Friday, September 17, 2010

The Dolly Zoom Effect (Mad Men 408)

I previously posted a comparison between Don's state of mind in Season 4 to "Scotty" Ferguson's (Jimmy Stewart) in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo.

In Vertigo, Hitchcock visually depicted the unsteadiness caused by Ferguson's condition through the use of what's now known as the "dolly zoom" effect. A camera is rolled in one direction while the zoom level is adjusted in the opposite direction. Steven Spielberg also famously used the technique to show Sheriff Brody's reaction after a brutal shark attack in Jaws.

Geek that I am, I bring up this esoterica because one particular shot in "The Summer Man" employs the effect as well. During the Mountain Dew creative meeting, a dolly zoom occurs as Don experiences a momentary anxiety attack.

Vertigo's Dolly Zoom effect (at 2:05 and 2:15 of clip):

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