Basics of Shooting Slow Motion Video

Basics of Shooting Slow Motion Video

The Slanted Lens is back at the YouTube Space shooting with their high-speed Phantom camera. We are going to take a look at the basics of slow motion video, and then try out using the Phantom camera – which is anything but the basics.

Slow motion video is easier to understand when we relate it to frame rate (fps), or the number of still images that create one second of video. Sorry to my European visitors but I am using the US standard of 24fps today. On a normal clip of video shot at 24fps, the camera strings together 24 individual frames to create the illusion of motion. When we watch playback, we see 24 frames for each second of time in the video. This is called real time. If I were to change the camera settings to 60fps, it would capture 60 frames for each second of video. When I put the 60fps video clip onto the timeline that is set to playback at 24fps, that one-second video now takes 2.4 seconds to play. If I were to take the original, one-second 24fps clip and slow it down to 2.4 seconds, the movement would be blurred since there is not enough data to fill the gaps between each image.

Converting 60fps to 24fps will slow down a person walking through a frame, but would not be enough to show something that is extremely quick. In order to slow down a clip of me smashing a camera with a sledge hammer, for example, we will need a much higher frame rate. This is where the Phantom comes into play. The Phantom Miro LC320S we will be using today boasts an impressive 1540fps while shooting at 1080p.

We will be shooting at 1000fps for our camera smash and therefore the shutter speed will be 1/2000sec. Remember that the shutter speed should be twice the frame rate. The Phantom does not measure the shutter in fractions of a second but rather at angles. At 180°, we know that the shutter will give us the equivalent of twice the frame rate so this is what we will use. The aperture will be f4.0.

We will need a lot of light so let’s take a look at our setup. We used two 2Ks as rims from both sides of camera, a 1K on camera left with a layer of diffusion, and two reflectors in front of the product. The reflectors will bounce a fill light back into the product and also block the 2Ks from flaring in the lens of the camera I am shooting with.

Now it is time to smash some cameras. I hope this helps you understand how slow motion video works and if you already knew that, then I hope you liked the videos we got. Stay tuned to the very end of the video to see the water balloon that didn’t break. Keep those cameras rollin’ and keep on clickin’.


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