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FAQ's about high speed camera hire and slow motion filming

Below are a few questions we frequently get asked about in relation to high speed camera hire or slow motion filming. If there is anything else you would like to know, don’t hesitate to contact us. 

How does the high speed filming process work?

Once the high speed camera is set up, it is constantly capturing video to its internal memory, in a loop. When the high speed camera is triggered, it will pause the capture and record the previous 4-10 seconds of action (dependant on fps). This ensures that, in the case of an explosion, you do not have to worry about synchronising the capture to the event. You simply watch the explosion, trigger the camera a second or two after the bang, and the full explosion is captured in slow motion.

Can we see the results of the slow motion filming instantly?

Yes! Once the video has been shot, it can be viewed straight away. Both the Phantom Flex and Phantom HD Gold have a live HD-SDI output, so the shot can be viewed on a monitor. The Y5 is laptop-based. Once the client has approved the take, it will then be saved, converted and presented (see below).

How will we see the slow motion shots?

The data from a high speed camera is captured in a raw format specific to it - .cine files for the Phantom Flex and HD Gold (these are widely accepted by post production houses), and .mrf files for the Redlake Y5 (these need to be processed by us).  The footage can then be transferred from the camera’s buffer in one of two ways, depending on the camera used:


Phantom Flex / HD Gold:  You can transfer from the Phantom Flex, Phantom HD Gold and the Redlake Y5 to a laptop running specialised software, but with the Phantoms you have the ability to save directly onto a CineMag.  This is the fastest way of saving data within the high speed world – vastly reducing the downtime whilst the footage saves to just a few seconds. When using the Phantom's "Run-Stop" mode, you can shoot at 450fps, straight to the CineMag (for up to three and a half minutes). Once the CineMags are full (we've got 2x 256Gb), they need to be downloaded to our workstation (on set). This will take approximately 30 minutes (it's a fibre optic connection). Because we have two CineMags, one can be downloading whilst the other is being used to shoot.


Redlake Y5: The data is transferred from the camera onto the laptop via an Ethernet cable, meaning  the Redlake Y5 must always be tethered to the computer.  This camera requires up to a few minutes to download each shot immediately after each one is captured (exactly how long depends on the length of clip you have captured).  Sometimes this works well and we’re often ready before anyone else (especially if a machine needs to be reloaded or if a set needs to be redressed for example!), but it is worth noting that it is a different workflow from other cameras - including the Phantom Flex with its near-instant saving to CineMags.

Raw rushes

The rushes from all our high speed cameras can then be converted into whatever video format you require (at maximum resolution and loss-less compression). An external hard drive can be loaned to the client if required.

Please note: with the Phantom Flex and HD Gold, we include .cine file processing within the package price.  Other formats (eg. tiff sequence conversion) may be supplied at no additional cost but this is dependent on the required turnaround time and the amount of data to be transcoded.  We usually include up to 500Gb of .cine file processing, but are as accommodating as we can be within the time constraints.  If you are likely to shoot above this, you may be required to provide a hard drive on location (again, please just ask if you have any questions).

What about lighting for slow motion filming/high speed?

High speed filming requires a lot of light (around 5 times as much as at 25fps). The flicker associated with slow motion can be eradicated by the use of correct lighting:

  • With tungsten lights, the flicker is caused by the filament switching on and off 50 times per second (50Hz AC mains supply). To avoid this, you must use 5kW or above lamps.
  • HMI lights suffer from something called "arc wander". This results in a blue/green colour shift/flicker. High frequency (1000Hz) electronic ballasts will avoid this.

One light source which is often overlooked is the sun – it's bright (most of the time!) and only flickers once a day.

How much does slow motion filming cost?

Not as much as you'd think!  Here at Quench, we pride ourselves on being highly competitively priced.  Each camera comes as part of an all-inclusive package – making things easy for you as well as keeping the costs down. 

Contact us to discuss your requirements. We're quite friendly really!

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