Youve probably seen it used a lot in TV commercials. Its the effect where a sleek new car races toward the camera at high speed, then shifts into super-slow motion so the audience can get a good look as it glides past. The camera pans as the car slowly moves by, then the car explodes back into high speed as it races off into the sunset. What a cool effect! It must cost millions to create such a nifty looking, artsy shot, right? Nope. Its actually pretty easy and affordable. All you need is a camcorder with high-speed shutter control and a nonlinear editing system. The rest is post-production trickery.
To make the effect look as good as possible, youll need to shoot with the edit in mind. Shooting with high-speed shutter allows your camcorder to record images with less motion blur, making for crystal-clear still images and crisp, slow-motion replay. A high shutter setting will add a strobe-like effect to the edited sequence. You may wish to shoot your footage twice. Once with high-speed shutter, once without it.
This effect plays well when shot from a low camera angle. Select a position next to the road, a safe distance from the vehicle, and set your zoom where youd like it to be as the car whips past. A quick pan will provide all the motion your shot needs. For a creative variation of the shot, add a wide-angle lens adapter to create a sense of distance and add some artsy distortion to the shot.
Instruct your driver to start some distance away, and drive at a steady speed past the camera and off into the distance. We have found that the effect works well with speeds between 35 and 55 miles per hour. You may want to record several passes at various speeds and lens settings so you can choose from a variety of takes in the edit bay.
While the exact buttons you push will differ depending on the editing software you use, the steps are the same regardless of your system. Once in the edit bay, capture the raw footage to your NLEs hard drive.
Next use the speed tool in your editing software to apply a slow motion filter to the center clip. Because the last frame of the first clip matches the first frame of the slow-motion clip, and the last frame of the slow-motion clip matches the first frame of the third clip, the transition will be seamless.
The key to this effect is the combination of match-frame edits and speed filters. The order they come in is up to you. You may wish to add a high-speed effect to your first and third clips. Or you may wish to make your first and third clips slower and your middle clip faster. The applications of this technique are limitless. You can try it on a pan, tilt or zoom for a cool variation. Now that you have the secret, well leave the magic up to you.