Slowing Down With High Speed Filming | Weekend Watchlist

18000fps bubble pop“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Thus sprach the great sage Ferris Bueller. While we may not be stopping in this edition of the Weekend Watchlist, we sure the heck are slowing things down. There is a bevy of beautiful and bizarre sights to behold that simply occur faster than we can see. Thanks to technological advances in high speed cameras, we can capture these moments and play them back at a speed we can comprehend and appreciate.

So, how does filming at high speed get us into slo-mo? Your average video camera captures anywhere between 20 and 60 ‘frames per second’, of FPS. This is the number of still pictures taken for one second of video. High speed cameras take 420, 2000, 10000, or even 18000 pictures in a second. So, if we take 3000 pictures every second and play them back at a much more standard 30fps, we have a video that shows things ten times slower.

Got it? Good. Let’s blow some sh*t up! In the name of science, of course.

Now we get a little less scientific and just blow up a car for giggles. Check out that shockwave!

Volume Warning: Do NOT adjust you volume! The next few videos have no sound.

So let’s bring it down in scale a little bit. The following is a compilation of firecrackers blowing up water balloons. The majority of these were filmed at 420fps. The experiment with the yellow balloon was actually taken at 1000fps. Note how the picture resolution needed to be reduced to allow the camera’s processor to dedicate more power to capturing all those pictures.

Also note that the final shot with the red balloon. It seems that the fuse of the firecracker actually did the balloon popping leaving us with a surprise ending as the explosive device finally detonates in a pool of water.

Hopefully it goes without saying that attempting anything vaguely resembling the next project is extremely stupid and dangerous. That said, wait until you see this footage of The Slow Mo Guys throwing around buckets of flaming gasoline at 2500fps.

Next up, we synergize our last couple features together. Here is a 420fps video about setting a water balloon on fire.

Our next feature features sci-fi writer and epic beard grower Neal Stephenson doing exactly what you’d expect a writer possessing an epic beard to be doing. Performing as a real life Fruit Ninja.

Not content to let Neal have all the fun, the folks at ChefSteps brought in one of their own for a little more Fruit Ninja action.

So swords and fruit may not be to everyone’s liking. In the attempt to provided equal time for all tastes, here’s a bunch of junk food being destroyed by bows and guns.

We learned how high speed filming can slow down everyday events to see them in new ways. In our next feature we combine this with some time lapse photography. Time lapse is the opposite of high speed. Rather than taking a lot of pictures in a short amount of time, we take very few pictures over a long period of time. This allows us to see very slow events occur at a much faster rate and view changes that may not otherwise be noticed.

Boy, we are just learnin’ all kinds of stuff today! Now let’s see what a giant pumpkin stuffed full of a half-pound of TNT can teach us.

When grilled (no pun intended) about wasting food, the pumpkin growers’ son, Ryan Foss, responded, “My father, donates 100's of pounds of fruits and vegetables to his local food shelf every year. He even donates decorative gourds and squash. This pumpkin was pumped up with all sorts of fertilizers and chemicals, making it undesirable to consume. Growing giant pumpkins is a hobby.”

Finally, we check in one more time with the Slo Mo Guys for our slowest video yet. Prepare for the beauty and tranquility of popping bubbles at an unbelievable 18000 frames per second.

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