# Speeded-Up motion in movies NOT for comic purposes

The TV show “the Americans” made interesting use of speed-up for a dream sequence.

Just some context: FBI Agent Stan Beeman worked in counter-intelligence and had a long-range mission to root out some Soviet spies (“illegals”). He worked with a woman named Martha who had been duped into covertly providing intel to the very same illegals for a long time.

Eventually, Stan caught onto Martha and exposed her. Before that happened however, there was an episode in which Stan was in the midst of a dream sequence about another matter. He was dreaming that he was at the FBI office and Martha was in the background. During this sequence, Martha’s actions (and ONLY her actions) were subtly speeded up – not to a “Benny Hill” level of speed, but enough that she was clearly out of synch with everyone else in the same room. This was a subtle hint that Stan already suspected something was off about Martha and he was suspicious of her, even if only subconsciously, long before he actually confided to his partner that he thought she was “dirty.”

Fight scenes in recent action movies are often sped up, or alternately sped up and slowed down. I can’t point to any exact examples off the top of my head, but I know Wonder Woman did the slo-mo thing, and I think then went into sped-up mode (though it might have just been back to normal speed, and thus felt sped up.)

^ “300” was chock-full of that.

(Insert Chuck Norris meme here)

Example 1: A person drops a hammer or other heavy object at shoulder height. The time it will take to hit the ground is t = sqrt(2h/g), so if the dropping is being done under 1/6 gravity, it’ll take sqrt(6) times as long to hit the ground.

Example 2: A pendulum of length l is swinging. The period of the pendulum is T = 2π*sqrt(l/g), so if it’s swinging under 1/6 gravity, it’ll take sqrt(6) times as long to make a complete swing.

Likewise for absolutely any motion involving gravity: They’ll all be slowed down, by the same factor of sqrt(6). And there are a lot of motions that humans (or Na’vi) make that involve gravity. Most of them aren’t as clean and controlled as a dropping hammer or a swinging pendulum, but they all have timescales associated with them, and all of those timescales involve g.

To clarify, the motions under discussion here are only the vertical accelerations, i.e. any movement due to gravity. If an astronaut were unimpeded by a bulky/rigid spacesuit, they could run on level ground in reduced gravity at least as fast as they can in earth gravity (though they might take longer to reach top speed because of reduced traction).

ISTR that when the Mythbusters guys took on the Apollo hoax, they demonstrated that recording an astronaut bounding along in earth gravity and then viewing it at reduced playback speed does not match the kinematics exhibited by the Apollo astronauts - and they also showed that when flying a “lunar gravity” profile on the Vomit Comet, their walking kinematics did nicely match the Apollo astronauts.

Those are both examples of a Jedi power that’s known (in Expanded Universe / game jargon) as “Force Speed.” But, yeah, there’s probably no good way to portray it on screen that doesn’t look cartoony / sped up.

I just watched the seminal safari film, Trader Horn, and some chase sequences were speeded-up to make things look more hectic. I was particularly impressed with one brief shot of a guy being rammed by a rhino; later on I discovered that that was for real, and the man died. :eek:

An astronaut (in an enclosed base, so not needing to worry about a bulky suit) might be able to run as fast as a human on Earth, or possibly even faster, but they’re not going to do it in the same way as a runner on Earth. It’ll still look different and wrong, because there are still vertical components to the motion. You could even put a lead vest on the astronaut, unrestrictive but heavy enough that his total weight is the same as on Earth, and he’ll still run differently.

I think Mad Max has a couple scenes sped up.

The sped up sex scene in A Clockwork Orange. I guess it’s arguable if it was used for comedic intent but it is certainly not an obvious joke if it was.

I came in here just to mention that. I’m glad I’m not the only one who remembered that sequence. I could never really tell if it was for “comedy” or “to throw the viewer off”, but I lean towards the latter. It’s very weird and unusual for such an effect to be used in a one-off manner like that. The very strange synthesizer score, by an Italian composer named Pino Donaggio, adds to it as well.

There is a lot of that going on in, “Carrie”: funny and unsettling at the same time. DePalma really worked his ass off on that one, IMHO.

George Miller has done this with all his Mad Max films. Speeding up and slowing down the shots. Even the most recent Fury Road. It’s part of his editing style and they said very very little of Fury Road is actually seen at normal speed.

“(Indiana Jones and the) Raiders of the Lost Ark,” has at least one sped-up scene: Indy being dragged behind the truck by his whip and working his way up and under to the front. It’s about 95% seamless. But not really.

Lots of old westerns used sped-up footage of horses galloping to make chase scenes look more dramatic.