I want to achieve a panning shot, but I can't move my camera. The camera is stationary for reasons outside of the scope of this question.

Can I throw on a fisheye lense, film in 4K, and then process it to appear as if I'm panning the camera from 1 corner of the frame in the original footage to the other side of the frame? I don't think this is the same as 4K live cropping, as I imagine I would need to do some processing to invert the barrel effect.

Does this make sense mathematically? Will the result look any good, or will it be "obviously wrong"? What is the best way to get a good result?

  • 1
    Panning means rotating the camera on a tripod. The fake panning you want to do will look more like trucking. The look is different as you won't get the angular movement.
    – Rusty Core
    Jun 26, 2019 at 23:53

2 Answers 2


Yes, you can do this successfully. I did it with an overhead 4K action camera with a fixed fisheye lens (YouTube video here).

You'll want to remove the distortion in software to "square it up". Then you have some room to zoom in and pan. However, you effectively lose some resolution with the lens correction. You can only zoom in so far before it's noticeable. Obviously it's not as crisp as nice 1080 video, but it may be perfectly fine depending on your requirements.

  • Thanks for the share (great video btw!) and quick response. Helpful, but this is only part what I need, however. Whereas your video is a slow pan as if it were on a dolly, the result I'm looking for will be a fast pan as if handheld. I'm worried that the perspective will look off and this will be obvious on a faster pan. Thoughts?
    – Anson Kao
    Jun 24, 2019 at 21:31
  • 1
    This one pans farther and faster: youtube.com/watch?v=-QKJ7xHPkYY. You can add some camera shake to make it look handheld. Jun 24, 2019 at 21:52

Without adjusting for perspective distortion, the panning doesn't look real.

The solution is a reframing algorithm that takes perspective distortions= calculations into account in addition to panning and/or scaling the shot. Here is one such solution:


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