Slow-motion video is cool. Not much more to add to that statement. The only problem is that not all cameras have good slow motion options and frame rates or they are limited to lower resolutions in order to realize the increased speed.
There are some good tricks that can get you detailed slow-motion footage even if your camera isn’t designed for it.
Using Final Cut Pro X, filmmaker Daniel Schiffer shows off how you can get a slow-motion video effect with any camera. He actually shows off a unique way of getting a cool shot while also making it look like slow-mo.
Schiffer is creating a fake slow motion effect with a unique effect that composites two different shots to mimic the look. Because of how he constructs the image you can actually do it using your normal shooting modes—no fast frame rates required.
His base shot is an overhead shot of a salad bowl. Nice, quick setup to test things out with. He brings it slightly out of focus, focusing at a point closer to the camera. He uses his hand placed in front of the camera to get the focus point. Then he slowly brings it into focus again.
Next, he grabbed a tomato and made a nice, decent slice. Then he put it on a stick. Using a lazy susan, turntable, or anything else that spins he attaches the tomato on a stick so that it can be standing up on its own while spinning. He sets it up in front of a blue screen and records it spinning.
Taking those two shots he heads into Final Cut. The base shot is the overhead salad shot which he sets up at around 80% speed and has it go from out of focus to in focus. Then he trims it to his target length of 2 seconds. Finally, he uses keyframes to zoom in on the frame. It gives the illusion of a dolly in.
Looking at the rotating tomato he actually speeds it up since it was spinning very, very slowly. Then he trims it to the same length as the base clip. Using masks and a color key he cuts out the tomato from the background. A few tweaks to the key edge to get it looking smooth and blend into the background is the goal.
Now you can see the goal coming into focus which is make the tomato look like it is falling slowly into the bowl. He uses some scaling to sell the effect even more. Having it scale from larger to smaller makes it look like it is falling away from the camera.
The last thing is to add some blur at the beginning of the clip to give the effect that it comes into focus and then falls out of focus again. It looks very good and doesn’t take all that much effort.
What did you think of this effect?
[source: Daniel Schiffer]
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