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Brook K

How to do "sticky" slow-mo used in the 1980's?

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For quite some time, I have wondered how the "sticky" (as I call it) slow-motion is done, the type that you see a lot in music videos of the 1980's. By sticky, I mean a noticeable appearance of advancing from frame to frame, as opposed to the much more common fluid and smooth slow-motion often seen in movies and TV.

 

Here is an example, if you are still wondering what I am referring to. (The link should start right at the 3:22 mark, which is where there is a slow motion of two kids in a traditional dance).

 

https://youtu.be/BY_ozF-4IAU?t=3m22s

 

If you are any older than 30 and used to watch music videos in those days, it will probably be familiar to you!

 

My question is actually a two-part question: how is that effect done? And...is there a way to do this effect, or indeed even any slow-mo at ALL, with a Super 8 camera??

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I just looked like every frame was replicated. So the percieved speed on projection/playback is 1/2 and you can see or feel the steps. Unless you have an optical printer for S8 you will have to do it after transfer.

 

I have played with crude optical printing with 16mm, which can work great depending on the kind of quality that is appropriate. I had friends in the 80s who achieved similar things with S8, just rephotograhing the projected image off a projector screen. EDIT: One controls the projector speed or single frame steps.

 

Easily usefull for artists and those working at the fringes in MTV. Not so useful for the normal people making normal (normalized) films.

Edited by Gregg MacPherson

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I just looked like every frame was replicated. So the percieved speed on projection/playback is 1/2 and you can see or feel the steps. Unless you have an optical printer for S8 you will have to do it after transfer.

 

I have played with crude optical printing with 16mm, which can work great depending on the kind of quality that is appropriate. I had friends in the 80s who achieved similar things with S8, just rephotograhing the projected image off a projector screen. EDIT: One controls the projector speed or single frame steps.

 

Easily usefull for artists and those working at the fringes in MTV. Not so useful for the normal people making normal (normalized) films.

 

 

Hmm! Very interesting. All I knew was, as I said, I'd seen it done countless times in music videos in the 80's (and not really anywhere else for some reason), and it had always intrigued me. Now I have a bit better idea how it's done!

 

Did you catch the part about doing slow-mo on super 8, and if it is possible and then HOW to do it?

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Yes, it is just normal-speed photography played back slower. For something that had to be finished to a film print, you needed to use an optical printer and dupes in order to repeat frames onto a new dupe negative. For something finished in video, you just had to slow down the footage in post, which essentially is the same thing as what the optical printer did, which was to repeat frames. You could also get the effect by telecine transferring the footage at a lower frame rate than what it was shot at, like transferring it at 12 fps for something shot at 24 fps for a 2X slowdown.

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Yes, it is just normal-speed photography played back slower. For something that had to be finished to a film print, you needed to use an optical printer and dupes in order to repeat frames onto a new dupe negative. For something finished in video, you just had to slow down the footage in post, which essentially is the same thing as what the optical printer did, which was to repeat frames. You could also get the effect by telecine transferring the footage at a lower frame rate than what it was shot at, like transferring it at 12 fps for something shot at 24 fps for a 2X slowdown.

 

Wonderful! Thank you so much David. :)

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In NZ in the 80s a lot or artists/film makers shot music videos on film, 16mm, commonly reversal, cut on film and then transfered and finished in a 1" video (analogue) suite. I think the Radio with Pictures show gave the $600/hour suites free.

 

Odd anecdotal memory....Willy Keddell shows me the film cut of his MV (music video) on a pic sync. An UCU of fry pan with eggs flickers frame by frame to screen right. A hand with money responds to screen left. Willie offers "now that's a transaction, Gregg". Took me a few years to get it. A worthy observation, and a worthy form.

 

Then Willie was off on the night train to the free 1" suite.

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When slowing it down in computer, make sure

to not activate any frame blending option.

 

So if activated, the sequence of frames instead being:
Frame1, Frame1, Frame2, Frame2, ...

 

will come out as:

Frame1, Frame1 + Frame2, Frame2, Frame2 + Frame3, ...

 

or if motion vector based frame blending used:

Frame1, motion vector CREATED frame from Frame1 and Frame2, Frame2, motion vector CREATED frame from Frame2 and Frame 3, ...

 

 

Best

 

Igor

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An alternative to simple step printing is to use temporal dithering where the frame to be printed is calculated using the equivalent of error distribution in spatial dithering.

 

A good example of this technique can be found here in a work by Martin Arnold working in 16mm film (looks a thousand times better when watched on film):

 

http://www.ipernity.com/doc/topher/3372018

 

The slow motion effect obtained in this work (apart from all the other effects) has a certain jitter to it: at any given moment the movement can be going backwards as much as forward, due to the way in which the error (difference between ideal target and available source) can be either positive or negative.

 

A nice aspect about this technique is that the film is never in a frozen (or 'photographic') state. It is always vibrating, so to speak.

 

C

Edited by Carl Looper

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Another interesting effect I once did in a telecine session was to crank up the Digital Noise Reduction to max, which essentially blends surrounding frames to reduce noise, but increases blur when used too heavily -- I used it on some shots of a motorcycle traveling through a city at night and when I kicked in the DNR at max, everything (the passing lights mostly) sort of stretched and smeared like the Stargate trip in "2001".

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