I have never understood how they shoot a scene where the camera moves, closes up on a window (or sometimes a wall) and then it passes through it, like it wasn't there at all.

What is the technique they use in these cases?

  • 1
    Lots of different ways. Sometimes they use CGI (Harry Potter) and sometimes they use a steadied camera and pass it from person to person or just have it on a long stick. Don't forget also, that what looks like a solid wall to you is probably a piece of balsa-wood painted to look like stone and can be slid out of the way with incredible ease.
    – user7812
    Dec 18, 2015 at 8:22
  • I think I know what you mean, but it seems @Richard has interpreted your question differently than me. Can you provide a short video clip of the effect you're talking about, for clarity sake?
    – Flimzy
    Dec 18, 2015 at 8:43
  • youtube.com/watch?v=9QKaGawfAjo
    – user7812
    Dec 18, 2015 at 15:22
  • There is a shot in one of the spoof movies where the camera backs away from the scene and breaks down the window and the wall on its way out. My first instinct is Naked Gun, but that does not seem right. Add: In High Anxiety, the camera moves forward towards class doors and breaks them, causing the people in the scene to be startled.
    – Bent
    Aug 16, 2016 at 15:33

5 Answers 5


Its a mix of techniques. Sometimes its done the hard way:

Sometimes its done through creative editing.

That specific effect is done in After Effects. A digital (Fake) window is placed, and AE removes the window when the camera pans in. This video goes into great detail on both the side and front windows, as well the actual editing.

Through Wall transitions do the same, with either a hole through the wall, or a fake wall transition where two videos are spliced together.

  • 3
    I think that first one's fake (the car going by disappears).
    – Walt
    Dec 18, 2015 at 15:35
  • @Walt maybe. youtube.com/watch?v=6trgyflJrS0
    – cde
    Dec 18, 2015 at 15:44
  • Informative video [if slightly snidy ;)]
    – Walt
    Dec 18, 2015 at 16:05
  • What does "Sometimes its done the hard way" mean? The video is dead.
    – Laurel
    Oct 11, 2020 at 23:52
  • @laurel physical effect, they literally shove a camera through a window with no pane or a removable wall.
    – cde
    Oct 12, 2020 at 5:48

They use Editing, simple fade out, fade in technique.

For example, if camera is outside a closed window. It closes up on it and then they cut the shot and resume at exact location inside a room and afterwards they edit transition part with small fade out and fade in.

If you have any video clip of this type, you can clearly see a black screen for some milliseconds. That's fade out.


Lots of ways.

Sometimes they use CGI effects to make it look like there's a window in the way, then "dissolve" it to leave the real shot

Or move the pieces of the window apart once the focus is close enough to no longer perceive the window itself

Or just edit the footage so that it looks like a single shot when it's actually two shots

Editing is key as well as being able to open the glass. I have done a similar shot by marking a path to follow on the ground, I shoot up until I am just about touching the glass and stop, I then open the window or door, back up, follow my path and begin recording once again and push the camera through the opening, once again stopping. Then, go outside the glass if possible, and line up with my marked path and continue out some more. Once in editing I find the proper frames to splice it together. The hardest part is staying on path which is why I like to use painters tape placed on the ground to help me. I have found that placing a small dissolve one that lasts less than a second when the camera "passes through the glass" helps add to the effect.


One clever way, when going from inside to outside, is to hang the window/door on the lens. (On the matte box, actually.) Start close on the body on the ground, with grips holding the weight of the window/door as the camera dollies back and out through the open doorway. As it does, with perfect timing and much rehearsal, the grips guide the door into the doorway. Gimmicks hold it in place as the camera continues to dolly back, now outside the door and building, now with the door no longer hanging off the matte box but now in the doorway.


A simple window pass is to film a zoom as close to the window and then do a screenshot to get a static picture of last frame in video. Put that JPG at the end of video and then do a post edit of the JPG with a zoom in as it zooms and brings the background of outside closer to the front.

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