This video opens in an empty lot. Why does Gav have a fire extinguisher? Why is he completely suited up and wearing protection googles? Gav and Dan have decided to shoot a flame thrower into the sky and play it back in slow motion, for our benefit. At the end, Dan says, "It's more fun than the most fun you could ever have."
The Slow Mo Guys, Gavin Free and Daniel Guchy "Gav and Dav", have been uploading videos since 2010. The web series won a Webby Award, is updated weekly, and shows the duo doing everything from vomiting to exploding buildings in slow motion. Both are British but moved to Austin, Texas in 2013 and have over seven million subscribers.
They make their films using special cameras at very high frame rates and then play the footage back at regular frame rates like 25-30 frames per second. For those who want to know how it is done, each video includes a short "making of" segment, where they discuss how they are going to set up and what angles they are going to shoot from, before they actually show the slow motion footage.
Slowing down the footage to ambient music almost creates an ethereal effect, like a sort of visual poem. You are drawn into it even if you don't want to. However, as you see plumes of black smoke dissipate into the atmosphere, it is a reminder of how wasteful the activity actually is.
Inspired by a photo from Reddit, like a lot of their videos are, here Dan plays "Jelly Tennis" which essentially means lobbing jelly into the air before smashing it away. Gav comments on the event, "They look like little gummy worms, do you reckon that's how they make them in factories?". However the duo feel that having Dan simply hit the jelly is not enough. So Gav chucks it through the racket straight at him.
Because the activities involved are by their very nature sort of childish, the selling point of the videos is that you get to experience things that you normally would not think of doing. If they were shot with a normal camera, at normal frame rates, the activities wouldn't be half as fun or look half as beautiful.
As Dan bangs the top of the drum covered in different colours, the joy of their channel is fully realised. Most people wouldn't have thought to themselves, "You know what I really want is to watch colours explode from a drum in slow motion." Or, "My life is good right now but what it what would make it great would be to see some guys bang drums at high frame rates." But when it happens, it just makes a strange kind of sense.
This is largely a video about Dan being unable to get inside a six-feet-tall balloon – so they can fill it with air and pop it while he is inside. Says Gav, "Oddly, out of all the videos we have made, I don't think I have ever seen Dan in this much pain." When they eventually succeed, it is a bit of an anti-climax, but what makes it worth it is seeing Dan wincing in slow motion as the balloon bursts around him.
And this is what could possibly be the duo's best video. In contrast to the others, this one is shot at night. It's a simple idea: on a dark night in their backyard, they set fire to wire wool, attach a piece of wire to it and spin it round and round, flinging sparks in every direction. The final outcome almost has the feel of a sequence from a (admittedly gimmicky) Terrence Malik movie.
"At one point, you splashed me with 500 sparks in the face," Gav tells his partner.
"Really enjoyed that, that was good fun", Dan responds.