What happens when camera’s frame rate matches bird’s flapping wings

Jul 18, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

What happens when camera’s frame rate matches bird’s flapping wings

Jul 18, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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When the camera’s frame rate matches the fast moving objects (such as helicopter rotors), a weird effect can occur and make the subject look like it’s levitating. Al Brooks noticed this when he was reviewing the security footage from his surveillance camera. And this time, it’s not a floating helicopter – it’s a floating bird. And while it’s amusing to see, it’s also a great illustration of the “wagon-wheel effect.”

YouTube video

This illusion occurs because the bird’s flapping wings perfectly aligned with the camera frame rate. In Al’s case, the frame rate was 20fps. Also, it has to do with the fast shutter speed, which is the reason why there’s no motion blur of the wings. When the fast shutter speed matches the adequate frame rate – we end up with the strange birdie that looks like it’s floating.

You can see more examples and a demonstration of this effect in the video below. It’s illustrated through the helicopter’s propellers, although, I must say – I find the bird much more amusing.

YouTube video

[via Colossal]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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3 responses to “What happens when camera’s frame rate matches bird’s flapping wings”

  1. Joshua Gary Avatar
    Joshua Gary

    Haha. My security cameras get shots like that all the time.

  2. Rob Eves Avatar
    Rob Eves

    Finally security cameras start to pull their weight.

  3. Steve Barnett Avatar
    Steve Barnett

    A hover-bird