Skip to main content

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, 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

If you’re wondering how Dr Smith 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. That’s 480,000fps! For more bug’s-eye-view videos, visit the Ant Lab YouTube channel.

Read more: 

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

Mike Harris

Mike is technique editor for N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine, and spends most of his time shooting skills articles and begging for more external storage. He's worked for a variety of publications over the years and was formerly the production editor for Wex Photo Video’s content marketing team. An avid motorsport photographer, you’re likely to find him (and his trusty Nikon D800) at racing events across the country.