Michael Bay has made extensive use (some sites assert he has used it in "all of his movies") of a shot called by many the "Michael Bay Spin". Here's what it looks like:

I first saw this in 1990 in Mel Gibson's Hamlet and it was very impressive (at least to me) at that time. Here's the shot from Hamlet:

At least for Hamlet, the shot was made by building a circular track around the area where Gibson and Bonham Carter are moving. So it's a tracking shot with an unusual track shape.

I can't figure out who was the first director to use this kind of shot. Are there examples of this prior to 1990?

Related: What is this camera effect used in Hot Fuzz?

  • I have found a description of a "circular tracking shot" in The Spy Who Came In From The Cold (1965), but no video of the shot, yet. Commented May 25, 2016 at 17:03
  • Gibson was a terrible hamlet. Yuck.
    – userLTK
    Commented May 25, 2016 at 17:19
  • Apparently there's a circular shot in Vertigo, but it was actually done with a giant turntable and rear projection screen. Again, I haven't found video of the shot yet - partly because there is not a video game called "Vertigo" and also there's a more famous technique from Vertigo that is usually called "the Vertigo shot". If we count the turntable technique as being the same shot, it wouldn't surprise me if this was invented specifically for Vertigo, making this the answer to my question. Commented May 25, 2016 at 17:33
  • 1
    The Vertigo shot can be found here youtube.com/…
    – Kyle Hale
    Commented May 25, 2016 at 21:14
  • I would argue that these are different shots. It seems to me that an intrinsic quality of the Bay Spin shot is vertical movement as well, which there is very little of in these examples.
    – Édouard
    Commented May 26, 2016 at 13:16

1 Answer 1


You're talking about a Circular Dolly Shot. This was first used in Alfred Hitchkock's The Paradine Case in 1941, although it was more of a Crab Dolly shot.

  • Is that movie actually from 1947? A crab dolly has wheels and doesn't run on a track? I tried to find footage of the shot but I haven't found it yet. Commented May 25, 2016 at 21:17
  • A crab dolly is more like a cart. No track. You just push the cart wherever you want to go. Commented May 26, 2016 at 2:31
  • Yeah, it's 1947. Musta had a brain fart. I was going to suggest Vertigo but since the camera didn't actually move I didn't think that was what you were looking for. Commented May 26, 2016 at 12:54

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