The Science Behind Why Pictures of Moving Objects Look Extremely Droopy

The rolling shutter effect created by the chip inside your smartphone causes your pictures to look like they came out of a Dali painting.
Jessica Miley

Ever taken a video of a moving object on your smartphone but ended up with something from a Dali painting? All droopy propellers, skewed angles, and twisted coins? What you are seeing is the rolling shutter effect created by the chip inside your smartphone.

Let me start from the top. Your typical smartphone camera works not by opening and closing a shutter like the way the sound makes you think. What is actually happening is that the chip that makes up the camera is being exposed by being scanned top to bottom. This is known as the rolling shutter effect. Effectively it is taking many images one after another as the scan occurs.  

Destin, the brains behind the genius “Smarter Every Day” YouTube Channel goes into serious detail about how this works.  And it is fascinating. You really need the visuals to totally get what is actually happening every time you press record, so take the time to watch the video to the end. Destin and his buddies explain just how the camera works, what that effect is and why it turns your fidget spinner into ‘the thing’ by building a model in After Effects.

If you are looking for a new addictive science and engineering base channel, this one's a winner. Destin has such a sweet demeanor and his enthusiasm for his video topics is infectious. Once you’ve got your brain around the rolling shutter effect, turn your attention to the backwards bike phenomenon!