Travelling to the cinema

Discover everything there is to know on the travelling !

Today, we’ll look a little better to a system of staging that everyone is useful and which is visible from everywhere, the dolly. Everyone knows what it is, but not necessarily the details of it. More important, we will also see the meanings of such effect on the stage. Of course everything is accompanied by examples.

In theatre, the environment and the framework are fixed, the viewer sees the action as a single point of view, global and outdoor. In the film, the dolly allows the filmmakers to move the camera in space in order to obtain different points of views.

Definition of dolly

The dolly is a true movement of the camera during the shooting that leads to a change of physical point of view. The camera moves closer or further away from a given topic, being on the rail. This guarantees a movement is fixed and the right plan, at the difference of a crane or a steadicam.

There are different types of travelling. On the other hand, the use of the zoom lens does not require movement of the camera, it is not a dolly. The camera is in motion, the scale of the plans change as you move it.


The dolly is a very old method of staging, which dates from 1896, just a year after the invention of the cinematograph. It was in Venice on a gondola ride, this has been done, by an operator of the Lumière brothers. We then called this the panoramic view Light. The word travelling does not appear to him that in the 1920s, by a film critic who uses a false anglicism in French.

Thereafter, the dolly is greatly developed in his drama film by Griffith or Méliès that will greatly use the dolly. Today, it is a movement scene can be found in each film, as it is common. Therefore, it is not possible to say that a developer is specialized in travelling, as one might say, with the sequence plan. Even so, some are now become extremely worship, and have marked the history of cinema.

Operation and use

Originally, the travelling corresponded to the use of a cart, or rails in order to avoid clashes when moving the camera. The result is a fluid movement, which can go in a straight line or a curve.

The term has evolved and is now used very broadly to refer to any movement of the camera, which is similar to the use of rails, even if the technique is different.

The different types of travelling can have an influence in the three dimensions of space. The producer therefore chooses the best move at the effect he wishes to produce in the viewer.

The travelling horizontal or lateral

The travelling horizontal follows a subject, a car or a character, which is at the heart of the sequence. The movement of the camera usually follows the same rate as the subject. This gives dynamism to the scene and allows the viewer to adopt the rhythm of the scene.

In a move usually performed from left to right, the camera accompanies so an action in a scenery that reveals itself, or that changes gradually in the eyes of the viewer.

The travelling horizontal is very often used to show the main characters of a sequence or a film.

The travelling vertical

The traveling vertical is a movement up or down the camera towards a subject or an action. We talk about travelling vertically up when the camera rises above the subject being filmed. We talk about travelling vertical down when the camera goes down compared to the subject filmed.

The dolly vertical is very often used in the introduction sequence, to gradually reveal the venue and the action. It is also often used to show important information, like the name of a person on a tombstone.

The dolly

With a dolly, the camera approaches the subject filmed. As to the approximation, the field-of-view, all that there is around the subject, is reduced. The dolly also allows you to follow a character, adopt the point of view.

Often this tracking is done to emphasize something important to the story or a significant change.

The dolly is often used to conclude a scene followed by a pull back by opening another. They symbolize then the output of the sequence or of the place in which it takes place.

The dolly may also have a value of dramaturgical strong. Moving forward, the camera will reveal, for example, the viewer of an object that went unnoticed in the overview. The fact of showing this object to the importance of and information to the viewer. If the camera is moving closer to a character to finish a close-up of his emotions will be revealed gradually, creating a certain tension.

The sequence of travelling front/rear created about him an effect of comparison. If the same object is used for the two sequences that follow, the spectator will notice them and will automatically do a reconciliation, an opposition, between the characters and/or environments of the two sequences.

A dolly before are generally made in a vertical axis, for example to the height of a man when the camera follows a character. However, it is possible to perform a dolly in diving or against diving. The result obtained will be quite atypical. This technique is judicious enough to give scope to the environment, before looking progressively at the heart of the action.

The dolly back

The pull back is based broadly on the same principle as the dolly before except that the movement is in the opposite direction. Here, the camera pulls back, away from the subject filmed. The effect is therefore contrary to the dolly in : The field of vision will expand as the plan to reveal new information the viewer. This can be to give an impression of importance, of group or unit by example.

The pull back can be very useful to show emotions of a character who moves. Rather than follow it back, the pull back will help to see it move towards the camera, and thus revealing all its expressions.

The pull back is not used to reveal new information the viewer. The camera, away from the subject, will create a certain distance between the viewer and the.

The travelling circular

Also called the dolly to 360°, the travelling circular consists of a camera moving around the action. It often has a value of drama very powerful. It can reinforce the idea of movement, the dynamism of a scene, of course, but can just as well indicate insanity, the change in a character.

The movement of the camera during a traveling circular may be slow or rapid, according to the idea, the message, the director wants to convey.

The Travelling Compensated

The frame offset is one of the many findings that must be the filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock. This is done with a dolly with a zoom-out or vice versa. The resulting effect gives the feeling of losing balance or being under the influence of drugs. Hitchcock used for his film Vertigo, in which his main character is regularly experience dizziness.

This is a good method to keep the subject in the center of the plan, without that it does not grow or shrink might say, but to reveal even more of the background and remove it precisely. Raging Bull or the lord of the rings do this very well by example.

This technique has the effect of placing the viewer in the character’s head, to feel what he feels. In effect this gives the viewer an odd sensation of elasticity of the space filmed, which often reflects a certain discomfort with the character on the screen.

Now let’s see various examples of travelling

Keywords: example of subjects in the camera

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