The videos posted by Gav and Dan (who’s currently MIA), AKA The Slow Mo Guys, are always visually very appealing. But for me, they’re at their most interesting when the video is about something that’s actually related to photography or filmmaking. And while this video, which explains the inner workings of a 16mm movie film camera is shot at a rather modest 1,000 frames per second, it’s no less mesmerising and interesting than the crazy 100K+ fps stuff they usually post.
I’ve shot with many film cameras over the years. Some completely mechanical and some containing a bunch of electronics. But they’ve always been stills photography cameras, not movie cameras. I understood the concept of things like the shutter angle – something which is still carried over to digital cinema cameras today, like the new Blackmagic Pocket 6K Pro – and the principles of how they work, but I’ve never really looked into the mechanical side of exactly how it all comes together.
In the video, Gav goes through the processes at work in his Krasnogorsk-3 16mm movie camera in quite some detail explaining now only how the shutter works, but how the film progresses through the camera. Which it does one frame at a time, completely blocking the exposure as it does so, entirely eliminating motion blur from the film’s movement inside the camera.
Although the technology may be old and obsolete, it’s a wonderful insight into how the technology worked and how it all comes together seamlessly. It almost makes you wish cameras still worked this way. Almost!