Slow Motion: Keeping it Smooth

2019 Edmonton Expo Cosplay Music video

2019 Edmonton Expo Cosplay Music video

One of the questions we often get asked at both the Conventions and Expos we attend is “How do your videos look so smooth!?” The answer is pretty simple: We’re magic witches from Hogwarts.

When I was first starting out, I thought it was as easy as slowing down a clip in post but would end up with a choppy slow motion shot that didn’t look nearly as good as I wanted it to be. This is one effect you don’t want to fix in post.

The truth is that it’s done utilizing a combination of techniques that support one very important Camera Setting. We shoot at 60 frames per second (FPS). If you’ve ever shot at a higher frame rate, you’ll notice that your footage does look a lot smoother when you follow action shots. As a side note, higher frame rates have become a point of contention with HDTVs in recent years as movies have that odd ‘hyper real’ look to them when your TV has ‘motion smoothing’ setting on. It’s a digital way that HDTVs create additional frames so that motion looks less blurry but often results in an image that looks more like a sporting event rather than a movie. A movie is typically shot and watched as 24fps, in the UK this standard is 25fps. There’s an interesting history about FPS standards which relates to the history of film that I won’t get into in this post. For those interested, check out this article about The Hobbit films and shooting at 48fps.

So, you’re shooting your footage in 60fps but it doesn’t look slow and smooth in your editing suite. Now what?

The reason for this is that the editing sequence (by default) is set to interpret footage in the format it was filmed at. In North America, your export output will be at 24fps. Your sequence settings should match that. Secondly, your clips shot in 60fps need to be reinterpreted as clips matching the 24fps sequence. This will result in your clips being slowed down 2.5x their normal speed. To illustrate further:

In Premiere Pro CC

In Premiere Pro CC

  1. Sequence timeline settings should be 24fps (or 23.976 for DSLR cameras)

  2. Clips that are shot at 60fps should be interpreted as 24fps if you want them to be 2.5x slower.

Viola! Smooth slow motion!

Other things that help:

  • A camera that can shoot at higher frame rates (120fps)

  • A Stabilizing kit for your camera rig (Glidecam, Gimbal, DJI Ronin)

  • Shooting at a flatter focal length (to keep subject in focus during movement)

Our team likes to mix things up in our edit to keep things fresh. Check out our latest Edmonton Expo Cosplay Music video and see if you can spot the difference in the clips that are 24fps and 60fps

ps. Be sure to also follow our NEW project Date Knight.

Full Frame VS Crop: Which is the better sensor?


I’m glad my first DSLR camera was not a full frame.

The first DSLR camera I purchased was a Canon Rebel XTi. It could not take video and it had a 1.6x APS-C sensor. I cut my teeth on this camera and it served me well as a photographer. Many of its features were automatic and I had to guess my way through trial and error when my pictures came out blurry, as well as over or under exposed. As my skills developed through each trial, so did my comfort with disabling the automatic features of my camera.

Soon, I began to not only understand how to use shutter speed, f-stop and ISO settings but more importantly, I began to understand the limitations of my camera. What ISO settings I should not use even though my camera could go up to 5600 ISO. I also learned the difference between my EF-S kit lens and the 50mm EF lens I had purchased afterwards.

I was ready to upgrade.

At this time, having a crop sensor meant two things for photographers/ videographers

  1. Crop sensors are not good for low light

  2. You are amplifying your lens.

For myself, a crop sensor meant I could not shoot photos over 1600 ISO without sensor noise and that my 50mm lens was actually the equivalent of an 80mm lens (50mm X 1.6 = 80mm).

To shoot with my Rebel XTi I needed to be taking pictures with plenty of light and would have to take a few extra steps back to get the framing I wanted. This made me realize I wanted a full frame camera as my next purchase.

Wanted… not needed.

Both limitations of my camera could be overcome by my growing experience. This is important to note as too many photographers and filmmakers place their abilities on the tools they use. A tool is only as good as the person using it. It’s about growing the skill needed to take a compelling picture or tell an engaging story.

The times, they have changed. The Lumix GH5 is an example of a mirrorless camera with a cropped sensor (micro 4/3) that can compete with full frame cameras in low light performance and image quality. The industry seems to be heading that direction as even full frame cameras are becoming mirrorless. The reasons why I upgraded to a full frame camera are not the same reasons someone may upgrade today.

So which is better? It depends.

  • If you have already invested in expensive glass of a certain mount like myself, you will want to stick with cameras that share the same mount as the glass you’ve invested in or be willing to purchase a speedbooster but will still need to consider the amplification.

  • If you’re starting out, do what I did, go with the most affordable option that meets your current needs as a storyteller and then upgrade once you feel the tool you are using has reached its limitations compared to your skill.

What else is new with M’Guphynn Media? Check out our latest Vlog and find out