When you need extreme slow motion, Vision Research is still the name most trust. The Phantom Miro line is a new compact version of their camera system, and there's even a contest going right now to win your very own worth tens of thousands of dollars (though applications have closed). Fiction, a visual agency specializing in original content, took the Phantom Miro M320S for a spin with the famous watermelon-smashing comedian Gallagher, and documented the entire process. Here is the final product:
A test video of the process:
Here is a little bit about the setup:
One of the things about shooting high-speed is you need lots of light and not just any kind of light. You need either LED Lights or Large Bulb lights so the element doesn't flicker between alternating currents. We ended up lighting the set with two 5K lights in the back corners and two 2K lights in the front corners. This way, we created enough light to have Gallagher either smash facing us or from the side. We set everything up and still could only get a 2.8 on lens, so our DP made the call and brought in two 10k's to add to the package. We switched the 10k's with the 5k's and moved the 5k's around to the front with the 2k's. That got us up to a 5.6, which was the minimum we wanted to get up to in order to get the particles in focus as they were flying at the camera. Renting large format lights like that requires a generator or a studio that is production ready. A good gaffer is key here.
The entire process is documented over at Fiction's blog, and it's fascinating to see the process and the work that goes into shooting high-speed. The new Miro LC320S has quite a few more features than the M320S, and contains an on-board monitor and full controls. Both cameras aren't cheap rentals, but needing more than 1,000 frames per second is usually a rare occurrence anyway. Check out the rest of the process using the link below, and thanks to Dylon York from Fiction for sending it our way.