Recurve Shot in Slow Motion

Last week I tried out the high speed camera at the outdoor range. Eventually the plan is to use this camera to analyse the dynamics of the bow and archer. So for now I’m working through the various options of what I want to shoot and the corresponding practical details. So I augmented my practice session last week by shooting some high speed footage. Focusing properly (it’s all manual) when I was effectively doing a selfie is clearly not so easy, so instead I set focus on the shooting line and recomposed to where I expected myself to be. I also wanted to keep the target in frame, so I played around with a few different options. As I was shooting at 50m, the trajectory was high enough for the arrow to go out of frame for most of the distance. Some things are hard to avoid.

The video footage was taken at 720p / 500fps, final video at 24fps. The draw is sped up by a factor of ten, for an effective 2× slow motion playback. Release and follow through at an effective 20× slow motion playback. If you watch closely you can just see the arrow hit the target at the end of the video. No need to say, this isn’t a particularly good shot. Still, you can see how the arrow bends laterally on its way to the target.

Some practical things: with our Mediterranean sun, light is not a problem – I could easily shoot at ISO 100. However, the aperture I used was still not small enough to get everything in focus. I’d rather not increase ISO, so possibly I’ll need to take the video from further away. Alternatively I’ll just set up a lot closer and focus only on the sight window. After all, for bow dynamics I’ll be mostly interested in how the arrow clears the button and rest.



      • Now that will be a great tool indeed and you can continue to monitor the effects each tweak has – you’ll be winning contests! Is that something you do by the way?

      • Thanks, yes, that’s the idea, to be able to tweak things more efficiently. Winning contests won’t happen any time soon though, I’m just not that good 🙂 To be fair I’ve only taken part in one competition so far, last year’s nationals.

      • Sometimes it is just really good to have these things as hobbies and to enjoy them. Always good to be able to introduce some technology into the equation too!

  1. Really great shot! I especially love how clearly you can see the archer’s paradox in action. It’s also interesting to see how the stabilizers and dampers are working against the movement of the bow.

    It might be interesting to try and get closer shots of the limbs to see how they vibrate on release.

    • Thanks James! Yes, that’s the idea, we really want to be able to analyse the video to help tune the bow (and the arrows, and the archer…). For now I’m trying to figure out which compositions work best.

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