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Whip Pan

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The Whip Pan is the act of panning the camera very rapidly from one subject to another, frequently blurring the image in between the subjects.

Used frequently in the more frenetic class of cartoon, in which it is exclusively referred to as "zip pan." Bonus points if it's accompanied by a "whoosh" sound effect or even an actual whip crack.

Used occasionally in live-action media to disguise a cut. This can be used to maintain the illusion of The Oner, or occasionally to make two scenes shot in completely different places seem like they're both in one setting.

Not to be confused with the Frying Pan of Doom.


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    Anime and Manga 

    Films — Animation 
  • In Turning Red, this is used repeatedly as various characters give their opinion of Mei.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Citizen Kane - Uses an artificial whip pan in the breakfast table montage showing the deterioration of Kane's first marriage. They are not true whip pans because the camera does not actually pan to or from the subject; instead, cross-dissolves and super-impositions are used to simulate whip pans.
  • Whip pans are famously used in Some Like It Hot to transition from Curtis and Monroe kissing on the yacht to Lemmon and Brown dancing in the ballroom.
  • Wanted makes liberal use of these. The target. Whipshot that lasts thirty seconds and takes a circuitous route back to the person with the gun.
  • The "disguising a cut" variant is used to great effect in Joss Whedon's movie Serenity, where two long shots were connected by a whip pan to make the scene look like The Oner.
  • The movie $la$her$ disguised all cuts with pans, often whip pans to keep the pace of the action. Cuts were done when no actors were in the camera, maintaining the illusion that the entire movie was a single shot done by a single cameraman present in the scene.
  • Used frequently and hilariously in Hot Fuzz, accompanied by a whooshing sound.
    • Also used sometimes in Spaced. And pretty much any Edgar Wright project, really.
  • Used quite a few times at the beginning of the movie Snake Eyes, in order to join up separate shots to make the first 12 minutes of the film look like one continuous take when it really wasn't.
  • Spider-Man Trilogy: The Spider-Sense is portrayed via a long Whip Pan from Spidey to the dangerous object, with a sound effect to indicate it.
  • It's used to great effect in the trailer for Magnolia.
  • Robert Rodriguez used whip pans at least once to disguise a cut. Salma Hayek was unable to film with the rest of the cast for some reason, so in one scene, they whip pan back and forth between Salma and a few mooks standing in opposite ends of a room. Of course, each side of the room is a completely different set shot at completely different times.
  • Used in one scene of A Page of Madness, a film set in an insane asylum, to rapidly pan around to various insane inmates doing their crazy things. The speed of the cutting increases until the camera is left simply spinning for a little bit, to symbolize confusion.
  • In Midnight Mary, William A. Wellman uses them to give small details about Mary's tough life. It's used very well and gives a modern feel the film when pre-code's generally had pacing issues.
  • Experimental film Dog Star Man has many of these, many sequences of the camera constantly whipping around. It's part of the whole movie's motif, which includes many out-of-focus shots and superimpositions, telling a deliberately Mind Screw story about a man struggling to chop down a tree that seems to also be an allegory about existence.
  • When Taekwondo Strikes uses this to transition from Li realizing Mary has suddenly gone missing to Mary at the Bansan Karate School, trying to negotiate Louis' release.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Used on That '70s Show when the characters have been smoking marijuana and talking to each other. (Supposedly around the bong.)
  • Used frequently on NYPD Blue.
  • They are all over Scrubs.
  • Standard scene-change method in Malcolm in the Middle, with whoosh.
  • Used most of the time on Lizzie McGuire as a transition to Animated Lizzie's comments.
  • Scene-change method in the first season Zoey 101.
  • Used on Corner Gas when it shows what someone's thinking.
  • Signifies a flashback on How I Met Your Mother.
  • This effect was used countless times on The Twilight Zone (1959) when Rod Serling shows up to introduce the story.
  • 30 Rock used them to cut to "flashbacks" during its Live Episode.
  • Glee uses this for cuts.
  • Spaced often used it, especially when transitioning to a Cutaway Gag.
  • 10 O'Clock Live uses this every time they transition between different parts of the set. Odd as it's a live show and so it isn't really necessary but it presumably makes it easier to put out out clips of the show to post online.

    Video Games 
  • The Ace Attorney games will often whip pan between the defense and prosecution, most often at the beginning of trials. This also happens between an attorney and the witness in the middle; when panning from one attorney to the other, the witness is not shown (possibly due to graphical limitations on creating a blur effect).

    Web Comics 
  • A similar blurring effect was used in the Narbonic story arc, "Dave Davenport Has Come Unstuck in Time" to show jumps between different points in Dave's life. Especially seen in the last week of strips, when things are about to collapse.

    Western Animation 
  • The standard for Get Ace, complete with a little whoosh, though it's occasionally replaced with something more creative.
  • Total Drama often does this when two people in the confessional are talking about each other.
    Gwen: (In confessional) Cody's like a little brother. An annoying little brother.
    (whip pan to Cody playing Air Guitar in confessional)
    • Also done several times during "Haute Camp-ture".
      Courtney: Who would I vote for? ... I can't believe I'm saying this but... Duncan. Don't tell anyone!
      (camera zooms out to reveal fellow campers standing around her)
      Beth: Oh, we already know. You were aaaall over him.
      (whip pan to Noah sitting by the pool)
      Noah: My golden lab drools less over a rib-eye steak.
  • The Simpsons uses this in the opening.

    Real Life 
  • We all experience a first-person view of this effect every time we focus our eyes from one object to another, complete with the blurring of vision mid-movement, thanks to saccadic masking. The brain cannot process images fully unless the subject consciously focuses on what's being looked at, so it doesn't bother midway. Thus, the blurring effect translates as such to the cinematic whip pan.