From pig pens to 2001 – slit scan photography

Via the currently very popular Skydive to Pig pen video I was intrigued by the trippy effects as it span down to earth where you get two landscapes at once. Turns out, if the frame rate with the spin rate syncs, however accidentally you get some really odd effects. You can see it in this video where Marcel Guwang attached a small camera to an RC rotor then synchronized the frame rate with the RPM (revolutions per minute).

This reminds me of the old Henri Lartique photo of the car, you can get some really odd effects opposing the direction of the shutter with the motion of the subject or camera with fast subjects – this is why modern shutters are diaphragm or leaf shutters unlike the older Focal-plane shutter you get in large format cameras.

Interesting thing is because the digital sensor in most modern cameras captures pixels a row at a time, you can get some of these same antique effects with very fast movement, or a cheaper slower sensor despite the modern shutter. Hence the wobble ‘jellying’ in CMOS sensors with side-to-side motion, especially visible in video in the older iPods, camera phones or non-pro DSLRs. You can try this by taking a picture on one of those cameras and moving it at high speed, you’ll find it’ll distort the images, in fact I did this with my old Sony p990i camera years ago with Kirk:


Of course some people use a rolling shutter, a slit scan technique intentionally for effect. Those trippy effects in 2001 was done this way!

Relatio Clash

Tim B Written by:

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