Recently, I watched a range of videos on the YouTube channel called “The Slow Mo Guys”, and I was interested in how Gavin Free and Dan Gruchy created such fantastic videos through the use of slow motion.

Below is a trailer video about what they shoot/film and why they do it; which is simply because they believe that there are so many ordinary things that are amazing but left un-noticed. Therefore the short videos they produce reveals this in slow motion, a great way of expressing what actually happens when you spill a tea for instance, the cup doesn’t just break it shatters into a million tiny pieces.

But how do they do it?

Gavin Free and Dan Gruchy film a variety of things in extreme slow motion by using a range of Vision Research Phantom cameras (high speed).

  • Phantom Flex- They use this camera to shoot 8GB per second that is capable of filming for 2500 frames per second in full HD. Which the Slow Mo Guys said they don’t use any software as it is all done by this camera and uses a Mac Pro as the editing program to add in special effects and sound.

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  • Phantom HD gold- However, when they first started making YouTube videos, they began by using the Phantom HD gold camera that shot 1000 frames per second. I  noticed this was not as slow as the other videos. For instance the video of Dan Gruchy driving through the water droplets isn’t as slow as the next video of hammer thrown at a mirror, shot at 120,000 frames per second.  In which I could instantly see a difference in the speed of the video when shot with a higher rate of frames per second and at a lower resolution.

Although the cameras they use are called high speed ones, they film in slow motion because there’s many frames per second and so you see the event more clearly through a solid movement of frames as shown through slow motion. Which the lower the resolution of the camera, the more frames per second it can take; but also the higher the frame rate means the motion will be much slower; for example:

2560 * 1600 = 1455 frames per second

1280 * 720 = 5385 frames per second

256 * 8 = 280000 frames per second

This is evidently shown through their video below, where Gavin Free illustrates how the increase in frames per second, results in an increase of the time that’s slower than the real time of the cup smashing. (Please watch until 3:56)

However, my favourite video of theirs has to be the “Hypnotic Ink Physics in 4k slow motion” because the way the coloured ink fills the tank looks amazing as it appears to be happening quite slowly, even before they show the film, taken with the Phantom Flex4k filmed at 1000 frames per second. This makes it seem even more visually good from the fact that we can see the ink expand in bubbles/clouds through the water. Also because this was the first ultra high definition video of the Slow Mo Guys, it made the bright colours of the ink stand out against the white background.