Friday, September 16, 2011


Odds are you’ve seen it in films. 300, Gladiator, Mission Impossible 2… actually all John Woo Films I’ve seen, Hero and a lot of Chinese Cinema. Technically it’s called Ramping. The Slowing down, speeding up of the film either to draw attention to specific details, add emotion, or just be awesome.
Typically, you’ll hear the term “over crank” thrown around talking about shooting a scene that will “ramp.” Historically, when cameras were hand cranked the camera operator would crank the camera faster, running more frames through the camera each second. Played back at the normal theatre framerate, it would appear slowed down.
High speed cameras that cost thousands can capture in the hundreds of frames a second (even thousands of frames per second). Canon DSLR’s have the ability to shoot at 60 frames per second. And since 24 fps is still the theatrical standard (well… for now) and 30 fos is usually the digital standard, we’re given the ability to do some overcranking.
Now, you can take footage at 30 (or 24 fps) and slow it down with even the lowest end editing software. But how it accomplishes this is by doubling each frame. Some higher end will create intermediate frames to smooth it out. It will lack the cinematic beauty of real ramping.
The math is easier with 30 fps. You’re shooting at 60 fps for one second, you now have 2 seconds of film at 30 fps. Not that it’s much harder… 60 fps becomes 2.5 seconds of footage when converted to 24 seconds. We used this heavily for the music video shoot a while back. The beauty of this technique is it tends to give a very ethereal or dreamlike quality. This is why I love gladiator.
Check out this video where I was playing with my camera. I may have been recreating some shots from gladiator…

**The videos I used in this are not mine, and they probably don’t belong to the people who posted them on youtube. I borrowed them for the purpose of using them as examples to help educate people on the internet.**
So yeah... check it out. Play with some footage and let me know how it turned out. And remember: Shutter Angle. I'm not going into details in this blog... but if you're shooting 60 fps, your shutter speed needs to be 125. You can still control exposure through ISO and Aperture. Keep your aperture open and really get that beautifully shallow Depth of Field to draw the audiences eye to your subject.

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