February 14, 2018

Practical Effects You Can Use to Make Slow Motion Look Sexier

Contrary to popular belief, it's possible to shoot super boring slow motion.

Slow motion is all the rage, right? Everybody and their third-grade teacher is doing it. But while there is plenty of transcendent, creative, unique high-speed footage out there, there is plenty of boring, totally drab, and uninteresting footage out there, as well. So, what gives? How can we turn a run-of-the-mill slow motion sequence into something that is not only more dynamic and compelling but also takes advantage of the effect? In this video, Zach Ramelan of PremiumBeat shows you a few great practical effects you can implement the next time you're itching to crank up your frame rate.

I refuse to believe that "everything looks better in slow-mo." No, the best slow-mo shots I've seen aren't just beautiful and elegant but they also really leverage the distortion of time of the high-speed effect. In other words, super fast things in slow motion are amazing. Now, this doesn't mean that you have to get yourself a Phantom Flex and record a flamethrower melting an ice sculpture of a leviathan—although, if you did, please send me the link so I can spend hours weeping with joy alone in my office—it just means use whatever you're working with, be it 60 fps or 120 fps, to emphasize the time distortion.

Ramelan suggests using the following materials to create interesting practical effects, namely because they're slow enough to exhibit a good distortion of time using the high-speed settings of most DSLRs and fast enough to look good when slowed down.

  • Powder: If you're shooting a sports ad or something, you gotta have baby powder on hand. 
  • Fabric:  Whether it's a dress, curtains, or some streamers, fabric and loose materials look amazing when waved around during a slow-mo shot.
  • Paper: It's heavy, but catches air really well. Basically, it's perfect for high-speed.
  • Liquids: Things like water, coffee, and liquor look great in slow motion. Any liquid really. However, liquids shot at 60 fps, or even 120 fps, don't look all that different than liquid shot at 24 fps (in my opinion), because, again, the time distortion isn't very apparent. You might want to try getting extreme close-ups instead of medium shots (droplets, etc.) to make your shot look more abstract and interesting.

What are some other practical effects filmmakers should use during high-speed shoots? Let us know down below.     

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