I am looking for the name of a specific kind of shot, if it has one. It's something you see a lot in car races movies or video game, the idea is that a car (or anything moving fast) comes towards the camera which is on the side of the road, and when it reaches it the camera pans to follow the car.

Like so:

Has it got a specific name?

  • "It's something you see a lot in car races movies or video game" - Not really related to your actual question, but there's a reason this type of shot is more common in movies and video games than in footage of real-life races. If a car crashes while it's coming towards you, and you're looking the other way, you're not going to be able to get out of the way of any debris that might be coming towards you at potentially lethal speed.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented May 16, 2020 at 12:55

1 Answer 1


I don't know if it has a specific name, but this is an absolutely standard motor-sports panning shot.
Stationary camera, simply turning on a pivot to follow the action as it moves.

Every car race ever filmed has to do this, because the cameras can't be on the track and it's obviously far too dangerous to follow the race cars during an actual race. Until the invention of tiny cameras you could bury track-side with no human operator to be in danger, or the helicopter, drone or wire shot, this was literally the only way you could film a car race.

Even video games, with a theoretically unlimited camera positioning will use this type of shot some of the time because it's so well-known. It gives a sense of speed as the camera whip-pans to follow a high speed pass.
Racing movies such as the recent Ford vs Ferrari will use it, even though they have a multi-million dollar budget and can afford to film it absolutely any way they like - again because it's 'traditional', for want of a better word.

Footage of the first ever Formula 1 race. The opening shot does it, and almost all the actual shots of the race itself subsequently.

Formula 1 - The First Formula 1 Grand Prix in 1950

This contrasts with what they can do with a relatively low-speed horse-race, which is to mount the camera in a truck and ride alongside the horses, just the other side of the racetrack fence.

Old style from the 70's, view from the camera truck, possibly an actual flat-bed, or an open-top car with a camera tripod-mounted, very little stabilisation except for the suspension.

The Citreoen 2CV was well-known as a camera car in the old days.
Some images - Citroen 2CV - Camera Car

…and a link to a modern sports tracking company, cars, buggies, wires, drones, helicopters etc

Aerial Camera Systems - Vehicles

  • 1
    Wow, those Kartcams and Boatcams look pretty cool! :) And I loved the history behind that Citroen 2CV. Thanks for sharing the link.
    – Monomeeth
    Commented May 18, 2020 at 10:32

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