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How To Film a Slow Motion Video

Liza Brown
Liza Brown Originally published Nov 11, 22, updated Dec 06, 22

Scenes that might otherwise be monotonous can be made more interesting by the use of slow-motion photography in movies and television shows. For instance, a battle sequence between two characters can be portrayed in its entirety, but if it is later replayed in slow motion, the intensity of the action is amplified significantly.

Let’s dive in!

In this article
  1. What is slow motion?
  2. Understanding frame rates
  3. Post processing
  4. Lighting
  5. Why use slow motion?

1. What is slow motion?

Filmmakers use the slow-motion effect to create the illusion that the passage of time has been slowed down on the screen. In the early 20th century, an Austrian priest named August Musger was the one who came up with the idea. Playing normally recorded material at a slower pace is another method for creating the illusion of slow motion.

When a film is recorded at 25 frames per second, but played back at 24 frames per second, it will seem as if it is being shown in slow motion because all of the movements will be slightly slower than when they were actually performed. This is because the film was recorded at 25 frames per second, but the playback was done at 24 frames per second.

Because there are not enough frames to show all of the details of each frame when a 24-frame animation is played at a 25-frame rate (or a 30-frame animation at a 32-frame rate), certain frames have to be repeated (every 5th one in this case). When there is a dramatic event taking place, this manipulation of the film speed makes the action on screen appear even more dramatic or "tensioned."

what is a slow motion video

2. Understanding frame rates

When filming video, there are a set number of frames per second that you can choose from. One picture is all you get when you take a still photograph. Click. That is only one example. A frame is the name of that picture. With video, however, you take 30 or 24 images per second, which you then combine. You now have footage.

The video is a combination of tens of thousands of frames or images that are flashing before your eyes. With a normal frame rate of 24 frames per second, you are essentially taking 24 pictures per second and stitching them together to create video. When you stretch it out in post for slow motion, you double or triple the frame rate, which results in more images per second and eliminates empty gaps and jarring actions.

This is how video that has been sped up for slow motion may still preserve its quality. But you can't just choose a frame rate based on taste. Frame rates vary depending on the different types of emotions. 60 fps will do if the video is a slo-mo of a person's emotion. However, if your shot contains a lot of movement and you want to show it, such as when automobiles collide or explode, you may require a higher frame rate, such as 120 fps.

understand frame rates

3. Post processing

This is when it gets a bit complicated. Some cameras come equipped with a slow-motion feature. To capture the video in slow motion at a higher frame rate, go to your settings. You might not have this built-in slow-motion feature in other models.

Therefore, even though the footage was taken at a higher frame rate, the camera is playing the movie back at the same pace it was shot at, so when you shoot at a higher frame rate, you end up with footage of a normal speed. There is a solution to that. The footage's speed can be adjusted during post-production.

The 24/30 fps editing timelines are pre-set. The majority of the video you capture at this frame rate plays back just nicely on this timeline. You must stretch out video that was shot at a higher frame rate to match this timeline, though. That effectively doubles or triples the length of a video, depending on the multiple of the timeline's typical frame rate.

post processing filmora

4. Lighting

While watching TV or movies, you might have observed anything. The majority of the extremely slow photos happen in broad daylight. Not after dark or in dimly lit areas. The reason for this is that sufficient lighting is required in order to capture motion. Lighting becomes crucial as your frame rate exceeds 300 frames per second. Therefore, if you must take these pictures, you must do so in a studio environment with lots of artificial lighting.

To create that cinematic magic, you can use high CRI lighting. On the screen, a flickering light may spell doom. Flickering lights have the potential to damage slow-motion film even though they would be OK for any other scene. Because there is no risk of voltage fluctuation, LED lights are a safe bet. The reason for this is that some models do not require an electrical outlet to function. Prior to departure, make sure you have checked each and every light.

If you are filming during the day and you point your camera toward the sun, you may end up with a significant amount of glare that cannot be hidden up in the post-production stage nor can it be ignored. This is not merely a problem that occurs throughout the daytime. Flares can also be obtained from moving vehicles and various other sources of light. If you use a flat lens when you're out at night, you can eliminate the risk of something like that happening.

choose light for slow motion video

5. Why use slow motion?

When you first begin working with slow-motion video, you need to ask yourself, "What exactly is the purpose behind me choosing this effect?" Once you have an answer to that question, you may move on to the next step.

In most cases, there are often two primary causes for it.

1. It makes sense to present emotions on the screen for a longer period of time in order for the audience to be able to absorb and comprehend it in its whole if they are shown for a longer period of time since moments that are packed with emotions seem to endure longer than ordinary ones.

2. The second strategy is to draw attention to striking visuals that you might have overlooked in other circumstances and that contribute significantly to the aesthetic value of your setting. A flutter of the eyelid, a butterfly stretching its wings, rains falling on a flower petal, shards of fire breaking free, etc. are all examples of how quickly things may happen. You need to have a good reason for using slow motion, and you shouldn't abuse the effect too much too. You should only do so at those moments where it makes logical sense to do so.

draw attention with slow motion video

Subconscious slow-motion. Overusing or misusing a function ruins its appeal. Filming isn't an exact science, but it does nothing unnecessary. For a cinematic effect, slow-motion should be introduced carefully.

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Liza Brown
Liza Brown Dec 06, 22
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