Slow motion video production: Budget friendly

I recently got to work on a project that required slow motion video and also needed the use of a steadycam in almost all the shots.
There are quite a few new cameras out there now that are capable of shooting faster than 60P slowmotion video.

Cameras for all budgets

They say the camera doesn’t make the movie-but for slow-motion it does, you can’t just shoot slow motion footage on any camera.

For those ultimate budget projects there is the GoPro HERO 3 Black Edition– capable of  shooting 120FPS in 720P.
It comes in at just under $400 new and is a very versatile camera with lots of good features.
This camera wasn’t an option for me as I required full 1080P video recording and less compressed image with the ability to change lenses for different focal lengths.

What I ended up going for was the Sony FS700. An expensive camera for the semi-pro market for just over $8000.
Now I didn’t buy it i rented it along with a full steadycam and DIY follow focus rig. See how I “built” it here.
It’s capable of recording full resolution at up to 240fps. And a max rate of  960fps! The latter at reduced resolution.

If you need more control and want to own a high speed camera but don’t want to spend all the bucks then Casio makes a camera capable of 1080 60p video and up to 300 fps at 512 x 384 resolution. It may not be the best resolution, but it works for those super slow-motion shots. See the Casio EX-F1 here.

Shooting Tips

  • Shooting slowmotion means your impression of time as it is will be wrong in comparison to the final product. If you are shooting at 240fps you need to remember that one second irl(in real life) is the same as 10 on screen.

My biggest tip to you is plan your shots carefully and take into account the final rate of the video- you don’t want to shoot 6 seconds of irl footage and forget that the final clip will be one minute long and therefore have to cut 60% of the action.

  • You can often get away with shooting handheld when you shoot slow motion. I may have used a steadycam, but handheld will work fine often as the slowed down frame-rate slows down any movement as well and makes it appear more fluid.

Don’t you have a slow motion camera?

If you don’t have the budget or access to such cameras then the solution could be to use Twixtor- a plugin for editing softwares such as final cut or adobe premiere that can frame interpolate.

Frame interpolation is a software slow motion simulation technique that samples the frame before and after to create a ghost frame inbedtween, effectively increasing the amount of frames available for slowing down the video.

Drawbacks:
It doesn’t work with images that have a lot of fine detail and will often cause artifact distortion.
It requires a “clean image” meaning the subject has to be outlined against a clean or solid background for the effect to work best.

See the video under- which i shot using a Canon 550D where i deliberately used the clear sky as a background to minimize the artifacts/ghosting you sometimes can see if you look closely.

Tips and tricks for best Twixtor results

  • Use the highest framerate available on your camera. Preferably 60fps. Something most DSLRs can do in 720p HD mode.
  • Clear backgrounds as described above.
  • Make sure your focus is spot on. Defocused material doesn’t twixtor well.

Have you made any slow motion videos?
Feel free to share in the comments below and post a link if you want.

As always. If you have any questions feel free to comment below or send me a PM via the contact me page.

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