More cool rolling shutter effects

Last week, Mark posted a shot of a boy blinking in a photo but with his eyes open in a reflection.

In the comments, several people explained that this was a rolling shutter effect. You can get something similar panning many DLSR cameras too quickly back and forth, causing a "jello" effect on solid objects. Commenter knodi shared a still of his propeller showing the same effect. You can get the same trippy effect in video based on the frame rate, as seen in Steve Talkowski's video above.


  1. As a high school teacher I showed this to my students today, and they were super baffled. And as I couldnt really explain what caused this, some students got a little upset. :) Nice to see kids reacting this way to an “effect” thats not done in post production.

  2. In one of Ansell Adam’s photography books there’s an early photo of a moving rally car with the shutter moving vertically, so the car’s leaning forward – the sense of movement is more intuitive than motion blur.

    The most extreme for this is an adapted faltbed scanner attached to an old view camera. Check out this guy’s galleries [probably I saw them here first] …
    … for seriously slow rolling shutter plus genuine tilt-shift.

  3. And that, kids, is why you should always say no when the hipster “creative” suggests shooting the spot on his iPhone.

  4. I’ve often wondered why I haven’t heard people remark on this obvious artifact on the screen. Turn on the iPhone’s camera, for example; move or wiggle it, and straight lines become curved. It’s a bit nauseating to me.

  5. great to see a moving version of this – i have a folder with stills that i collected for a while.

    here’s another one – same but different:

  6. Another interesting artifact is seen when taking a digital photograph of a scene where other people are taking flash photos from an angle incident to where you’re standing: you can get a photo where the top is perfectly normal and the lower half is showing the flash.

    The first time I saw it I thought: “Wtf? What’s this?”. Caused me a few seconds of headscratching.

    And try taking a few shots of a dead fire. The ccd picks up on the infrared light and the embers glow white on your camera, even if you can’t see them in visible light.

  7. that is the coolest thing i’ve seen in a long time.
    it’s like i’m a flatlander flying through spaceland.

  8. And this is why I lament the slow transition from CCD to CMOS. There has been some work to mitigate the problem, but any camera with a CMOS chipset can produce that effect to varying degrees under certain circumstances. Global shutters for me.

  9. My dad described to me a type of camera that was used to take the group photos at his school – all the students standing in a row only two or three deep. The camera basically panned across the scene while advancing the film at the same rate, so as to produce a long, narrow group photo without a bunch of ground and sky that would need cropping out.

    The thing apparently moved slowly enough that kids would sometimes try to run across behind the group and join the far end, evading the teachers who couldn’t jump in for fear of ruining the shot, so as to appear twice in the same portrait

  10. Hey check your links. On the main page the video displayed and linked to is for some school project about Graboids. While interesting and well done in it’s own right, it is completely not what I was expecting. Clicking through to the thread page seems to have the right video.

    Or, April Fools comes a little late this year.

    Link to main page vid. –

    1. Um, okay. I guess I look a little crazy at this point as the “gremlins” seem to have duped me. All seems to be well now, carry on. Silly me. (Though if anybody would care to explain to me what just happened I would be most happy.)

      Oh and @dragonfrog, when my junior high class took a trip to DC ages ago they took our photo with one of those cameras. Only difference was that one of us was actually selected to run from the start to the finish as a sort of Easter egg. It was a tradition of sorts. Good times.

      1. Gremlins here too. The video I got was different though. Darth Vader Tai Chi.

        Thought it was meant as a joke at first.

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