The Slow Mo Guys is a Webby Award-nominated science and technology entertainment web series created by Gavin Free, starring himself and Daniel Gruchy and produced by Rooster Teeth Productions. It has been described as the biggest channel for slow motion videos on YouTube.
The series consists of a wide variety of things filmed in extreme slow motion using a range of Vision Research Phantom high-speed cameras, capable of shooting over 343,000 frames per second. The series premiered on 3 November 2010. As of August 2016, their YouTube channel has over 8.3 million subscribers and over 977 million video views.
In 2007, Gavin Free joined Green Door Films, the first production house in Europe to utilize Phantom digital high-speed cameras as a source of slow motion, working as a Data Technician and Camera Operator. He began working on adverts, music videos, and films such as Hot Fuzz. In 2008, he was hired to direct the seventh season of the Rooster Teeth machinima series Red vs. Blue. Afterwards, he had decided to make a move to Austin, Texas and work full-time for Rooster Teeth. He then created The Slow Mo Guys along with friend Daniel Gruchy in order to get a work visa.
Free and Gruchy met while working in a Waitrose in their home county of Oxfordshire. The Slow Mo Guys, featuring slow motion footage of various pranks and stunts of the pair, has garnered millions of views since it launched in 2010. According to Free, the name partially comes from a comment Richard Hammond made on the set of Top Gear.
"[Richard] Hammond was the first person to ever refer to me as a "slow mo guy" because he knew there was a high-speed camera on the shoot that we were doing, which was him going around in a Formula 1 car. And he hopped over the wall as we were setting up the Phantom... he said, "oh you must be the slow mo guys," and I thought that sounds pretty good."
In April 2011, the channel was voted the winner of YouTube's On The Rise program, which highlights up-and-coming YouTube partners on the homepage. In September 2012, their episode involving crushing watermelons was featured on The Tonight Show.
On 20 February 2013, Free confirmed that the series had been picked up by Rooster Teeth and that further episodes of the series would be released on Rooster Teeth's website, as well as the series' existing YouTube channel. A best of compilation was released by Rooster Teeth Productions for home video on 10 September 2013.
In January 2014, in collaboration with GE Global Research, the R&D division of General Electric, they released a video showcasing the company's latest innovations, including superhydrophobic surfaces and how magnetic nanoparticles behave like liquid magnets. Two additional videos featuring them demonstrating MEMS and "cold spray" 3D painting technology were also released on the official GE YouTube channel.
The series has been featured as part of YouTube's "Rewind" year-in-review video in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
The cameras used by the Slow Mo Guys are all produced by Vision Research Phantom. The first few videos were produced using a Phantom HD Gold high speed camera. The majority of the Slow Mo Guys videos were produced using a Phantom Flex camera, capable of filming 2500 frames per second (fps) at 1080p video resolution, 5000 fps at 720p, and 10000 fps at 480p. Finally, a Phantom V1610 was used to produce the fastest videos in the series, filming 18000 fps at 720p and even higher speeds at lower resolutions. The 'slow motion' effect arises when events filmed at such high frame-rates are played back at conventional playback speeds (usually 25 or 30 fps). For example, a video filmed at 2500 fps and played back at 25 fps lasts 100 times longer than the original event, and is hence perceived as 100 times slower. Lately they have acquired a new camera called the Phantom V2511 which is capable of shooting 30,000 fps at 720p resolution and 1,000,000 FPS at a 128x32 resolution.