Experiments in Temporal Aliasing

A Side Project

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Project Details

Temporal Aliasing: a visual phenomenon that occurs when continuous motion is represented by a series of short or instantaneous samples.

In this example, we shot time-lapse photography of a stream of water at half-second intervals. While this effect has been demonstrated many times over as a science experiment very little has been done to show the creative potential. This is intended as a proof of concept video and not a polished piece, but as time allows we hope to pursue this concept further.

This test was made possible by the Dynamic Perception MX2 Timelapse Controller. Click on the additional info below for all the geeky details.


Additional Info - Click to expand

Two things excited me about using the the Dynamic Perception dolly to achieve this effect.

First is the ability to not have to create the effect in real time. The stroboscopic effect was famously demonstrated by Harold Edgeton’s “Piddler” with an oscillating pump and a high powered strobe pulsing at a high frequency. To do this, Edgerton invented the electronic stroboscope that could pulse at 60Hz. Not being a genius that can design and build my own stroboscope (or afford one for that matter) I opted instead for standard photography strobes. These can’t operate at 60Hz, but with the MX2 I don’t need them to. The effect can be photographed at much lower frequencies so long as it is in phase with the pump.

Second was the possibility of incorporating motion controlled dolly movement into what would appear to be shot in super slow motion. I have been working with high speed cameras for some time now and one of the big (expensive) limitations is the ability to move the camera quickly and precisely enough to play back at normal speed. By treating this as a time lapse, movement was no longer an issue. Not only that, but the dolly is precise enough to act as a motion control dolly (another very expensive item) for repeated passes.

The first three shots are from my first successful test of this concept. I didn’t take the time to shoot background plates which is why all that ugly mounting hardware is visible. The fourth shot is from a more recent test where I took the time to shoot background plates to remove all the hardware. Unfortunately, the strobe I used in that test was not as consistent and didn’t produce as much usable footage.

Technical Specs: Canon 5DmkII w/ 24-105mm f/4 + 
MX2 Timelapse Controller & Stage Zero Timelapse Dolly

“Part 12”
Artist: Sixtoo
Jackals and Vipers In Envy of Man