How to Achieve the ‘Vertigo Effect’ with Drone Footage

vertigo effect

How to Achieve the ‘Vertigo Effect’ with Drone Footage


There are so many weird and wonderful things that you can add to your footage once you’ve been captured it on your drone and one of the most interesting and unique effects (in our opinion) that you can add to your footage is called the ‘Vertigo Effect’.

The Vertigo Effect is a surreal and very cool addition to your footage that brings a lot of attention to your subject by somewhat warping and distorting the background.

Video Credit: Claudio Basili PSA/YouTube. Drone footage captured on DJI Mavic Pro.

Essentially, what’s happening with the vertigo effect is the camera is being moved closer to the subject but is also being zoomed out into a wider focal length at the same time.

Because the focal length is changing, the camera doesn’t look like it is moving because the focal length changes to keep the same framing; effectively it is the relationship between the foreground and the background that gives the compression effect.

The best way to achieve the ‘Vertigo Effect’ – when using a normal camera – is by using a slider or a dolly. As you dolly close to the subject, you also need to zoom out on the lens at the same time which really highlights your subject.

But how exactly do you do this with drone footage? We hear you ask.

Admittedly, yes from that description it may sound tricky; but with 4K drone footage it is much easier than you think, with all the work coming in post-production.

All you need is a clip that is going forwards – or backwards – and all you need to do is add in the zoom.

With your chosen clip, go to the end and add a Key Frame on the scale at 100. Then, head back to the beginning on the clip and zoom in.

Be warned, the more you zoom in the more intense that the effect becomes, and you don’t want to over-do it.

And there you have it, a very simple effect that really adds some wow factor to your footage.


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