the move is meant to be continuous.

Classic panic room ref - https://youtu.be/jp57gPI1DJI

I haven’t watched this but I just came across a behind the scenes - https://youtu.be/LE01c_8DGHE?si=02i5CrzCYkJNWIyp

EDIT- Who has this kind of budget in commercials :rofl: but I really like watching behind the scenes stuff. Nice to poach ideas from a film 22 years old.

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Yeah, this budget is definitely not anywhere near luxurious enough, but they are open to using creative transitions through glass. The seamlessness of Panic Room is pretty breathtaking. I’m sure a few years were shaved off in the making of that shot.

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I did this job a couple years ago:

For the transitions I used a technique that used motion vectors to give the incoming shot the movement of the outgoing shot. It’s a bit tricky to explain, but I did a Logik Live on it. Maybe it will help:


Thank you Rufus. I was just watching this earlier this morning. Great spot, brilliant VFX work!

last time I did this, there where lots of transitions from macro to wide shots, to macro and such things and them beign pretty slow moves too so no insane moblur to hide everything

most of what I did was hand animate them in action, that was the simplest way and it worked really well . some shots had added CG elements inbetween or added layers


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Whatever you do, use the same lenses. And if the DOP says he wants to zoom as well as track, tell him to fuck off.


Any words of advice for utilizing projections for this effect? From what I gathered after watching @inti.martinez seamless Hyundai tunnel shot, this is an ideal way to merge 2 shots together. I’ve tried this with some test footage going from outdoor drone (SHOT A), to indoor dolly (SHOT B). My attempt is however pretty clunky at the moment. I have also tried using the expression trick where you blend 2 cameras together. No dice.

Maybe I am doing this wrong? I start by copying my 2 tracked cameras to an Action, then applying a diffuse map projections to each surface (shot A & B). I point them at their related tracked cameras. The result is a stabilized version of each (which makes sense). But weirdly they are scaled to be tiny.

Is the best next step then to animate the 2 stabilized plates together? I could add an axis and scale the scene camera to frame the scene. Then add animation. I’ve tried this and it’s not looking great.

I could go back to the more familiar way of tracking in a stabilized version of shot B, and add motion after. Just wondering if anyone has any recommendations for projecting.

Hey Nick, I wanted to help brainstorm just speaking in hypotheticals since I watched Rufus’ episode the other week.

Using a 3rd camera to mix between 2 cameras like Inti did is brilliant, but a bit over my head and requires both cameras to be set up with similar world scale, similar coordinates etc., so I would use the camera on the incoming A clip and project a frame of the outgoing B clip onto some rough geometry of the room using a diffuse map. Essentially the B clip is going to be tracking backward from the A clip and getting smaller as you go backwards in the transition. you can also get a project some fake reflections to kind of dissolve the interior in as it gets closer to camera and warp + gain up as you pass through. Might be able to compensate for some focal length differences there. Also if you have roto of someone in the foreground you can project that in 3d space also.

As you go forward in the transition, the B clip speed should be ramping up from 0 and eventually be matching the speed as closely as possible of the A clip. I would timewarp the clips as close as possible in a timeline beforehand like Rufus did, take liberty to shift rough cut as needed, and if timewarping the A clip, use ‘timing’ and copy that into one of the camera animation channels (I forget which one).

I think projections like this would work if you’re going into a room with straight lines but motion vectors would probably work better if you’re transitioning to a landscape. Making it smooth is going to be a combo of the B clip being tracked, timewarping up to full speed, and after that some small axis adjustments.

Also stabilizing the B clip and tracking it into the A clip could work in some cases too. It would make sense that the faster the transition the more forgiving it is, but the techniques are all the same. Hopefully this is somewhat helpful!


It is helpful! Thanks for talking it through. I needed to sleep on it a little. I figured a few things out this morning and got it working. I needed to make Camera 3 a duplicate of my Camera 1, only keeping the first keyframe. After I did that, the transition expression worked perfectly. I had to animate the camera with an axis to complete the move along with some additional diffuse map adjusting for alignment.

Projections aren’t my strong suit, and they make my brain hurt. But once I get it sorted out, they are pretty amazing tools.