iPhone 5s Test Footage – 120 fps from Rishi Kaneria on Vimeo.

Three words for VJs and visualists: shoot more footage.

You’ll find plenty of reviews of the new iPhone 5S for photography applications, but perhaps most compelling is its impressive 120-fps slow motion, which is stunning for something that’s included in a mobile phone. Overnight, the 5S has become the visualist phone of choice – that is, if you’re investing in a new phone. And I have to say, generally, while other rivals (notably Samsung and Nokia) ship phones with good optics, Apple seems to have the edge in software.

Having access to this all the time in your pocket is invaluable. But fortunately, if you are looking to capture 120 fps footage and you can’t afford a new iPhone out of contract, you have other options.

One is Sony’s latest Action Cam. It’s US$199, you can get a waterproof case for it, and you can strap it to your head – things you can’t easily do with an iPhone. And the footage looks nice enough:

That underwater dunking should yield some nice visual footage.

There are other options, too; The Guardian’s Ask Jack blog offers advice.

  • Freeks

    You need quite expensive lighting systems to make iPhone slowmo to look good. Check the videos without expensive lights and you see how low quality it actually is. Even the ones shot in the daylight. Your example is well lit studio setup that makes anything look good 😀

    • Etienne Jacquemart

      You are absolutely right! The slo-mo quality is really low, far from what a real 720p footage could be. I’m even pretty sure it’s actually a native 480p upsampled. Or the compression is very strong, to allow buffering. I suspect it is both ! So in the end, it’s still better to use the native 1080 60p flow and slow it with a good software program, using optical flow.

      • Erick R Wilczynski

        You need a lot of light for any high speed or over crank. If you know anything about a film camera then you’d understand why.

        Etienne the iphone 120fps is 720p not upsampled. Slowing the footage down will not look as good as capturing the extra frames. I have no idea why 1080p 60fps would seem better to you than twice the frames @ 720 120fps. Resolution between 720 and 1080 is not very relevant as all DSLRS and a lot of prosumer cameras shoot slomo at 720 and most often your final output is going to be web based. The biggest problem you’ll have is the bitrate which most affects your grading.

        Read the article, it’s good.



  • jc

    Is the output quality the same for 120 fps as regular video? Many cameras have a slow-motion function (my Olympus SZ31 will do 240 fps) but at lower quality (VGA).

  • Galaxy

    The S4 captured 120FPSlong before Iphone