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High Speed Videography for Beginners.

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Everyone I have met and talked to share one thing in common: the desire to own, or at least play with, a high speed camera. Though I doubt that many of the people reading this have a high speed camera of their own, it is my wish that the few who's dream came true will find this guide useful. This is a guide based on personal experiences and trial and error.
 
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Step 1: The Camera

Picture of The Camera
CIMG0336.JPG
This guide is based off of the Casio EX-F1. It is a $1000 multifunction digital camera with options of 300, 600, and 1200 frames per second. At the time I write this, it is the cheapest consumer high speed camera available. To those wishing to buy a high speed camera; save, save, save! I saved since the fifth grade to buy one of these puppies.

Here is a walkthrough of the different frame rates in order of speed. Changing the fps is simple, press MENU>Quality>HS Speed> 300, 600, 1200, or 30-300.
300fps:
This setting has the largest viewing window (512X384 pixels) and requires the least amount of light. It has the slowest frame rate, meaning the playback footage is faster than than 600 and 1200 modes, but slower than real time (which is around 60fps).


600:
(432X192)
Just like Goldilocks, this setting is "just right." It has a manageable viewing window and does not require an excessive amount of light, making it perfect for larger actions such as a football tackle. The playback footage is pleasingly Matrix-time slow.



1200:
(336X96)
The shutter moves fastest in this mode; it opens and closes 1,200 times each second. Although it has a very narrow viewing window, this mode produces the best end results. Recordings can last about fifteen seconds before frames are lost, resulting in jumpy footage.



30-300:
(512X384)
The thirty-three-hundred mode means that the camera is filming at regular speeds, but with a turn of the ring, switches to 300fps mode. Another turn of the ring brings the speed back to 30fps. The ring, located just behind the lens, has three functions: zoom, focus, and CS fps (camera shutter fps). The default setting is "off;" turning the ring does nothing whatsoever. To change this, press MENU>REC>Ring Setup>CS fps.



I highly recommend buying a lens filter/protector. These nifty little devices screw over the lens to protect it from harm (you are blowing things up, remember). If the lens protector becomes scratched or damaged, it is easy and cheap to replace; as opposed to a $1000 camera lens.
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Haha thats awesome same wave length, I almost did a instructable exactly the same :p but with the Casio EX-zr200 (don't worry about favouring it but just have a look :) - http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Get-EPIC-TRUE-SLOW-MOTION-TO-1000FPS-FOR-/
I have the Casio EF-XH25 ($300 new in box on eBay) myself. It's like the EX-F1 but doesn't have interchangeable lenses. The unit's lens is very robust though, and for my purposes, it does quite nicely.

I have been using this camera mainly as a means to analyze human athletic movements in order to improve my horrible hockey playing, so I shoot mainly at 420 fps to keep the resolution nice and high. You can see some of the videos I took at the following links - just keep in mind that the first two were taken from all the way across the rink from the balcony seats.

http://gallery.me.com/j.middlefinger#100174&bgcolor=black&view=grid
http://gallery.me.com/j.middlefinger#100171&bgcolor=black&view=grid
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cJkTsf9H94&feature=youtube_gdata_player
Boppo33 years ago
do you use any software to slow things down?
wii5523 years ago
there isn't REALLY a shutter moving during filming, is there? i thought it was just images being saved one after another. Some video cameras don't have shutters!
Clayton H.3 years ago
Here's a more cheaper version of the $1000+ Casio mentioned
Kryptonite4 years ago
Wow that's amazing, but what's the bb gun used?
Kiteman5 years ago
Is there a special reason why the frame gets wider and wider as the rate goes up?
Spl1nt3rC3ll (author)  Kiteman5 years ago
I believe so. I do not know the "official" reason, but here is my opinion: The narrower frame allows an increase in shutter speed because the shutter does not have to open and close as far in such a short amount of time.
Spl1nt3rC3ll (author)  Spl1nt3rC3ll5 years ago
N8man beat me to it. : )

I just noticed that my comment is shaded blue.

And so was that one. I think it's because you're the author of the 'ible.
Derin Kiteman5 years ago
There's no shade on his comment.
The shutter physically does not move, it is as open as it can get (think of the lighting conundrum) - They need all available light. Look directly into the lense when shooting a video, you can usually see it (shine a dim light in).
n8man Kiteman5 years ago
Yes, the frame is actually getting shorter as the speed increases because the shutter can only open so much in that very short period of time.
jridley n8man5 years ago
They're not using a mechanical shutter.
n8man jridley5 years ago
The camera that he uses does have one.
jridley n8man5 years ago
Yes, it does, but it doesn't use it at the high frame rates or movie modes, only in single-shot modes.
jridley Kiteman5 years ago
My bet would be that they don't have enough data bandwidth throughout the system to handle full res at higher frame rates, so they chop the top and bottom out. The fact that they're throwing out lines of the sensor rather than data to the sides indicates to me that probably the bottleneck is in getting data off the sensor fast enough.
Derin5 years ago
There is also a way to do high speed using CamStudio.Sometime soon I will post a filming of a Gmod explosion.
Derin Derin5 years ago
It will be a cannon shooting an explosive barrel.The flaming barrel shoots out and blows up in touchdown.
temp5 years ago
Maybe if you put a piece of paper or something over the tungsten light it will give a more natural look.
thepaul935 years ago
i want to get one of those cameras. but for now i have my phone that records only 120fps
zmatt5 years ago
What is the resolution at the various FPS? Thanks
Holden_vy_s5 years ago
Hey Spl1nt3rC3ll, can you record a video of a lit match dropped onto a small puddle of petrol (gasoline) and/or a puddle of alcohol ( AKA Heet, methylated spirits )? Anyone know of a website to download shots similair to that? I reckon that would be a very good high speed shot, especially from a 45 degree angle. Very good Instructible BTW.
Spl1nt3rC3ll (author)  Holden_vy_s5 years ago
Sorry for the late reply. Yes, I plan to attempt that shot (as well as a jam jar jet) as soon as I get some free time and methylated spirits.
Great, hit me up when you post them :)
Spl1nt3rC3ll (author)  Holden_vy_s5 years ago
And I thought fire was mesmerizing at regular speeds! (Matches in rubbing alcohol, I don't have any ignition footage because it took a few seconds to light and that is a really long time high speed wise.)


http://www.metacafe.com/watch/2605671/flaming_alcohol/
Awesome clips! the ignition of gasoline or heated alcohol would be the best though, you could see that little froomph upon ignition. Thanks for that, i wish i had the money to afford one of these cameras.
benthekahn5 years ago
I suppose LED bulbs would work well, assuming they were diffused.
jcl2365 years ago
I have been looking at buying one of these, probably the EX-FH20 but I would really like to know what the picture and "HD" 720P video looks like. Casio doesn't seem to have a retail store where they sell these cameras, so I was wondering what you thought of the picture quality and settings and if there is a store that might sell the camera that I don't know about so I can check it out. Thank you.
Spl1nt3rC3ll (author)  jcl2365 years ago
The image below is taken with this camera. However, this camera does not agree with close ups, and even in macro mode, cannot focus on an object as close as the second picture (taken with another camera). I have not tried the HD setting yet, but I will take some short footage and upload it soon. If I remember correctly, I bought this camera at a store called Ritz.
CIMG0357.JPGIMG_6165.JPG
Thank you for the pictures, i was hoping they would look better but I expected the camera would be lacking somewhere
Spl1nt3rC3ll (author)  jcl2365 years ago
Indeed, when one attempts to cram too many features into a device, one of them will definitely be lacking. Here's another picture taken with this camera and, for comparison, a picture from an image-only camera. I am not entirely sure, but I think the resolution changes when it is uploaded to Instructables. I still need to get some HD footage for you.
CIMG0276.JPGIMG_5880.JPG
bumper445 years ago
Wow you put a lot of work into this instructable! Thank you!

Unrelated but cool video below.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXDLS1ZPVw4
atanguay5 years ago
Does anyone know of anything cheaper that compromises on the frame rate a bit? I need a camera that does about 90fps or more, but not the 300 and more that this camera can do. But I need multiple cameras...this is motion capture project, so you need multiple views, which would be really pricey with this camera. Thanks for any ideas.
clide atanguay5 years ago
The Philips spc900nc webcam claims 90 fps, but I've never actually got it to go that high. I'm not sure exactly what kind of motion capture you are doing, but if you are just looking at the motion of specific points then you can strap infrared lights to those points and use the wiimote which has a refresh rate of 100 Hz supposedly. I can't verify that myself. Then there is the Casio EX-FH20 which is a little cheaper than the EX-F1. They are also coming out with some additional high speed stuff later this year including the EX-FS10 which is supposed to go for $350
atanguay clide5 years ago
Thanks Clide! Good stuff. The idea is to capture footage to use with a program called Movimento.
clide5 years ago
Another tip for the montages. Changing the playback rate for different parts of the same clip can help keep things going. Slow things down to 15 fps or so for exciting moments like impacts. For the less exciting stuff like objects flying through the air in a predictable way you can speed it up to twice the speed.

Here is a video I made that uses that technique: Youtube Link. A lot of times it's not even very noticeable to me. Probably not noticeable at all for people who don't know what the original clip looks like.
frollard5 years ago
I dont believe the shutter physically MOVES at that pace - or do you hear a rather loud buzzing noise coming from the camera? The frame'rate' is achieved by having the cpu scan the ccd at that speed. The frame has x*y pixels. to increase shutter speed the ccd only scans less and less of the pixels. Traditionally they just reduce resolution uniformly, but reducing it to widescreen has more appeal for the new widescreen HD market. Look at it this way, it can record 'huge' HD video from all the pixels at once, or extremely fast video from a very small portion of the pixels. Since it scans in horizontal lines, row by row, it further makes sense to scan an entire row, at a time, and simply scan less rows (easier ccd math and less biasing from the unused transistors). Great writeup!! I want one of those cameras!
dung0beetle5 years ago
great instructible! Very informative!
sammyBoy5 years ago
How do you ever get anything sensible done in your life when you own one of these. I'm going to have to pretend I didn't read all this so that I spend some time with my sons rather than filming them at 1200fps. I just didn't think the technology was this accessible to us mere mortals. I'm very envious - have fun.
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