The Panoramic Camera Mode, commonly shortened to Pan Cam, is an enjoyable feature that Bungie added to Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, and Halo: Reach. It is used by many players as a way to force the camera out of any map while in the Theater, and its use is permitted in screenshots, Film Clips, and other Halo 3 files.
Show Coordinates/Camera Mode
The Show Coordinates mode displays the exact location of the camera, its rotation (in degrees), its speed, and the current camera mode. Coordinates must be shown for Pan Cam to be enabled.
- Start a local Custom Game or a Campaign match. Matches on Xbox LIVE will disable this feature.
- Go to Theater Mode once you are done in your session.
- On default controller settings, press and hold the following buttons at the same time: LB + RB + A + D-Pad UP + LS + RS. On other controller settings, such as Bumper Jumper, do the same sequence with the corresponding buttons. This will toggle Show Coordinates/Camera Mode.
Reading the Coordinates
The coordinates display in a white, sans-serif font, aligned to the upper-left corner of the screen. The coordinates consist of three space-separated numbers, followed by a slash, followed by two more space-separated numbers, another slash, another number, and then either "[normal]" or "[pan-cam]". Here is an example of coordinates that may be shown:
212.377 159.564 137.233 / 91 -1.74 / 1.000 [normal]
The first three numbers show your exact position in the map, relative to its center. The numbers are a three-dimensional coordinate pair. The first two coordinates are your X- and Z-coordinates (lateral position); the third coordinate is your Y-coordinate (vertical position). You can never go farther than ±50000.000 units from any map's center, though no map's playable area ever comes close to that size.
The next two numbers show the camera's angle of rotation. Both values are in degrees. The first value shows your lateral orientation—if it's 0, you're looking east; if it's 90, you're looking north. The second value is your vertical orientation—if it's 0 or 180, the camera is level; if it's 90, the camera is looking straight up; and if it's -90 or 270, the camera is looking straight down.
The third number is the camera's speed, which can only be adjusted while in Pan Cam mode. Following that is the current camera mode.
Uses for Coordinates
Coordinates can be useful when taking aerial photos of a map, to identify which way is north. They can be used to measure distances, as one unit equals to ten feet. By taking note of the coordinates of an area in a Campaign level's cutscenes, it is also possible to "break into" the areas in the cutscenes when using the Pan Cam to glitch the camera outside of the level boundaries (as described below) -- all cutscenes are rendered in real time, so all areas shown in cutscenes have to be hidden somewhere in a level. As an example, the coordinates above are where you can find the Ark as seen from space in the opening cutscene of the level of the same name—it's hidden beneath the level boundaries. Near the start of that same level, you can also find the Shadow of Intent's bridge, hidden behind a cliff face.
Pan Cam is little more than a set of alternate controls. These alternate controls, however, provide a previously hidden function — the ability to change the camera's movement speed, that can be used to force the camera outside of a level's boundaries.
To activate Pan Cam, first turn on Coordinates as described above. Then, press and hold LB + RB + LS + RS + D-Pad LEFT. The "[normal]" at the end of the coordinates should change to read, "[pan-cam]". You can also enable Pan Cam by simply viewing any Film Clip that was saved while in Pan Cam. Pan Cam will remain enabled either until you disable it or until your session ends (you exit or turn off the game).
The controls in Pan Cam are somewhat altered. The bumpers on the controller are now useless; LT is used to descend and RT is used to ascend. The left stick still controls your movement, but it cannot be used to move vertically even if you are looking upward or downward. Up and Down on the D-Pad will increase and decrease your speed. Pausing is still Available using the A button.
Glitching the Pan Cam Outside of a Level's Boundaries
Pan Cam Mode's main use is its ability to glitch the camera out of a level's boundaries in the Theater.
To do this, you must first approach, but not touch, the "target" boundary. At that point, you must raise your speed to an obscenely high value—something around 50,000.000 (fifty thousand) will work, but anything too high can cause problems. Once that's done, either quickly flick the left stick towards the boundary (if it's a wall) or quickly press the appropriate trigger (if it's an invisible floor or ceiling). The result will be that you clip through the wall and over to the other side.
You'll notice, however, that the moment you exit the boundary, the camera will immediately snap back to the player in the film. In order to keep that from happening, you need to watch a film in which the player falls to their death or dies while in Edit Mode, and then pause at the exact moment of their death. Then force the camera out of the level boundaries.
To ensure that you've paused at the right time, "detach" the camera from the player by pressing Y, move the camera away a small distance, and then press Y again; if the HUD appears, but the camera does not move, then you are now free to force the camera outside of the map. Note, though, that sometimes, Y will return the camera to your character, but the camera can still be forced out of the map.
Make sure you reduce your speed before trying to explore outside the map!
Things to Note
There are a number of caveats and issues when working outside of the level boundaries.
- Saving a Film Clip while outside of the level boundaries can be problematic. In particular, the entire camera will become almost irreversibly glitched if you touch the boundaries from the outside.
- In rarer cases, this can happen when approaching the edge of a skybox—for example, the rather massive one surrounding Epitaph. This variation of the problem, however, happens when not saving a Film Clip. It can be reversed by quickly backing away from the skybox before you move too far.
- If, while trying to clip past a boundary, you set the speed to too high of a value, you will become "lost" outside of the level, unable to even see it. If you very carefully watch your coordinates, however, you may be able to make your way back to the level.
- Clipping planes—not to be confused with the act of clipping past a wall—are also problematic. Problems from clipping planes can range from chunks of a skybox not being shown to nothing being visible because you are simply too far away from anything—close enough that you would be able to see it if not for the presence and proximity of the clipping plane. This issue can worsen the next problem.
- The "hall of mirrors effect". In 3D, when part of a screen is "empty"—when nothing, not even a skybox, is rendered on part of a screen—the contents of the previous frame show through on that screen, creating a "hall of mirrors" or "afterimage" effect. Furthermore, in Halo 3, random red and blue patterns tend to appear in such spaces. When taking a screenshot, a solid color (usually sky blue) fills such spaces.
- In Halo 3: ODST, the maximum speed is limited to 10000.00, but it is enough to break all the way out of the level if you struggle enough.
Basic Instructions for Multiplayer Maps
- Enable Coordinates, and then Pan Cam.
- Next, go to Forge on local play, and select any map. Find a simple way to kill yourself—a quick and easy way is to place about five fusion coils around, stand near them, throw a grenade, and then quickly enter Edit Mode right before the whole setup explodes.
- If you're looking for a slightly quicker way, then in the Forge settings, lower Editing Players' damage resistance to 10% and disable their shields. Then, in-game, just toss a grenade without even bothering to place Fusion Coils, and then enter Edit Mode right before it detonates.
- Then end the game, and go straight to Theater. Watch your character until it dies. As soon as your Monitor explodes, pause the Film. Then press Y to "detach" the camera from them. Now, you're free!
Instructions for Campaign Maps
- Enable Coordinates and Pan Cam.
- Find an easy way to kill yourself that will get your body near a level boundary and to a kill barrier—falling off a cliff seems to be the easiest.
- Head to Theater. Watch the Film, and wait until your body dies or leaves the map, e.g. falls through or hits the ground.
- Then pause, and press Y to detach the camera from your character.
- Enjoy exploring the levels!
Note: Not all levels can be used for Pan Cam.
- Pan Cam can be used as a way to find certain Bungie easter eggs placed around the Multiplayer Maps, such as those seen in Sandtrap and Sandbox.
- Another method discovered to exit Multiplayer maps is to kill yourself with the Fusion Coils, watch it, and pause the Film. Then, you may increase your speed to about 100000.000 (one hundred thousand) on the left side of the decimal. Then, lightly push RT all the way down once. This should make you seem to appear above the map. It's better to do this on a normal, unmodified map (besides the Fusion Coils).
- If you watch a Film Clip that has the Pan Camera enabled, then the Pan Cam will automatically enable itself for the remainder of the session.
- If you try to use the above methods to glitch past a wall while your character in the film is still alive, the camera will simply warp back to that character once you bypass the barrier.