Slow Motion Video

There’s been a lot of talk on the net lately about the various pros and cons of overcranking with the HVX-200 versus deinterlacing and undercranking the XL-H1. Here’s my take on this issue.

One of the coolest features about the HVX-200 is the ability to vary the framerate. You can undercrank down to something like 4fps, or overcrank up to 60fps. This allows for really nice looking slow motion when the 60fps video is played back at 24fps. I always thought that was one of the coolest features of the Varicam, and I was a bit surprised to see it show up in the HVX-200. If you know you’re going to be doing a lot of slow motion, that feature is probably a deciding factor in favor of the Panasonic.

Recently, a few folks on the DVInfo forums have been playing with ways to get similar results from the Canon XL-H1. Here’s the gist:

Shoot 1080i60

Deinterlace to 1080p60 – you have transcode to the DVCProHD 720p60 present in Compressor, with the fancy frame controls

Conform the 1080p60 to 1080p24 using cinema tools

Drop in a DVCProHD 1080p24 timeline in FCP

Since the Panasonic doesn’t have all that much vertical resolution (remember?) one could argue that this method can produce images that are on par with the native progressive images from the Panasonic.

It all seems like a bit of the dogs breakfast though. It’s not practical for a real workflow – the time spent in compressor alone will take ages. Moreover, I’ve been doing some side by side tests and I’m just not convinced that the results look any better than making a speed adjustment to the original HDV clip in Final Cut Pro. Perhaps I’m doing something wrong… more experimentation is required …

3 thoughts on “Slow Motion Video

  1. I always wondered about shooting slow-mo on a digital camera. Apparently this is only a high end feature, and even then it’s not a given?
    What about on the Mythbusters where they shoot super duper slow-mo, and have it on their laptops? Are those (undoubtably expensive) slow-mo cameras digital?

  2. Usually they are digital. It’s just a matter of clocking the CCD higher than the standard 60hz. It takes a more sensitive CCD (and a lot of light) to see a picture when you’re only exposing for 1/3000th of a second. You also need a very fast bus to get the data stored, especially with high definition.
    In essence, you’re always just doing the digital equivolent of running the film faster.

  3. the shutter speed on a digital camera is not the frame rate, using the shutter speed like you said shooting at 1/3000 will do nothing but make your movie look like an exaggerated version of saving private ryan or a hype williams video. The shutter speed on a digital camera most directly translates to shutter angle.

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