Shooting Slow Motion on Sony PMW200 camera

I don’t usually shoot slow motion. Way too trendy for me, ha ha; but occasionally it seems like a useful choice.

I haven’t been using my Sony PMW200 camera long, and haven’t explored all its features thoroughly. It has been touted as capable of shooting slow and quick motion. So, is it any good?

The short answer is, yes … sort of … maybe. If you can work with the limitations.

Pros: It works.

Cons: The range of available slow motion is extremely limited – as others have pointed out. You can’t shoot in 1080 format – has to be 720. You have to use UDF format on Sony’s SxS cards. Won’t work on SD Card adapters. And the available frame rate is limited to 1-60. In other words, maximum overcranking is twice normal speed.

That’s enough to get a pleasing floaty effect. There are examples posted by others on the web. It looks good – much better than speed changing standard footage within your NLE. But if want to shoot ‘bullet time’, look elsewhere!

So, I have been shooting everything in 1920×1080, 23.97p.

Here is my suggested workflow for using a PMW200 camera to get basic slow motion shots into your project. Bear in mind that you can also do this with PAL 25P projects, but you need to change the camera format etc accordingly. The recipe below is for a project using ProRes1920×1080, 23.97p, editing with Final Cut Pro 7.



1. Select UDF for card setting (Can only use SxS cards)


2.  in OTHERS menu, select NTSC Area, and choose HD422 50/720/23.98P


3. CAMERA SET menu, select S&Q Motion, set frame rate to 60 (or anywhere between 30-60 for slowed motion, 1-30 for quick to normal), and switch setting ON. Beware … it switches itself OFF when camera is powered down.




1. transfer footage from card to computer as normal, using SONY CONTENT BROWSER


(select preferences to change destination of media, then highlight clips for transfer and select Import to FCP in Clip menu.


2. Create Project in FCP Pro Res 1280×720, 24P


3. Import clips you created in Step 1 above into FCP. Then Export to Quicktime to create ProRes 1920×1080 24P file.

4. Import these converted files into a ProRes 1920 x 1080 24p project (essentially this is your master project) and edit freely.


I THINK!!!!  I take no responsibility for wrong turns and dead ends. This works for me.

Good luck.

About Costa Botes

I'm a freelance film maker based in Wellington, New Zealand. I make mainly long form independent documentaries about characters I find interesting.
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