long zoom anyone?
May 16, 2007 6:27 PM   Subscribe

Searching for famous scenes from movies where the camera pans out across a vast distance in a single shot...

for example, powers of ten is one of the best examples. Also, the opening scene in Contact where we zoom out from Earth through the cosmos only to end up in the young Jodie Foster's eye. But the subject matter doesn't have to be the cosmos per se, just any memorable scene where a camera pans or zooms out across a vast distance.

(I'm also aware of the opening scene from fight club where we zoom through a characters brain and such)
posted by Gankmore to Media & Arts (31 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Men In Black contains a scene at the end where the entire universe seems to be inside a ball used during a game of jacks played by two alien creatures.
posted by Octoparrot at 6:33 PM on May 16, 2007


bonus points for online video links!!!
posted by Gankmore at 6:34 PM on May 16, 2007


Not a physical camera per-say but this simpsons intro seems to fit the bill.
posted by Captain_Science at 6:40 PM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


In Dark City the camera pans out to show the characters' universe is just one of thousands of neighboring tweaked out quasi-Earths.
posted by jayCampbell at 6:40 PM on May 16, 2007


You've Got Mail does it. Flys over Manhattan and right up to Meg Ryan's brownstone.

The Sound of Music has sweeping shots during the credits. I think Snow Falling on Cedars and Dr. Zhivago have some sweeping pans.
posted by HotPatatta at 6:49 PM on May 16, 2007


Here's a list of famous long shots. Some of them must be across distance.

Here you go: http://dailyfilmdose.blogspot.com/2007/05/long-take.html
posted by Kololo at 6:51 PM on May 16, 2007


There's a famous scene from a Hitchcock film--I think it's Notorious--in which the camera starts from a great height in a ballroom and dollies/cranes/zooms down until it reaches a closeup of a woman's diamond ring.

The last shot in Babel zooms out from a Tokyo condo, showing the Edogawa cityscape.

I'm sure there's lots of these, just can't think of more now.
posted by zardoz at 6:54 PM on May 16, 2007


The opening shot to The Birdcage is a very long zoom into a Miami nightclub, from a helicopter shot down to a Steadicam in the club.
posted by smackfu at 6:55 PM on May 16, 2007


The beginning of Star Trek: First Contact zooms out from Picard's eye through a Borg cube.
posted by metabrilliant at 7:06 PM on May 16, 2007


doesnt the beginning of forrest gump follow a feather falling from high in the sky down to the ground where he is sitting?

the opening of panic room has a shot that goes all throughout the house in one shot, through walls and vents and whatnot, if i remember correctly
posted by white light at 7:12 PM on May 16, 2007


In the opening of The Lost Boys, a helicopter shot moves down to a pretty close shot of Keifer Sutherland as he says "Today's a good day to die."
posted by zardoz at 7:42 PM on May 16, 2007


Surely Lawrence of Arabia has the king of all long shots. Blinding white desert, tiny speck in the distance, eventually becoming a man on a camel. There are others in the film, but that one immediately springs to mind. It's a pan, rather than a zoom.
posted by tim_in_oz at 7:43 PM on May 16, 2007


IIRC, the opening of Contact with Jodie Foster has an opening shot that spans a good part of the universe and ultimately closes in on earth. Or maybe its the reverse.
posted by hwestiii at 7:46 PM on May 16, 2007




You might be interested in this post about Sergio Leone's use of framing in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
posted by Tuwa at 8:08 PM on May 16, 2007


The Soviet film I Am Cuba has a couple of exceptionally dramatic sweeping shots, smoothly moving from one area to another. I also have a weakness for the restaurant scene in The Meaning of Life where the camera went from the set filming location and then a few blocks away down London streets in one smooth shot.
posted by hodyoaten at 8:15 PM on May 16, 2007


The closing credits shot from the Duellists, seen at the end of this trailer. Awesome movie.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:33 PM on May 16, 2007


"Mortal Kombat" has one at about the 3/4th's point.

If you don't mind anime, the first episode of Kamichu! has a shot that pans back (upwards, looking down) from the roof of a high school in Onomichi, to an altitude such that all of Japan is in view, and then pans sideways and back down again to a boat in the water near Okinawa.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:42 PM on May 16, 2007


This ain't a movie, but it is a zoom.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:44 PM on May 16, 2007


The very ending of Kenneth Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing probably applies; it begins in the courtyard and travels out, up above the garden and all the way out to be a long shot of mountains in the distance.
posted by andraste at 9:33 PM on May 16, 2007


But the subject matter doesn't have to be the cosmos per se, just any memorable scene where a camera pans or zooms out across a vast distance.

The closing shot of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The camera pulls back to reveal the enormous size of the government warehouse. The Ark of Covenant and its awesome power will be swallowed up by a featureless bureaucracy the dwarfs the size of the mighty Egyptian empire, and will never be seen or heard from again.
posted by frogan at 9:44 PM on May 16, 2007


Hello Dolly
posted by brujita at 10:38 PM on May 16, 2007


The opening shot of Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban. And I think another Harry Potter film, too.

Additionally, There's a shot in Fight club that zooms out from inside of a trashcan, and ends looking onto Ed Norton, IIRC.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 11:01 PM on May 16, 2007


oh, and IIRC, in The Fast and The Furious, there are a few shots that go "through the engine" sort of. not exactly what you were loooking for, but similar.

oh, and, at the very end of that Robert Rodriguez film From Dusk til Dawn has a 'revealing' sort of zoomout. (from he back door, it zooms out so you can see a big canyon with wreckage and stuff in it.) not very long distance, though.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 11:05 PM on May 16, 2007


Joel Schumacher - the director of The Lost Boys, does this shot in most of his films.
posted by clh at 11:32 PM on May 16, 2007


Additionally, There's a shot in Fight club that zooms out from inside of a trashcan, and ends looking onto Ed Norton, IIRC.

You might be mixing your scenes. The opening credits of Fight Club is a CGI shot travelling backwards starting from brain neurons, through various tubes and cavities in the head, then out the skin and down a gun barrel to show Edward Norton's face.
posted by zardoz at 12:04 AM on May 17, 2007


Not zooming, per se:

The first and last shots in The Remains of the Day (be sure to turn off the volume on that clip) involve shots featuring driving into and flying away from a large country estate.

Altman uses an extremely long, roving shot in the opening of The Player.
posted by metabrilliant at 4:57 AM on May 17, 2007


Rocky on the stairs.

Beginning of red dwarf.
posted by kjs4 at 6:29 AM on May 17, 2007


Interestingly enough this showed up in my inbox this morning from the Very Short List: A greatest-hits anthology of the movies’ longest, most impressive tracking shots. Sounds awesome! Covers a few that have been mentioned previously too.
posted by teststrip at 9:02 AM on May 17, 2007


Contact, with Jodie Foster, either has a big zoom in from space, or a big zoom out into space. Don't remember which.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 1:07 PM on May 17, 2007


You might be mixing your scenes.

you're probably right on that. But there is a scene that is a zoomout from inside a trashcan. Now that I think about it, there's also that one with the explosion in the apartment.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 3:25 PM on May 17, 2007


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