Here’s how you should be shooting slow motion video

If you want to spice up your video with some cinematic shots, slow motion can help. However, shooting slow motion isn’t just simply slowing down shots.

There’s a lot of prep that goes into making an effective slow-motion clip. Take it from Think Media, who says “ … it can be a challenge to actually have [slow motion] look right and be smooth and stylish.” You can slow down any piece of footage to make it slower, but often times it will come out to be jerky because it is missing the extra frames that are there when specifically shooting for slow-motion.

Think Media, in the video we share below, goes over a few tips to help you shoot great slow-mo from conception to actually shooting to the editing.

Your content needs have action if you’re shooting slow motion

First and foremost, even before you even touch your camera, you need to have content that fits being shot in slow motion. The motion needs to be cool. It needs to be interesting. This typically means action.

While slow-motion works great with things like extreme sports, you don’t have to be limited to extreme action. Slow-motion can make even the most mundane action interesting. You getting out of your car may look boring at normal speed, but when shot in slow-mo, you’ll look like you’re in a dramatic piece of cinema.

Pick the right camera for the job

Technically, you can shoot slow motion with a smartphone, and it may be pretty impressive. But if you want to shoot continuous slow motion, it would be good to look to higher frame rate cameras. It’s really important to check if your camera can shoot higher frame rates. The frame rate that you should look for should at least be 60 frames per second or above.

To get smooth footage, Think Media recommends following the 180-degree rate rule. Essentially, you want your shutter speed to be double the number of your frame rates (or get as close as you can get). You will also notice that when you get into the higher frame rates that image will get darker. So, plan your lighting accordingly.

Editing slow motion

To slow down the footage you’ve shot in post and keep things smooth tell your editing software to interpret footage to match the frame rate with that of your timeline. This ends up making the clip play back in smooth slow motion. Think Media uses Adobe Premiere Pro in the video, so the steps may be worded differently depending on your editing software. Regardless, the same premise still applies.

Slow motion may seem like it’s just slowing down footage, but it’s not. It requires preparation and requires content that works with it. Keep these tips in mind whenever you’re are shooting slow motion. If you want direction for picking the right frame rate, we can help with that.

Sean Berry
Sean Berry
Sean Berry is Videomaker's Managing Editor.

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