Lately, I have a new obsession: high-speed cinematography.
Just as with timelapse, I think there is an inherent poetry in highspeed shots. One of the best examples I have seen recently was the Nile Croc ambush from Planet Earth. Check out the shot at 2:47!
Poetry in motion!!
But for every shot like that one, there are 100 uninspired Phantom HD shots of ice cubes dropping into martini glasses, women in flowing robes, and bullets flying through apples. People seem to mainly use these cameras for staged, gimmicky shots.
Why? The cost of owning one. The high price of the Phantom HD camera -- about $200K USD -- is an issue. VR doesn't get to benefit from economies of scale, so this camera is simply beyond the means of most shooters. To me, this is holding back artists who might otherwise be breaking new ground in the area of highspeed.
Imagine if the only way someone could shoot timelapse is by purchasing or renting $200,000 timelapse cameras? I doubt there would be very many timelapse shooters in the world! It would be the domain of the few, the elite. And when people did rent the rigs, they would be for specific commercial projects -- just like we see with the Phantom. There would really be no such thing as "hobbyist" timelapse shooters. Because how would you learn? Fortunately, the spread of DSLR cameras and cheap motion mounts has spawned a true revolution in timelapse. Any teenager with $1,000 worth of gear can produce beautiful sequences. With about $5,000 worth of gear, you can replicate 65mm 3-axis motion-control moves that used to require hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gear.
So, can Jim do the same thing for highspeed? Can we get highspeed cameras into the hands of amateurs and hobbyists? Can we democratize highspeed, the way we have video and timelapse?
Knowing his foresight, this is probably something that Jim literally already has in the works. Obviously, the 3K 120fps Scarlet is a great start! But once shooters get a taste of 120fps...they will be craving 500fps, then 600fps, then 1000fps and so on! What is the next step? How about an S35 3K camera that shoots 1000fps... under $30K?
Anyway, thanks for listening to my ramblings.