Having just purchased a wildly expensive camera, designed entirely to capture the slowest of the slo-mo, here at ClickASnap we’ve been bouncing from idea to idea as to what will look impressive when captured at what can only be described as ridiculously high frames per seconds. The Photron Nova S 16 has the ability to film at 1,100,000 frames per second, (fast enough to record a nuclear bomb exploding!) which only leaves us with endless possibilities.
One of our most recent projects only needed a small portion of this allowance, so at 5,000 frames per second we captured a tattoo needle in action, with our Operations Director, Eliza, offering up her leg as a canvas.
We worked with the very talented tattoo artist Sam Tokley, out of Black Lodge studios in Dorset. After some time spent with Eliza getting the design of the tattoo sorted (prior to our day of filming) the day started with cementing the design, choosing its placement and lots of coffee.
After a small hiccup in forgetting the laptop, which is vital to the slo-mo filming process, Sam started the tattooing process. With the time frame for filming the tattoo in slow motion only needing to be for a fraction of the actual time taken to complete the tattoo, Tom, ClickASnap’s CEO and founder, started setting up the Photron Nova S 16 with the buzzing of the needle in the background.
With cameras like this one, lighting is incredibly vital. Most high-speed cameras you will come across will film in black and white due to this requiring three times less light than colour cameras. This is because each colour pixel requires three sensors: red, blue, and green. A black and white camera only requires one sensor per pixel. This pixel can then be three times larger, thus having three times the light gathering capability. However, with a fast CCD refresh speed, there is a limited amount of time for light gathering. For those of you reading this that are wondering what CCD is; CCD stands for charge-coupled device, and it is a type of sensor that takes the light and translates it into digital information to capture an image. Another way of putting it is that it’s the digital equivalent to film. Given that there are fast CCD refresh speeds, the lens required must also be fast. Taking both of these factors into account leads to very shallow depths of field, which means its critical to flood the area with as much light as possible. Having as much light as possible allows the F-stop setting of the lens to be as high as possible, this will deepen the field of exposure to the maximum depth possible creating the best chance of getting some amazing slo-mo footage.
The end result of the filming was quite incredible. Being able to see the needle move in and out of Eliza’s leg one prick at a time was astounding and certainly worth a watch. Let us know what you think, and what you think we should film next!