Dolly Zoom

The author appears in a selfie taken by a drone.

There's a really neat feature on the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom that turns the world into a panic room. Oh, wait. Let me explain.

Maybe it's better if I show you.

The "dolly zoom" effect keeps the subject of the frame in focus and at the same position relative to the frame. But at the same time that it's pulling back further away it's also zooming in to the subject. The two adjustments have to be synchronized and I had plenty of room on the side of the hill that I was standing on. That is, the drone ("Munin," the second of its name around here) has to back up at a constant speed relative to the speed it can move the physical zoom lens. By changing from a wide-angled aperture to a longer and narrower physical space, all of the elements around the subject grow in proportion. Having a large distance between the foreground subject and background elements makes it more dramatic.

Like the whole world is panicking. Or in the midst of a pandemic. Wear a mask!