Art and Experience: Slow motion shots are always nice, but they’re even better when captured with a moving camera.
You’ve seen them before: retimed slow motion shots that utilize tracking, dolly, or handheld camera moves. They can be absolutely gorgeous—if done right. If you’re interested in learning more about how to pull off these kinds of shots, Caleb Pike of DSLR Video Shooter walks us through his process of capturing footage with sliders and jibs and then retiming them in post to make them look sexy as hell.
The techniques Pike talks about are not difficult to pull off—in fact, just learning about them is half the battle.
Here are things to keep in mind when trying to pull off these slow-motion shots:
Lighting: Good lighting could mean the difference between a cool shot and a beautiful, professional-looking one.
Choose a focal point: If you’re working with shallow depth of field, make sure you focus on the part of your subject you want highlight before you do the camera move.
Don’t rush through it: This is a two-fer—don’t settle on the first take and don’t speed through your camera move. Take your time and be intentional.
Don’t just show; reveal: The shot will be much more dynamic if you tell a story with it. Give it a beginning, middle, and end. You can do this by obscuring the subject with shallow depth of field, starting off-camera, and rotating around the subject.
Make motivated decisions: Your choice on whether to speed up or slow down your footage—how much faster/slower to speed up/slow down, and where in the shot to do it— must be motivated. No arbitrary decisions!
Even though these types of shots won’t make it into every one of your projects (lest they become cliché in your own work), knowing how to pull them off just means that you have another cinematic technique to add to your repertoire.