Friday Film Quiz: Super Synch, Phony Film, or Frame Rate?

If you’re a regular reader, you know that I am on-the-record with a deep belief that photography and filmmaking are not all about speeds and feeds or how big your megapixels are compared to mine. Nonetheless, I do have a healthy respect for the technical side of the craft — and for those who dive in deep.

Like the guy who made this video, for example.

This optical illusion is “purportedly” made possible by synching the camera shutter speed with the rotation of the helicopter’s blades, giving the latter the appearance of “staticity.” Some cry hoax. Others say it’s real. Those who believe it is real have engaged in lengthy debate about how it was achieved. The two sides’ arguments break down like this:

SS: “As the title of the video suggests, the filmmaker synched his shutter speed with the rotation of the helicopter blades to make it appear as it does.”

FR: “This is a matter of frame rate, not shutter speed. The frame rate has to be synched such that with each frame exposure the blades are in the exact same position.”

So here’s the quiz – what’s your take? Real or fake? Shutter speed or frame rate?

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