A GoPro spinning at 1800rpm looks like it’s entering a wormhole into another universe

Photography – January 6, 2020 by John Aldred 

It’s difficult to come up with original GoPro footage these days. Everything’s just been done. But this is something I haven’t seen before. YouTuber Mr. Michal secured what looks like a GoPro Hero 7 Silver one into his lathe and spun it at various speeds up to 1800 revolutions per minute.

At slower speeds, it looks pretty cool, like a handheld motorised gimbal in “vertigo” mode. As the speed increases, though, so does the nausea factor. But at certain rpms, you see the rotational speed sync up with the frame rate and the shutter speed and it gets pretty interesting. At 1800rpm it gets very cool.

The video starts off fairly tame, spinning at a modest 14rpm. Then it goes up to 22,rpm then 35rpm and by 56rpm it’s already starting to feel a little dizzying. At 90rpm you’ll definitely want to be sitting down and by 112rpm it’s already starting to look a bit of a mess. But on he goes through 140rpm, 180, 224, 280, 355, 450, 560, and 710 until we start to see things sync up around 900rpm. After brief stints at 1140rpm and 1200rpm, we finally reach 1800rpm.

It’s certainly not your standard way of moving a camera, and it bothers me somewhat that it wasn’t positioned in the lathe jaws centred around the axis of the lens, but rather central to the whole camera. Of course, if the lens had been centred, it probably would’ve thrown the balance of the whole thing off and wouldn’t be able to get up to that speed and stay stable.

It would be interesting to see footage with the shutter speed and framerate manually adjusted at different RPMs to see how it affects the weird warping effects and the different patterns it would produce as everything syncs up. Shooting at a high 240fps frame rate (he’d have to switch to a Hero 8 Black, of course) with moving subjects in front and slowing it down to 24fps on playback could also make for some very interesting footage.

It’s maybe worth mentioning that you probably shouldn’t try this at home.

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