If I had enough money I’d buy a slow-motion capture camera that shoots video at hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of frames per second. As it is, I don’t have very much money to spend on eye-wateringly expensive photographic gear so I’ll have to make do with other people’s videos instead.
The fascination for slow motion video has a lot to do with the world we can’t see, much like macro and microscopic photography. Events that take place over a fraction of a second can be played back at comfortable speeds, providing an impressive show and a chance for scientific study. Let’s take a look at some of the coolest slo-mo videos on the web!
Werner Mehl’s 1 Million FPS Bullet Impacts
Starting off with a bang, this first video shows a stunning compilation of bullet impacts shot at 1 million frames per second. At this speed it’s possible to see the bullet actually leaving the chamber, and of course the impact shots are nothing short of amazing.
A variety of targets have been used to demonstrate how a fast moving object impacts different materials. These include metal plates at various angles, a mattress and solid blocks of ice (which looks just as awesome as you’d expect).
A Trillion Frames Per Second
Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) developed a camera in late 2011 that is fast enough to view individual streaks of light. The camera can actually pick up individual photons – light particles – travelling through space.
To help you visualize the feat consider that photons travel at roughly one million times the speed of a bullet. This particular video focuses on the scientific side rather than the eye-candy, but it’s still an incredible achievement and the science behind it is fascinating.
Water, Sand & Jumping Off Roofs
Consumer masses, listen up! You too can shoot beautiful slow-motion videos for dramatic effect, and for proof check out the video below which was shot on a Canon 550D. That’s a fairly standard digital SLR with HD video capabilities, but the results below are stunning.
The effects were achieved thanks to some clever post processing in Adobe After Effects. The author used a plugin called Twixtor (which isn’t cheap) which works by artificially inserting extra frames into the video sequence which results in smooth, interpolated slow-motion playback.
6 Minutes of Slow-Motion Destruction
Because no slow-motion video collection is complete without some wanton destruction; here’s 6 minutes of pure awesome. This one’s full of the usuals – broken mugs, a TV screen – as well as some more obscure objects, like light bulbs full of paint.
There’s very little else to say about a selection of everyday items being obliterated at thousands of frames per second. Watch, enjoy.
The Slow Mo Guys
So you’ve got your hands on an ultra slow-motion camera, a keen friend and some spare time – what to do? Start a YouTube channel showcasing as much slow-motion eye-candy as possible of course!
The Slow Mo Guys regularly update their channel with new videos of them messing around at a couple of thousand frames per second. You probably shouldn’t try and replicate these experiments in any form, in fact a health and safety executive could probably write a book about the flagrant disregard these guys have for their safety.
This first video demonstrates the dangers of cooking butane gas on a barbeque. Congratulate yourself if you’re already aware that this is generally a bad idea.
If you’ve ever thrown a disposable lighter against the floor for that unmistakable “pop!” then this next video is for you. With fire.
Finally one of the all-time best things to watch in ultra slow-motion – man getting hit in face with football.
You can watch the Slow Mo Guys tear up various English back gardens over at their YouTube channel.
We Fell In Love So Fast (Coke & Mentos)
This experiment will go down in history as one of the best things to do when you’re a bored teenager, and now you can enjoy the poetry-in-motion that is the Coke and Mentos reaction at 1,000 frames per second.
Watch in awe as the fluid stream of sticky wasp-bait flows silkily out of the bottle. A couple of thousand dollars worth of equipment put to good use, I think you’ll agree.
Ultra slow-motion is still a rather specialist field to get into. While the price of the equipment will decrease as technology improves, the gear still isn’t cheap especially considering its rather limited uses.
Thankfully solutions like Twixtor provide some software respite, but the plugin alone costs over $300 (and that’s before you’ve bought After Effects). If you have any tips for budding slow-motion-ographers, favourite videos or a soft-spot for the hidden world of slo-mo then leave a comment in the box below this article!
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