Watch an insect take flight at an insane 3,200fps!

It seems to take an awful lot of effort for this charming rhubarb-and-custard colored rosy maple moth to get airborne. (Image credit: YouTube: AntLab)

Slow-motion is one of the most fascinating forms of video around, and YouTuber Dr Adrian Smith has put it to good use in one of his latest videos. Dr Smith used a high-speed camera to capture super slow-motion footage of an array of six-legged subjects, including a painted lichen moth, a mayfly and a rather disobedient plume moth. 

The video was posted on the NC Museum of Natural Sciences’ channel Ant Lab (opens in new tab), and the unassuming subjects were selected having been attracted to a blacklight that Dr Smith set up. As he mentions in the video: “I’ve just been trying to find the most interesting insects I could, and film them in a way that I don’t think anybody else has.” 

• Read more: Best 4K camera for filmmaking (opens in new tab)

If you’re wondering how Dr Smith (opens in new tab) managed to capture such fast-paced flapping, he used a Phantom Miro LC321S. This high-speed camera boasts an eye-watering maximum framerate of 3,271fps – the doctor captured his eclectic roster of subjects at 3,200fps. To put things into perspective, the video mentions how the common eastern firefly (AKA lightning bug) flaps its wings a whopping 62 times per second. But footage of the agile mini-beast is slowed right down so you can witness every single beat.

The filming took place in Dr Smith’s laundry room and the rest of his setup comprised a LAOWA 60mm f/2.8 macro lens with a reproduction ratio of 2:1, two LED panels, a focusing rack and an articulating arm mount. To date the video has tallied over 130,000 views and 1.9K likes.

But if you thought 3,200fps was fast, another video on the channel features 16,000x slow-motion footage of the snap-jaw ant (opens in new tab). That’s 480,000fps! For more bug’s-eye-view videos, visit the Ant Lab YouTube channel (opens in new tab).

Read more: 

This cool slow-mo video will make you want drop everything (opens in new tab)
The best macro lenses (opens in new tab) in 2020
Laowa launches 50mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO (opens in new tab)

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Mike Harris
Technique Editor

Mike is Technique Editor for N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab), and brings with him over 10 years experience writing both freelance and for some of the biggest specialist publications. Prior to joining N-Photo Mike was the production editor for the content marketing team of Wex Photo Video, the UK’s largest online specialist photographic retailer, where he sharpened his skills in both the stills and videography spheres.  

While he’s an avid motorsport photographer, his skills extend to every genre of photography – making him one of Digital Camera World’s top tutors for techniques on cameras, lenses, tripods, filters and other imaging equipment, as well as sharing his expertise on shooting everything from portraits and landscapes to astracts and architecture to wildlife and, yes, fast things going around race tracks.