Monday, March 17, 2008

The Miracle Zoom

The Miracle Zoom

After the 5 seconds of wide shot, with no plane in it, the camera then zooms part way in, zooms in some more, then finally zooms all the way in, framing a nice shot of the twin towers. Now it at least looks like the chopper has arrived “at the scene”. One video frame after the final zoom, an airplane enters the screen. What are the odds of that?

Miracle Zoom. Frame 406 is the end of the zoom in. The plane enters on frame 407.

If I was operating a video camera, even if I knew a plane was coming, and I was trying to finish a zoom one frame before that plane entered the picture, I doubt I could do it more than 1 out of 100 times.

This “Miracle Zoom” is a huge coincidence if we are to believe in a real plane, but a practical necessity for video compositing. Overlaying a moving airplane image on a stable, not-zooming video is easy. Doing so on a zooming shot is quite tricky, and impossible to do in real time, if it is to be a convincing fake.

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