Brain Pickings

From Jell-O to Ballet, 7 Ordinary Things is Extraordinary Slow-Motion


What German ballet has to do with tea parties, eagleowls, and the hidden beauty of pollination.

When Proust observed that “the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes,” he was, of course, being most metaphorical. But, had he lived on to see today, he might have marveled at the way in which our literal “new eyes,” in the form of bleeding-edge camera technology, have enabled us to explore new horizons of perception. Gathered here are seven short films of everyday objects seen in ultra-slow-motion to a striking effect that fascinates, inspires awe, and challenges our most basic assumptions about objects, materials, time, and the fabric of reality.


Pure mesmerism: Jell-O bouncing at 6200 frames per second, a teaser for Nathan Myhrvold’s Modernist Cuisine, one of the 11 best food books of 2011.


Vibration materializes in this footage filmed on a Phantom HD Gold camera at 1000 frames per second.

The Kid Should See This


To take your breath away, Marina Kanno and Giacomo Bevilaqua of Staatsballett Berlin perform several exquisite jumps captured at 1000 frames per second.

Swiss Miss


Exploding eggs, shattering porcelain, and other tea party destruction delights shot with a Phantom Flex camera at a frame rate between 3,200 to 6,900 frames per second.


What buildup, what visceral crescendo in the last five seconds. Show on Photron Full HD High Speed Camera SA2 at 1000 frames per second.


A spellbinding, sculptural water drop shot at 5000 frames per second with the Phantom Flex camera.



Originally featured here in January, alongside Louie Schwartzberg’s chill-inducing TEDxSF talk, this mesmerizing montage of high-speed images reveals the intricate beauty of pollination in a teaser for Schwartzberg’s film, Wings of Life. Pickings has a free weekly newsletter and people say it’s cool. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s what to expect. Like? Sign up.

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