In the movie titled 'Inside Out', one character (the manager of dream film) says, 'pan away' to change the direction of the camera.

I googled the phrase 'pan away' but didn't get any useful result.

What does 'pan away' mean?

How can I use it in the colloquial conversations?


2 Answers 2


In panning the film or video camera stays at a fixed place and rotates on the vertical axis to reveal what is happening to the left or right of the original subject. Pan away typically means to pan so far to the left or right that the original subject is no longer visible.

The pan may be combined with vertical or horizontal movement of the camera itself.

In computer graphics the term pan is used somewhat differently, for scrolling an image wider than the display to the left or right, or for a point-of-view that moves to the left or right parallel to the picture plane while remaining pointed perpendicular to it.


The phrase "pan" (verb) comes from "panorama." The panorama is the field of vision of the camera.

In common usage, panning means "point the camera in a different direction," along with some directional qualifier, e.g. left, right, up, down.

If someone says "pan away" they're saying that they want whatever the camera was pointing at (say, an actor) to go out of frame. It would normally have a new "destination" described, or a direction: "pan away to the sunset on the far hills"..."pan away left" etc.

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