Stuff looks awesome in slow motion right? Most people have seen shows like Time Warp that really slow things down, almost to a stop, that make something ordinary, look amazing! But did you know that many times, you are watching slow motion and you don't even know it? I first heard about this concept of shooting in slow motion without the intension of letting the viewer know he is watching slow motion while watching a Lord of the Rings behind the scenes video. They chose to shoot some scenes at about 80% slow motion speed, then re-recording the audio to match up with the slowed down footage. The reasoning behind this was to make the scene feel a bit dreamy, and to give it an ethereal quality. Turns out that this technique is used all the time, but we don't notice it until it gets down to about 75% or slower.
For our recent Father's Day video, we chose to shoot everything at 80% speed, to create that dreamlike, nostalgic quality that hopefully helps paint the picture that we were trying to present, without distracting the viewer by them noticing that what they're watching, is actually in slow motion.
Take a look at the video below, and then I'll explain a great way to capture beautiful slow motion footage.
The best way to shoot in slow motion, is to actually capture more frames than you need for your final frame rate. For example, if you are shooting at 24 frames per second, any frame rate higher than that will effectively slow down your footage. Taking a clip shot 30 frames per second down to 24 frames per second will produce a clip that is slowed down to 80% of its normal speed. This is exactly what we chose to do for the Father's Day video.
Most current cameras today will allow you to shoot as high as 60 frames per second. A clip recorded with this frame rate slowed down to 24 frames per second will result in a shot slowed down to 40%. After you've recorded these clips with a higher frame rate, you'll need to use a program to conform the footage back down to your intended frame rate. You certainly will notice the slow motion effect when your frame rate is this high, and the footage looks gorgeous, but it produces a different type of effect on the viewer.
Our intent was not to make our spot look pretty, it was actually to create something surreal, like looks just a bit different than normal footage. We just didn't want anyone to notice it. :)
I hope this post was informative. Next time you're watching television, take a closer look at the commercials. You just might be watching slow motion, except this time, you'll realize it.