Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor

Light v2

We all want slow motion with our cameras…180fps, 240fps but this video shows us how from the early 1960s a 2000mph bullet was caught in mid air to todays technology that is now fast enough to capture the same apple sequence but it would take a year to watch.

A new camera developed at MIT can photograph a trillion frames per second. Compare that with a traditional movie camera which takes a mere 24 fps. This new advancement in photographic technology has given scientists the ability to photograph the movement of the fastest thing in the Universe, light. In the video below, you’ll see experimental footage of light photons traveling 600-million-miles-per-hour through water. The actual event occurred in a nano second, but the camera has the ability to slow it down to twenty seconds. For some perspective, according to New York Times writer, John Markoff, “If a bullet were tracked in the same fashion moving through the same fluid, the resulting movie would last three years.”

It’s impossible to directly record light so the camera takes millions of scans to recreate each image. The process has been called femto-photography and according to Andrea Velten, a researcher involved with the project, “There’s nothing in the universe that looks fast to this camera.”


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

2 thoughts on “Taking pictures fast enough to slow light itself !

  1. In fact this exact research was shown as early as 2011. Last year I saw a much better version that was stunning. Light going through the water bottle. It must have been a newer better method.

    HDW : Duncan if you care to watch it the light travels through the water bottle !

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