Slow Motion Cameras

Written by Jared Vincenti
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A slow motion camera is not a standard video camera. While any video recorder can play a tape back in slow motion, a slow motion camera gives you more definition in your slow motion. Simply put, a slow motion camera films at a higher rate of frames per second, so that more tape is used up in less time. When played back on a player at standard speed, the tape appears to go in slow motion.

The advantage this set up has over looking at standard tape is that there are more frames to analyze. This is especially useful when examining something that happens in just a matter of a second or two, as a slow motion camera may capture as many as four times as many frames of motion as the normal camera. Thus, playback is much more detailed, and can show movements that may otherwise go unnoticed.

Applications of Slow Motion Cameras

The most famous use of slow motion cameras is from baseball. "Slow-Mo Replay" was a system of slow motion cameras that taped the action at each base. When an umpire's call was disputed, the tapes could be reviewed. After slow motion footage was watched from a few angles, the umpire's call could be overturned if the tape showed him to be in error. However, many felt that this practice stripped umpires of their authority, and is no longer used for this purpose in professional sports.

Today, slow motion cameras are used behind the scenes in sports. Slow motion cameras can be used to analyze a player's pitch, stride, stroke, or serve. With slow motion footage, specialists can analyze the flaws in the player's mechanics, and set about correcting them. By being able to look at each moment in a motion, we can see what is keeping it from being as efficient as possible, and by correcting these flaws, we can improve performance remarkably.


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