From psychological thrillers to heart-pounding action films, zooming has always been used to capture a far-away subject or fill a frame with a close up—but thanks to post production programs like After Effects, the zoom can now go beyond its normal, everyday usage to provide a unique twist to any video. Just think of the iconic dolly zoom in Vertigo or the crash zoom in Django Unchained during the introduction of Calvin Candie.

Need a visual? This video shows you how zooming can be used in big name Hollywood films.

 

 
These innovative techniques can take your video to the next level. However, sometimes life happens and you just can’t get a smooth zoom. Believe it or not, you no longer need a zoom lens—or even a camera—to get that awesome zoom effect in your videos. Whether you don’t have a zoom lens or you had your hands full while shooting, there is no need to worry–we have your back! With the help of some high quality stock footage and Adobe After Effects, you can nail that camera trick in post.

So if you’re looking to spice up a transition or get that disorienting Vertigo movement, check out these simple tutorials below to see how zooming in post can improve your projects. And if you’re new to After Effects, check out our After Effects Beginner’s Guide to Basic Effects & Animations.

 

Zoom Transition

Cut, cut, cut. Gets boring, right? Try throwing in this simple zoom transition to captivate your audience and give them a headrush of awesomeness.

 

 

Super Zoom

The super zoom effect is a great way to add emphasis, transition between scenes, and create Quentin Tarantino’s signature character introduction. This tutorial by Phenomenal Creations will take you step-by-step through the process of making this epic effect.

 

 

Dolly Zoom

The dolly zoom is a classic Hollywood effect that’s typically achieved by moving the camera in one direction while zooming in the opposite direction. This creates a disorienting sensation of the environment growing around the camera lens and the audience—examples of this shot can be seen in movies like Jaws, Vertigo, and even Goodfellas. Luckily, getting this shot just got a whole lot easier with this After Effects tutorial.

 

 
With these awesome AE techniques, the zoom is now a useful tool for both camera operators and editors. Ready to get started but need footage to start practicing? Make sure to browse our library of royalty-free footage and see what you can do in After Effects.

 

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