Time is a relative thing. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity said (among other things) that the passage of time can appear to be different between two observers depending one their particular situation (where they are standing relative to the object they are observing and how fast they are moving themselves).
How we perceive time has mostly to do with how our brains process incoming information. One study done by scientists at Ireland’s Trinity College Dublin found that smaller animals perceive more information per unit of time than larger animals — they see in slow-motion. Anyone who has seen the "Matrix" movies knows how this works. As Neo learns to harness his extraordinary abilities of Matrix manipulation, he’s able to slow time down enough to dodge bullets flying towards him. While it’s not exactly the same for a fly dodging an incoming newspaper, the principle’s close enough.
Slow-motion cameras use this same technique to record the world in front of their lenses. By capturing and processing more of the protons streaming in through the lens than conventional cameras, slow-motion cameras can slow down their subjects and show what the world would look like if you had Neo’s powers.
While cameras that can accomplish this amazing feat of proton capturing are certainly not cheap, advances in technology has driven their price down to a level affordable by any halfway busy film production company. While it will still be some time until your mom and dad are capturing your birthday parties in the glory of 1,000 frames per second, we’re not that far off.
In the meantime, we can enjoy the myriad of high-resolution, slow-motion videos popping up all over video sites like YouTube and Vimeo.
We waded into the sea of slow-motion videos available right now and picked out 10 of our favorites for you to enjoy.
Want to watch more slow-motion videos? Check out these posts on MNN: