Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Roll of the Dice, Motion Stock, and Revelations

A Roll of the Dice and A Slow Motion Revelation
One of the criteria I have for shooting slow motion stock video clips is whether or not the clip offers a revelation, a glimpse, or more, of something we haven’t seen before…an Aha! moment, if you will. Often it is difficult, or impossible, to predict whether an attempt will produce such a result. For example, at one point we decided to shoot a slow motion roll of the dice. The shot was extremely tight and our resulting depth of field only about as deep as the dice themselves. To try and keep the dice in focus we had to drop them from a very short distance. The first drop of the die resulted in a very minimal amount of action…obviously something not worth keeping. We checked the result of our capture anyway to get a sense of what we were up against. It was really cool! At one point one of the die hit, bounced up, and seemed to just hang there spinning in the air. It was a revelation!

Cactus Spines and a Bursting Bubble Video
Another revelation, even more delicious to watch, occurred when we captured a soap bubble slowly drifting down onto the spines of a cactus. I had my doubts about whether, even in slow motion, we could see anything interesting in a bursting bubble. I thought the speed of the bubble was too fast, but I was wrong. The first revelation happened as the bubble settled onto the cactus spines. I thought the bubble would burst as soon as the membrane was pierced. But that didn’t happen. You can literally see the spines poke through the walls of the bubble as it comes to a rest on the cactus skin.  Then came a second revelation. After a pause the membrane bursts outwards to the edges of the sphere, then back again to the center in a spray of liquid collapsing on itself. It kind of reminded me of an interstellar galactic explosion! Who knew!

Slow Motion Video at 1900 Frames Per Second
One of the keys to the success of the endeavor was our ability to shoot, with the Phantom HD camera at a frame rate of 1900 frames per second. Here I have to give a plug to my friends at GVS systems who allowed us to use their GVS 9000 VTR computer. It allowed us to capture the footage, review it in seconds, and convert the files to Pro Res files on the fly. Pretty awesome.

Bursting Bubbles and Bringing In The Bucks
Of course, one never knows what image or clip may turn out to be the one that brings in the bucks, but this clip can illustrate many concepts such as a bursting financial bubble, any sort of risk or impending doom, or even dramatic and sudden change. I even fantasize about using After Effects to put symbolic images on the bubble such as houses or dollar signs. But then, I would have to do a lot of learning to accomplish that...maybe down the road when I have more time. Yeah right!

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