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Whip Pan Effect

Video: Whip Pan Effect

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In this tutorial, we will show you how to create a whip pan effect on your projects using After Effects. 

A Whip Pan is a technique whereby two separate shots are animated in a fashion to make them look like one continuous camera shot.

The idea is to lock the tripod tilt function off and film a shot, then pan to the left or right (or both if you’re crazy enough) and film another shot. This is a good way to add characters (such as a police squad) to a shot if your budget is low and you want to duplicate your actor as a few different characters.

The technique is very simple in post-production (the tutorial) and requires only a few keyframes and a bit of motion blur.

I hope this idea helps a few beginners and maybe the technique in itself is more useful than what you learn from this tutorial.

You'll learn how to: 

  • Apply and create effects to create a simple whip pan.
  • Smooth the effects using motion blur and global blur to improve the transition
  • Record frames primed for a whip pan


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Hi and welcome to this render studios After Effects tutorial. Now, this is probably going to be one of the most simple tutorials you'll ever see. And I do feel a bit daft for adding it to the tutorials section but we have had a fair few people asking if we can do some quick tips now and then, you know, alongside the full-length projects that we do. And hopefully, the ideas and possibilities that this technique opens to a few of you might help more than the actual skill level itself.

Ok, so I’m just going to import the first shot which might help me talk about it a little bit more. The first thing you want to do is you want to get a shot of your actors making sure that both the tilt and pan handles of your tripod have been locked off. The camera does need to be on a tripod for this. Also, take note of where the frame edge is, I mean our case is the next shot is panned to the left so it's the left-hand side we need to take note of, and ours is just at the edge of this door. And once you have filmed this shot, you want to unlock the pan handle making sure the other, the tilt one, is still locked off. And then you want to pan the tripod to the left, lining up the right of frame with whatever was at the edge of the left, previously so, I’ll just import the left-hand shot as well. If you shut this off, just to the right of the frame here is the side of this door. So basically what this is, is an extra wide shot that you can kind of animate between to make it look like, well in our case the reason we did this was because we had two actors and two SWAT outfits and we wanted to make it look like we had more. So we filmed one shot of them both there and we filmed a shot of them both waiting and when you pan between it looks like you kind of got more actors in the scene which is a good way to save money and I suppose an easy way to organise a shoot because you need less people to be involved.

So once you’ve dragged these two shots into AfterEffects what you want to do is, and this really is quite a simple technique, add basically a few position keyframes, so select your first shot which is, in our case, the one on the right. I’m just gonna close that one for a while. Errmm… wait until your actors have done what you want them to do. Which in our case is probably about there, press ‘P’ for position. Set a stopwatch, and I’m just gonna make this composition a little bit longer so… six seconds will do. Move forward probably about four or five frames, and just drag holding shift until they just get to the edge of the frame.

And on the second layer, just turn that on now, and I want to go back to this first frame press ‘P’ for position and move that out of the way, go to the end and drag that into frame. If you look at what's happening at the moment just turn that back on. And you’ll see that's where the door lines up and there's your other two actors.

Now it kind of jolts your eyes a little bit, without adding any motion blur or ease in keyframe so I’m gonna, if you haven’t got this option just press toggle switches, select motion blur for both and then turn the global motion blur on. And then I’ll run preview and see how that works. And you can see the transition looks a lot better, now I do need to move this shot forwards ‘cause they both position in line then just drag these two back.

And as you can see that’s basically it for a whip pan. I mean you can go a little bit further and select your keyframes, go to keyframe assistant and then ‘Easy ease’ and that's basically it.

I hope this quick tip helps one or two of you, I know it is quite simple but hopefully the idea behind it is something a few of you might not have thought of, and hopefully it's just a small technique you can add into any projects you're doing or any short films your working on or music video or anything like that.

Thank you for watching. 

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