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

slow motion

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

fs5

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.

If you’re looking to shoot beautiful looking shots for your project, get in touch with us here.

Melbourne Cameraman: Deakin Waurn Ponds


Our latest assignment was for Washington based media company Websedge. We’ve done a few jobs for Websedge before and as usual, we were to be conducting interviews and shooting b-roll. This piece would eventually end up as an international conference video.

For this assignment we were being sent to Deakin University out at Wuarn Ponds.  A mere 1 and a half hour drive from Melbourne. Our subject was the Institute for Frontier Materials. Their research is based around creating new materials that will support the worlds rapidly advancing technology. Batteries that are lighter and faster, efficient carbon fibre and even silkworm silk that will repair a human ear – it’s all part of the Institute for Frontier Materials at Deakin.

Shooting Interviews

The main part of our assignment was capturing a range of interviews in different environments. They needed to look good, sound good and we needed to work quickly. The right tool for the job was our brand new Sony FS5. This little camera has everything we need for quick interview setups that look great. We can plug a microphone straight into it and it performs well without needing a lot of light.

B-Roll

When shooting for another client, you ideally want to be handing over all of your footage from the same camera. This just makes life easier for the editor because they don’t need to worry about trying to match different footage. This isn’t always possible as the same camera that is perfect for interviews might be too big for fast paced b-roll.

Our Fs5 solves this problem because it does everything we need to shoot an interview but is also perfect for running around chasing scientists.

Delivery

Like most of our clients, Websedge wanted the footage fast so that they could get to work cutting. In the past we would express ship a hard drive overseas but with cable internet we can beat the courier. With the country time difference working in our favour it meant by the time uploading had completed on our end, the editors were just waking up on the other side of the world.

Melbourne Cameraman: La Trobe University


Websedge is a Washington based media company that creates videos for international conferences. In the past they’ve sent us on assignments to film intelligent traffic systems for Siemens, beachside windsurfers for a Melbourne Council and high tech laboratories at Monash University.

This time, we were sent to La Trobe university in Bundoora to interview staff at the Australian Centre for Evidence Based Care. The role of ACEBAC is to improve the quality of care given to older people living in aged care, especially with dementia. The purpose of the video being made was to represent ACEBAC at the IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics in San Franscisco.

The Brief

“We need a Melbourne based producer and cameraman to shoot interviews with staff at La Trobe University. We also need footage of the staff at work and coverage of the University campus.”

With only 1 day to shoot, our approach to these kind of jobs is to be as nimble as possible while also being prepared for anything. This means having a car full of gear but packed in a very strategic way. We have a bag for interviews, a bag for b-roll and so on. This means we don’t have to make multiple trips to haul in bags of heavy equipment that we won’t actually use. 

Melbourne Cameraman Broll

Shooting Interviews

We needed to shoot 6 interviews in the morning and each interview needed a different background. To make this possible, we ensured we had plenty of lights at our disposal. The reason having more lights is helpful is it means that firstly: we can ensure the interviews look flattering for each subject and secondly: we can use the lights to make the background more interesting. This means that we can stay in one location and create many different looks – far less time consuming than finding six different locations. We find that Dedolights are a perfect light for creating different background effects.

We used our Sony F3 to shoot the interviews. A larger camera but a reliable workhorse that produces superb images. The F3 teamed with a set of cinema lenses meant that we could shoot with a very narrow depth of field. Take a look at the image below to see what I mean. The subject is nice and sharp but the background is soft and blurry. This is an advantage because it means the background doesn’t necessarily need to look good because on camera it shows up as an abstract colourful blur (instead of a footpath and some grass).

Mlebourne Cameraman Interview

Capturing B-Roll

Our next challenge was to shoot cutaway footage of staff doing there jobs. The requirement here is to be very fast (we needed as much footage as possible with staff only available for a short period) and the footage obviously needed to look good.

This was a job for our Sony A7s. It’s small size means it’s very light to carry but the large sensor gives a great image that can shoot in low light. This camera coupled with some battery powered LED lights meant that we could quickly and easily get around while capturing great footage.

Delivery

The footage we shot is being edited in London and needs to be completed for the conference in the next few weeks. To make sure that no time was wasted, we had a courier pick up the footage after the shoot to be express posted to the UK. Of course, we backed everything up at the office and offsite just to make sure that if something goes wrong in transit, it won’t be an issue.

If you’re looking for a Melbourne cameraman to shoot a project then contact us today.

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Video production is booming in Melbourne. There is a vast array of choice when it comes to camera operators so it can be tough to choose the right one for you. In this article, you’ll be given some important questions to as yourself when deciding. This will give you the best chance to find out which cameraman will be right for your next video production.

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Melbourne Camera Operator: City of Port Phillip’s ‘Smart Travel’ Campaign


In order to capture the right feeling of movement and travel in the City of Port Phillip’s ‘Smart Travel’ campaign, they needed to enlist the help of an experienced, Melbourne-based camera operator.

Dream Engine’s camera operator was on hand, with our specialist camera equipment, to do just that.

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