The Pleasure of Slow Motion

Last weekend I watched hours worth of slow motion videos because I enjoy them. I also watched them because I was fighting one of the worst colds I've had in years. Slow motion videos are great because what is invisible to the eye, and hard to see in normal speed videos becomes boringly long when watched in slow motion. 

An event that would have taken a few hundredths of a second now takes seconds or even minutes to occur. We're familiar with the photos of bullets going through apples from our childhood and we're familiar with the footage of slow motion rocket launches but have you seen the saturn five launch where just the ignition sequence takes sixteen minutes? 

The video above shows the action in such slow motion that you can see everything that happens in a way that a live broadcast never could. Eight minutes from ignition to the moment the rocket leaves the shot. 

In this video you see a nuclear blast for the first milliseconds. You can see the shape of the charge and the imperfections. It provides you with a different understanding of how these reactions occur. 

In the video above you see paint being flung from a drill in slow motion. The paint is flung upwards and sideways. You also see the drill as it oscillates up and down as well as from side to side. In realtime you would just see a spray of paint but you would miss the intricacies of the globules of paint and how they move.  

In another video you see how syringes of ink look as they spread in an aquarium of water. In slow motion you see the ink take on a velvet quality as it spreads within the water. It's great to watch the first time you see such fluid behaviours. 

In another video, you can watch what happens when a drop of water falls into a body of water, how it goes down into the water, bounces back out and then hits another drop. Such motion is really interesting to watch. In real-time, we're speaking of hundredths of a second but in slow motion, we're speaking about seconds of motion.

In the video above we see how surface tension and bubbles of water interact. You start from a single drop of water that falls from a surface, bounces on the top of water multiple times and as it bounces halves and then halves again several times before finally disappearing into the water. This is behaviour that you would never notice with the naked eye but thanks to slow motion cameras you see it. 

When you watch the first slow-motion videos you don't know what to expect but as you watch dozens, or even hundreds of events so you begin to understand how the world works at the nanosecond timescale. They're worth watching because your understanding of science and events increases.