Another camera technique experiment!  First, take a look:

This is testing something I saw on one of the many how-to videos out there.  The basic idea is that you can get a ghost look by playing with shutter speeds and frame rates.

That turned out to be a bit harder than expected with the Canon 5D mk III, which is what I use for most of my video.  The Canon has a fairly limited set of frame rates available, ranging from 24 to 60 frames per second (fps).  24 just isn’t slow enough to get a good ghost effect.

Magic Lantern to the rescue!  Magic Lantern is a terrific bit of software.  Basically, a guy managed to hack the Canon camera firmware and add a number of useful features.  I recommend it if you are doing video on a Canon DSLR.  It has a number of cool tools that Canon should have added, things like zebras and automated rack focus.

One of those is extra-slow frame rates, down to around 0.25 fps.  Yeah, that’s slow.  In the video above, you see the impact of 1 to 4 fps.  Finally, I filmed a version of what I did at normal speed so you can see what was happening at real-time.

For the 1 and 2 fps versions, I also did versions slowed in post so that the blur was still good but the motion was as super-fast.  My favorite of all of them was 2 fps slowed, though I also liked the 1 fps slowed.  They both had nice ghostly effects, with some added interesting jumpiness due to the slowdown.

Within Magic Lantern, I used the FPS Override feature.  I set it to optimize for low light – without setting it that way, I got no blurs.  The optimize for low light sets the shutter speed to the same as the FPS which produced the nice blurs.

A couple links:

  • Magic Lantern Software
  • Different Ways to use Shutter Speed from Pro Video Tips with Anthony Q. Artis.  This is available from, which charges.  The description of how to do the blur in the video isn’t completely clear – it wasn’t clear to me that he was using a slow FPS as well as shutter speed, but experimenting made that clear.