March 10, 2015

Slow Motion Video 101: How to Set It, Light It, & Shoot It

Slow motion videos can be absolutely mesmerizing, but there's a lot more to shooting one than just setting a higher frame rate.

If you're interested in learning more about how to shoot high speed video, The Slanted Lens provides this excellent video that breaks down the concepts and settings needed to capture one correctly. 

Even if you're unable to use the Phantom Miro LC320S camera like they used in the video, the concepts from the video still apply: Make sure that your shutter speed is set at twice what your frame rate is -- the higher you set your frame rate (and shutter speed), the more light you're going to need. So, before you go out and shoot a slow motion video, make sure that you have not only sufficient equipment to light your shot, but sufficient knowledge on how to correctly expose it. (The Slanted Lens provides some graphics with easy-to-follow equations for this on their site.)

Do you have any tips on shooting high speed video? What are some issues you ran into the first time you shot one? Let us know in the comments below!     

Your Comment

10 Comments

There's a few tips on the blog I wrote about the shooting of a 3D short at 750 - 1,000fps: http://bit.ly/LaterWPBlog

March 10, 2015 at 7:22PM

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Karel Bata
Director / DP / Stereographer
467

In my short experience with high speed cameras, i've learned to always work with at least 10K Lamps. This way you are flicker free.

March 12, 2015 at 12:34PM

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David Marques
Director of Photography
74

Most folks don't have access to 10k lamps. We used 3 x 5k running off the three phases. More info on my blog (linked to in my post above).

June 7, 2015 at 1:32PM

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Karel Bata
Director / DP / Stereographer
467

Some mention of the type of light needed to do slow motion would have been appropriate.
Non-flickering sources are necessary for high speed photography to avoid a flickering slow motion video.

Many people are unaware that the most commonly used light source, tungsten, when powered by alternating current, AC, (the kind that comes out of your wall) actually flickers. 50 times a second in Europe and 60 times a second in the US. Undetectable to the human eye, this will become very evident when shooting at a high frame rates.

In my experience shooting on a Sony F5 at 180FPS (and most other rates up to that), any tungsten lamp below 2K will flicker and even some 2K's may flicker. The explanation for the flickerless appearance of 2K lamps and larger is, the tungsten elements in the larger lamps don't cool as quickly between the 50 or 60 electrical pulses (cycles) as the smaller lamps.

Supposedly, HMI doesn't flicker but, I've had it happen, even when the no flicker switch was set to 'on'.

I haven't used it but, evidently, lighting powered by direct current (DC) won't flicker. But, this usually requires a DC generator.

The point may be moot if you're getting into Phantom frame rate territory as, these speeds will definitely call for some very powerful light.

If you can shoot your slomo in daylight, this won't be a problem. The sun doesn't flicker.

March 11, 2015 at 10:40AM

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Richard Krall
richardkrall.com
1629

Great insight, thanks for sharing!

March 11, 2015 at 10:31PM, Edited March 11, 10:31PM

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Steve-O
Director of Photography
139

You should be doing blogs bro. Excellent, precise, to the point.

April 28, 2015 at 7:01PM

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WILLIAM X LEE
President CEO Cinema Lexzikon productions LLC
81

I thought this was a much better example and walk through of slow mo and lighting it.

http://www.provideocoalition.com/1000fps_on_a_budget/page-1

March 11, 2015 at 11:56AM

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Torben Greve
Cinematographer
872

Here are some video's showing the flickering of different types of lighting in slowmotion:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfAxKSTm688

A series with 1 light each:
Kino flo at 400fps:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8MAMKEo77M

LED at 400fp:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFV2sY_XqwI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCRAj-vLVSw

5kW Tungsten at 400 fps
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vlo5ApmkepU

1.2k HMI at 400 fps:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UX__mn9jjVo

March 11, 2015 at 12:30PM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9004

When they say "basics", they really mean it... And to be frank, to a slow motion newcomer I think this is too shallow a demonstration. Feels more like a marketing move than a truly educational video.

March 19, 2015 at 6:21AM

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Raph Dae
Screenwriter & attempted director
625

saved.

October 30, 2016 at 11:06PM

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Ryan Duke
231