Balance, a film by Tim Sessler and Brandon Bray, is a dizzying, disorienting display of drone cinematography that may just leave you slack-jawed. It’s also the first drone film we know of to use the famous “vertigo effect,” AKA dolly zoom.

Made famous by Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic film Vertigo, a dolly zoom works by zooming the lens to change the field of view while moving the camera simultaneously to keep the main subject the same size during the move. The result is unsettling, disorienting, and kind
of awesome.

In order to capture this unique footage, Sesser says they had to use two new camera techniques for drone cinematography: extreme roll moves with the MoVI M15, and a vertigo drone effect.

“Aerial footage these days is perfect. Maybe too perfect?” writes Sessler. “The horizon is always perfectly level, shots for the most part are very straight tracking or push-ins without much life or human feel to them—in other words the technical perfection nearly adds to how removed a lot of these shots feel.”

This is a pretty crazy technique – none too easy to do in case you’re wondering. If you’re not entirely clear on what the fuss is about, check out the scene at 1:55.
I very much like Sessler’s comments about the way most people are using drones. I think there are three things at play:
  1. Many people have never studied cinematography.
  2. Many people are not great pilots.
  3. Many people rely on the automated effects “built-in” to the software.
Nice to see someone with an understanding of cinema. Next we can look for another Hitchcock signature camera move – the long tracking shot –  as seen in these examples.




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