At Clay Animation we use a wheel to simulate thrilling tracking shots. When we watch the images it seems the camera follows the skateboard at full speed, but actually the camera and the characters are fixed, what moves is the ground.
The trick is that the ground is not flat, but curved. In fact it’s a large cylinder which revolves and that we decorate as if it were a path in a park with benches, fountains, bins or whatever we want to put there
In each frame, the animator makes the wheel move forward or backwards by a few millimetres, depending on whether the character comes towards the camera or away from it. When the wheel has completed a full turn, the road remains the same but we change the decoration so that it doesn’t seem to be the same: where there was a bench before, there is now a fountain or bushes or anything else we think of.
Best of all, the shot can be as long as we want, because the road… never ends!