WATCH: How To Make Slo-Mo Mean Something

If you're using slow-motion sequences in your latest project, you better make sure they're not just some gimmick. 

Consider yourself a filmmaker? Congratulations, you're also a wizard. That's because filmmaking is a sort of sorcery, one in which you have control over every aspect of the universe: light, sound, and even time.  As video essayist Julian Palmer puts it in his piece The Art of Slow Motion, "We [members of the human race] have no control of time, unless, of course you're a filmmaker."

Slow motion is one of those techniques that we see pop up time and time again throughout films of any genre, but if you've decided to use time as a tool in one of your films, make sure it's backed with at least one of the motivations that Palmer runs through in this video. While it's often heavily featured in action and sci-fi films in order to aestheticize violence or make scenes more operatic, the manipulation of time can also provide the audience with subtle hints at character and the importance of specific moments within the structure of your plot.

It looks cool and can be a great visual tool, but as Jean-Luc Godard infers in an interview detailing his film Every Man for Himself (Slow Motion), the real advantage of slow-mo is the ability to show certain things to your audience that cannot be seen at regular speed.     

Your Comment


Oh my god, I love De Niro so much. Sorry for offtopic, I didn't know those techniques!

June 8, 2016 at 11:07AM


Thanks for this lesson.

June 9, 2016 at 1:07AM

Sameir Ali
Director of Photography