Galaxy S9: Everything you need to know about Super Slo-Mo videos

Ready to capture 960 frame-per-second videos? Of course you are.

Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
4 min read
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The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus have an improved camera and a few new software tricks. One of those tricks is the ability to capture slow-motion videos at an incredible 960 frames per second (fps). In comparison, Apple's iPhone X maxes out at 240fps. The result is a video clip where you can see the world in a way you usually wouldn't. 

Watch this: Galaxy S9 mostly aces our real-world tests

But, as with all new features, there are a few things you need to know before diving right into using Samsung's Super Slo-Mo video mode. 

Things to consider

Recording a perfect super slow-motion video as you'd see in a Samsung commercial is going to take some patience. Many variables have to be just right, but with enough practice, you'll quickly learn the quirks of Samsung's Super Slo-Mo feature. Some important aspects to keep in mind include:

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  • Lighting: Super Slo-Mo works best in well-lit environments. You'll notice the viewfinder shows a darker image each time you switch to Super Slo-Mo in the camera app. If it's too dark, find better lighting. 
  • Timing: Super Slo-Mo takes a 0.2-second section of video and expands it to roughly 6 seconds. As such, don't try to capture something that occurs over a few seconds (like jumping off a pile of rocks), think in shorter bursts. 
  • Keep still: Buying a mobile tripod or way to hold the Galaxy S9 may not be a bad idea. Super Slo-Mo works best when your phone is entirely still, which allows the phone to detect motion and begin recording. 
  • Multiple captures: In the settings section of the camera app, set whether or not you want Super Slo-Mo to capture multiple takes or a single take. Multiple takes will use more storage space, but potentially help you capture the exact moment you intend to.

Auto capture

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By default, Super Slo-Mo in the camera app is in auto mode. You can tell by the text box next to the shutter button, and because there's a square on the screen. Auto mode works by continuously recording video, and when motion is detected within the white or gold square, Super Slo-Mo is triggered.

Thankfully, you can resize the area that your S9 is monitoring for motion. Before pressing the shutter button, long-press on the white box and then drag one of the corners to resize the area. Tap outside of the box to confirm the change.

After pressing the shutter button, the box will turn gold, and the phone will begin monitoring for motion. If the phone isn't relatively still, movement within the square could be missed, and Super Slo-Mo won't be triggered.

If you have multiple takes enabled, keep recording to allow your phone to capture more than one slow-motion clip. Press the shutter button when you're done to stop recording or monitoring for more clips.

If you have single take enabled, after the clip is captured you will need to press the shutter button again to resume monitoring for motion.

Manual capture

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One problem with auto-capture is that you can miss the exact moment you want to be slowed down due to motion triggering the clip too early. If you find this to be a common occurrence, switch to manual capture with a tap on the button labeled "Auto" next to the shutter button.

In manual mode, you tell the phone when to record a slo-mo clip with a tap on the slo-mo shutter button at just the right time. A short clip is then captured and saved to your phone.

Editing videos

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After a clip is recorded, you can edit your creation. Samsung makes it easy to find Super Slo-Mo clips in the Gallery app by using a four-circle icon on the thumbnail. Tap a thumbnail to open the clip, which will start it playing. Open the edit tools with a tap on the circle icon.

The edit tools include the ability to trim clips, change the music audio, or disable Super Slo-Mo in the clip. When done editing a clip, tap Save in the top-right corner. A new video clip will be saved to your Gallery.

What about GIFs?

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Here's where things get a bit confusing. There's another set of editing tools for Super Slo-Mo clips which result in a file that's saved as an animated image or GIF.

To access the GIF tools, open a clip and swipe up on the screen. The Gallery app then shows you where the clip was recorded, the file name, and three different GIF options: Loop, Reverse, Swing.

Tap on any one of the three options to view the clip, and all takes associated with it. Select a take with a tap on the thumbnail, and switch between the three modes with a tap on the arrow button.

When you have a GIF you like, tap Save. Now go back to the Gallery app, and the newest image will be a GIF of your Super Slo-Mo clip.

Set as lock screen

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Beyond sharing your creations, you can use one as your lock screen wallpaper as a slow animation.

Select a Super Slo-Mo clip, then tap on the three-dot menu icon > Set as Wallpaper. Only clips under 15 seconds can be used, so if the clip is longer than that, the app will ask you to trim it down until it's under the threshold.

Each time you wake your phone and view the lock screen, your clip will play. It's kind of cool but surely will have some impact on battery life.