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Slow Motion, also known as “slowmo”, is a video-editing technique that involves interpolating additional frames into pre-recorded footage as to make time appear to move slower when it is played back. On the Internet, slow motion videos are often uploaded to the video-sharing site YouTube or converted into animated GIFs.
Slow motion was invented by the Austrian priest August Musger, who used a mirrored drum to modify film projectors to produce the slow motion effect on screen. He patented the process in 1904 and presented his device for the first time in 1907 at a cinema in Graz, Styria. Other filmmakers began recreating the effect using a camera technique called “overcranking,” which involved recording at a high frame rate and playing the footage back at normal speed. The earliest known hubsite for slow motion videos titled “Ultraslo” was launched on October 14th, 2005.
On May 30th, 2006, YouTuber Colin Colenso uploaded a video featuring slowed footage of billiard balls (shown below, left), which accumulated more than 5.52 million views and 2,300 comments in the next seven years. On March 31st, 2007, the Ultraslo YouTube channel uploaded a video of a slow motion gun being shot (shown below, right), receiving over 7.28 million views and 7,300 comments in the following six years.
On March 14th, 2009, the /r/SlowMotion subreddit was created. On February 9th, 2010, YouTuber Ben Good uploaded a compilation of notable slow motion video clips (shown below). In the first four years, the video garnered more than 17.4 million views and 11,000 comments.
On November 2nd, 2012, Redditor EABACA posted an animated GIF of a Luger pistol firing in slow motion (shown below, left) to the /r/guns subreddit, which gained over 5,600 up votes and 320 comments prior to being archived. On December 18th, Redditor Weldz submitted a GIF of a missile being fired in slow motion (shown below, right) to the /r/woahdude subreddit. In the following five months, the post received upwards of 5,800 up votes and 240 comments.
Pedigree Dog Ad
In February of 2006, the digital artist group Pleix produced a music video for the song “Birds” by the electronic music artist Vitalic, which featured several dogs jumping in slow motion (shown below, left). On February 22nd, 2010, YouTuber jkvetchy uploaded a Pedigree Dogs ad shot at 1000 frames-per-second featuring several canines jumping for treats in the air. Within four years, the video gained upwards of 4.67 million views and 4,800 comments. Following the ad’s success, many cited the Vitalic music video as a possible source of inspiration.
The Slowmo Guys
On August 15th, 2010, The Slowmo Guys YouTube channel was launched, featuring experiments shot with high-speed cinema cameras. As of May, 2013, The Slowmo Guys YouTube channel has received over 219 million video views, 2.01 million subscribers and their official Facebook page has gained more than 42,000 likes. The channel’s most viewed videos include slow motion footage of a giant water balloon being popped (shown below, left) and a soccer ball hitting a man in the face (shown below, right).
YouTube Video Editor
On May 28th, 2013, YouTube launched a new service allowing uploaders to edit their videos to run in slow motion. To add the effect, YouTubers could apply the slowmo option from the video editor page or the “enhancements” tool.In a blog post, the company provided two videos showing footage played at normal speed compared to a slowed version using the site’s slowmo enhancement (shown below).
iPhone 5S Feature
On September 20th, 2013, early adopters of Apple’s newly released iPhone 5S began uploading videos shot in slow-motion with the improved iSight camera, which features a custom, five-element lens that can shoot in 720p resolution at 120 frames per second.
On September 22nd, two days after the release, Redditor HoboStabz submitted a YouTube video showing a close-up view of a woman’s chest bouncing up and down in a post titled “Testing out the new iPhone slow-mo camera on my girlfriend boobs.” In the following 24 hours, Redditor HoboStabz’s post and the YouTube clip garnered more than 2,300 comments and 567,000 views respectively, as well spawning a new subreddit called /r/SloMoBoobs, a sub-site forum dedicated to curating user-submitted videos of women’s breasts bouncing in slow motion.