First Click: Slow motion fireworks are great, but the sounds are even better

July 6th, 2015


People love slow motion. It’s the video equivalent of Penn and Teller pulling back the curtain to reveal the trick behind the magic. The Slow Mo Guys is one of several YouTube channels dedicated to the art form, where you can study all kinds of general mayhem slowed down just because we can and we should.

Consumer-based slow motion gained a foothold around 2008 when Casio began introducing the feature in its point-and-shoot cameras. It took another five years before smartphones like the iPhone 5S, Galaxy S4, and Moto X would adopt slo-mo as standard, and a few more before the videos could be easily shared on services like Vine and Instagram. Twitter finally added support in April — just in time for the 4th of July fireworks celebrations in the US. That makes America's 239th birthday the slo-moiest yet.

Searching Twitter for "slo-mo" and "fireworks" yields some gloriously poky audio and video examples captured by real Americans. Thrilling pyrotechnics accompanied by the disembodied pops and booms of a D-Day invasion. The oohs and aahs of spectators are transformed into ridiculous biomechanical sounds, as if Michael Bay had recorded Optimus Prime wrestling a sperm whale. Or as Brandon Parks noted in his video above, "pretty sure that I’ve recorded the mating call of a Sasquatch."

Five stories to start your day

  1. Instagram photos are now bigger — if you know where to look

    Just over a week ago, I wrote plaintively about Instagram's archaic 640 x 640 resolution and the need to move with the times and give users the ability to upload larger images. This past Friday, it appears, Instagram has started addressing that very issue, as photos sent to the popular image sharing app are now being stored in a higher 1080 x 1080 size.

  2. Amazon says 20th birthday celebration will be bigger than Black Friday

    To celebrate its 20th birthday, Amazon is introducing Prime Day, a "global shopping event" that the retail giant says will offer more deals than Black Friday. The deals will become available at midnight ET on July 15th, but will only be available to Amazon Prime customers in the US, the UK, Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, and Austria.

  3. Watch The Simpsons fuse with Akira in the first Bartkira trailer

    The Simpsons and Akira are just about the world's most influential works of animation. They're very different in tone — one a show about a loving, dysfunctional family, one a movie about a rampaging and remorseful blob — but that hasn't stopped a set of animators smashing them together in a new mash-up trailer for "Bartkira."

  4. 1,776 times American aircraft did something completely badass

    What you're about to see below are five situations where American aircraft, built from pure, unfiltered freedom and liberty by freedom-loving Americans (and other good people around the world), did something so amazing and incredible that you can basically hear Lee Greenwood's God Bless The USA playing inside your brain as you watch.

  5. This 3D-printed walking tank is the world’s ultimate toy

    When does a toy stop being a toy and become something altogether more impressive? It's a difficult distinction to make, but the HMC Boudicca — a 20-inch tall scale model of a multistory walking tank — certainly crosses the line for us. Assembled from 400 hand-painted, 3D-printed parts, and outfitted with Arduino-controlled motors, servos, and LEDs, the Boudicca is an undeniably impressive labor of love. Oh, and it's also available to buy if you've got $5,000 to spare.

Patriot of the day