Take a gander at this video full of the incredible super slow motion footage. It was produced and released by Footage Firm, a royalty free video clip supplier I enjoy using.
Slow motions shots can grab a viewer’s attention in a way standard video can not. Slow motion is a great effect that can be used creatively in multiple ways. Problem is, high-quality slow mo is NOT that easy to get. That’s why buying royalty free stuff is such a great deal for the small budget videomaker such as myself.
Footage Firm used the incredible Phantom HD Gold, a high-end video camera so sophisticated and expensive there are only 150 in the world! It costs about $150,000. Needless to say, getting the slow-mo footage from Footage firm is quite a bargain compared to that!
Getting a good slow motion shot takes sophisticated equipment plus really good lighting. If you’re trying to shoot slow-mo on your own, you don’t necessarily need something as high-end as the Phantom Gold, but don’t bother wasting your time trying to get good slow mo with your basic cheap model camcorder. It won’t happen. Here is why.
Standard video records at 30 frames per second. Standard motion picture film records at 24 frames per second. Virtually everything that moves goes WAAAAY too fast for that. If you look at standard 30-frame-per-second video of a moving object, each individual frame will look blurry. There is no way to get rid of this blur once it has been recorded. Especially in a lower light situation, a standard model camcorder will record blurry individual frames of anything moving . It looks OK played back at regular speed, but if you slow it down the blur becomes real obvious and even overwhelming.
To get great slow motion video, you have to record at a rate MUCH faster than 30-frames-per-second. Inexpensive camcorders simply will not do this, more expensive ones will.
The Phantom HD Gold is the best of the best. They tout it as “not just a high-speed camera.” The sales literature describes it as, “an instrument that gives the cinematographer 35mm depth of field either at HD or 2K resolutions with stunning results. The Phantom HD GOLD combines the visual quality of high-definition imaging with the high frame rates of specialty cameras.
This kind of camera is meant for high-budget productions. Videos like TV commercials, music videos, or motion pictures. Let Footage Firm spend the money on this camera, you can just buy their video clips.
The Phantom HD GOLD allows you to select any frame rate from 1 to 1,000 fps in increments of one frame-per-second at HD resolution. Shift the frame rate a little and move the scene to a slightly future viewpoint.
Shift the frame rate a lot and move the scene to some long passing moment in time. With the Phantom HD GOLD camera’s shutter, variable to 1/500,000 second, and radically adjustable framing rates, you have seamless control of the duration, speed and time of a story element.
Short of using a camera like the Phantom Gold, most video cameras in the $1,000 and up range do allow you to vary the shutter speed. Make sure and shoot with PLENTY OF LIGHT. You need more light with a fast shutter.
To get exceptionally good slow-mo, recording at 1,000 frames a second or even higher is recommended. How high can you go?
The high-speed photography pioneer Harold Edgerton of M.I.T. shot his famous pictures at speeds of up to several million frames a second. He used the highest speeds for his atomic bomb shots. Other shots like this bullet-through-the-apple below were done at a mere hundred thousand frames per second.
You can get reasonable quality slow-mo without going to those extremes. If you record at 1,000 frames a second and then play it back at the standard film rate of 24 frames per second, or video rate of 30fps, you get a fantastic looking slow motion effect. Each frame is crisp and clean with little blur, unless your subject is moving AWFULLY FAST.
On all the video cameras I have ever used, controlling the shutter was a simple matter of flipping a switch. These cameras allowed you to set the shutter at any one of about ten different speeds, up to a pace of 5,000 times per second. These were $10,000 dollar or higher video cameras.
As technology improves, this feature is coming to less expensive cameras. The Casio Ex-F1, retailing for just $1,000, was touted as the “world’s fastest camera.” They, of course, mean for the price range. It was actually a digital still camera that shoots video. You can check out the quality by watching the goose video below. Obviously not as good at the Pahantom gold, but it’s $149,000 cheaper too!
For still shots, the EX-F1 records 60 frames a second. When shooting video, you can set it to 300, 600, or 1,200 frames per second. For the price, this is a remarkable achievement. You will get smooth slow-mo video of most moving objects at these speeds.
Of course for the absolute EASIEST and LEAST EXPENSIVE way to get high quality slow motion footage is to order it from Footage Firm. They have glass breaking explosions, water dripping, and other liquids, like paint splattering. It’s fantastic video.
Thanks for reading Video Production Tips.
Internet Video Gal