Tips for Shooting Slow Motion
The technology in professional video cameras have come a long way since the days of the days of tape . Our trusty Sony PMW-FS5 is capable of shooting 240 frames per second at 2K resolution when paired with an external recorder, something that 10 years ago would be unimaginable in anything but the most high-end cinema cameras. It can open up a whole range of possibilities when it comes to shooting stunning product shots, or capturing the smallest details in dramatic slow motion. We’ve compiled a few tips for shooting beautiful slow motion.
Light it Up
The slower you want your slow motion to be, the more light you will need. Let’s say your standard is the 24 frames per second used by film cameras. At 240 frames per second, of which the FS5 is capable, you will need 10 times as much light to get the same exposure as real time. So if you plan on shooting indoors, you will need a controlled environment with plenty of lights just to get a correct exposure. You may also experience some pulsing effects if you are using fluorescent lights as a source as the refresh rate of fluorescents is 50hz, invisible to the human eye but will be picked up by a high frame rate. Shooting outdoors in sunlight should give you enough light to shoot 120fps at least, but be wary of changes in light conditions and clouds darkening the image.
Pick a Fast Lens
Another tip that will make it easier to get enough light onto your sensor is by using a fast prime lens. Our .95 50mm lens is perfect for low light applications as it is a versatile focal length as well as being extremely fast. It does come with some drawbacks as shooting with such a wide aperture will mean that is can be very difficult to keep things in focus, so if you’re shooting something like sports, the best option is to sacrifice some light and shoot at f4, and up the ISO to compensate. This will result in some more visible grain, so if possible run some tests before the shoot to get your settings right for the conditions.
Steady and Stable
Because every moment will be stretched out by up to 10 times, movement in real time can might not be obvious when the shot is slowed down. For shorter shots it’s not always necessary to use a tripod, but for longer slow motion shots we recommend it for the best final product. If you are shooting at says, 60fps, or 100fps, shooting handheld can provide a dreamy, natural feel, especially when paired with some movement and tracking the subject. Using a stabiliser like the DJI-Ronin can also create a beautiful floating look that is ideal for dramatic tracking shots.
Choose Your Frame Rate to Match the Motion
How slow should we go? If you’re looking to capture something like a starters pistol going off, the slower the better. Capturing things that are moving fast already will benefit from the slower movement. However, you should take into consideration the end result of the shot. Is it just a small part of a finished product? If so then you don’t want to shoot 240fps for some B-roll of someone walking. You will fill up your storage media quickly and the extra slow speed won’t add anything apart from time. Many shots will benefit from just a slight change to 50 or 60fps as it can provide good B-roll and a can really emphasise the importance of a shot.
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