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Filming Frito Lay

Filming Potato Chips at 1,000 Frames Per Second

FritoLay_LR_16_UltimateFactoriesIII.jpg

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JAMES BALL

Minseok Cho, Production Coordinator

Published

This is the first experience I've had with a Phantom camera, and what did I get to shoot?  Potato chips.  I didn't know how much work went into shooting at over 1000 frames per second, all I know is that when done right, the footage looks amazing, and that's exactly what we achieved.  Our goal was to capture potato chips falling en masse, a single chip and then chips being poured into a bowl. On paper it sounded pretty simple, but something that should have only taken a couple hours ended up taking all day. Trying to devise a way to have potato chips fall evenly is a greasy and almost impossible endeavor. We tried tossing chips, pouring them out of bags, out of a box and finally off of a stainless steel board.

One of the more difficult aspects of the Phantom is its limited shoot time based on the increase of how many frames per second it shoots.  We only had a four-second window to pour the chips out evenly and make them fall exactly where needed, so that the correct chips were in focus. The steel board allowed us to pour the chips evenly. We realized that any other medium of pouring just made the chips bunch up and fall out all at once, but once we got the technique down, the footage looked amazing.

We were able to see the results of our hard work immediately on the field monitor, and it was instant gratification. It may not have been perfect every time, but it was great to be able to watch what we shot soon after we recorded.  If you've never done so, I highly recommend taking the chance to work with a Phantom camera.

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