Samsung Electronics recently teamed up with Gavin Free and Daniel Gruchy, also known as The Slow Mo Guys of YouTube fame, for a fun and inventive video series in which the experts offered tips on creating slow motion videos with the Galaxy S9's new Super Slow-mo camera. The complete ‘Samsung Sessions’ series is now available on Samsung's YouTube channel.
At Galaxy Unpacked 2018, Samsung Newsroom caught up with Gavin and Dan to hear their thoughts on the device’s 960 fps (frames per second) slow-motion capture capability, and to discuss ways to utilize the Super Slow-mo feature to make everyday moments epic.
Q. How did you first get into making slow-mo videos?
Gavin: I used to be a high-speed camera operator for the British film industry. So I was able to play around these cameras in our off time. Eventually, I got Dan involved because Dan, to me, was the best person I knew to get banter on camera, and we started a YouTube channel with these incredible cameras that not many people had access to at the time.
Dan: I would say that cameras like these at the time were very uncommon. There were only a couple in the country. We were so young – and Gavin was so capable of using [these cameras] because of his job – so it was a cool opportunity that led us to what we do.
Q. What makes a great slow-mo video?
Dan: Sometimes our videos are very scientific, and we’ll discover something that might not have been seen before. Sometimes they’re just fun stunts. For instance, banging paint on a drum. It’s not scientific, it just looks cool for that split second – one that you don’t get to see in real life, but that you can see in slow motion.
Gavin: Yeah, we’re lucky enough to be able to do such a wide variety of subjects. There’s no strict rule to our channel besides shooting stuff in slow motion, so we can choose what we want.
Q. What do you think has made your creations resonate so well with viewers?
Gavin: We’re showing the audience something that they’ve seen hundreds of times, something that they can relate to, but at a much, much slower pace. There’s a lot of beauty in the world, even in normal, everyday subjects when they’re slowed down.
Dan: When we slow everyday things down, we’re showing [the audience] something they haven’t seen before. And we’re not just showing them a video; we’re presenting it and going through the experiment with them -- showing them the setup, did it go well or did it not, and anything funny that happened. We try to engage people with that as well, so it appeals to a broad audience. So it’s not just footage; it’s more engaging.
Q. What are some good examples of moments in daily life that would look great captured in slow motion with the Galaxy S9?
Gavin: I feel like even before you go to work every day, there are so many moments full of emotion. For instance, if you look at a shower, you see droplets of water turn into a stream and into beads of water. Even putting milk into your coffee or watching TV – there are so many aspects of everyday life that you usually ignore that look completely different when slowed down.
Dan: I like that the Super Slow-mo technology is built into the phone, because you could be on a jog in the park or walking your dog and think “I wonder what that looks like in slow motion,” and just whip out your phone and see for yourself. Usually, we have a huge camera that we have to setup and get everything ready for, whereas with the phone, you can just go about your day and capture slow-mo footage without needing to set anything up.
Q. What were your initial impressions of the camera?
Gavin: I particularly like what the Galaxy S9 does with auto triggering, because with high speed cameras, even ours, we can’t record for very long because it’s taking so many pictures every second that the recording time is very short. It has auto triggering so that you can put a box on the screen and, if something goes through the box, it automatically knows that that’s your slow-motion moment.
That’s very useful, especially considering that human reaction time isn’t actually very good and that 0.2 seconds goes by very fast, so that’s a great feature. We actually did one shot where we put the phone down on a table and it triggered itself when I threw water over Dan.
Dan: Yeah, there was no one touching it, and that’s a first for us. We just set it up, left it and it triggered automatically, which is really cool. It’s difficult to get [that kind of shot] manually when you don’t know what’s going to happen. So say, for instance, you’re waiting for something to burst or something to be hit or explode. If you place the box where the action is going to happen, you don’t need to worry about it, which is really, really, cool. It removes the human error part.
Q. What inspired the Super Slow-mo videos that you created with the Galaxy S9?
Dan: The idea was to show how easy it is to [film great Super Slow-mo videos] in everyday situations, so we thought, what’s around the house? We used popcorn in one of the videos and just about anything else that we could use around the house.
Q. Are there any tips that you could offer users to help them get the most out of the Super Slow-mo feature?
Gavin: I think [users] should be very experimental [with the feature], and make sure that you have a lot of light since you are taking so many pictures every second. There’s not actually a lot of light hitting the sensor for very long, so a bright environment is very good. And get someone to help you as well.
Dan: I would say that obviously since it’s a phone there’s no limit to what you can record in slow motion. You can just record whatever you want around the house, wherever you are. But it’s like Gavin said, it’s all about light. The more light you have, the easier it is.