Slow Motion and other Techniques of Apollo Camera Work

Wolfgang G. Gasser

Original discussion: International Skeptics Forum, Camera Work of Apollo 17

#26  –  2016-12-07

After having (more or less superficially) watched several Apollo videos (due to thread Athletics Records on the Moon), I conclude that it would have been quite easy to fake such films on Earth. The fact that on the moon there is 83% weightlessness with respect to Earth does not show up in the films.

Unfortunately, by slowing down a film by factor 1/√6 we can "simulate" lunar gravity (being 1/6 of terrestrial). Both downwards and upwards accelerations are then reduced to 1/6 (and all velocities are reduced to 1/√6). That upwards accelerations of the astronauts are substantially smaller than on Earth can be explained by hinting at the mass of Apollo space suits. When running, mass resp. inertia of space suits would have limited only acceleration and deceleration, but not achievable velocity. Yet it makes sense to assume that for safety reasons they did not run fast or jump high.

Even if by intuition it reminds me of a fake, rationally (at least until now) I cannot consider the film material of Apollo either proof for or against the truth of Apollo. But I'm still convinced that my arguments presented in The Apollo Space Program – A gigantic conspiracy? are relevant.

Lukraak_Sisser in #11:

What I keep wondering is why are some people so obsessed with proving the Apollo missions wrong?

Try a thought experiment: Assume a hypothetical world where the Apollo program actually has been faked and where you know that it has been faked. How would you react?

#58  –  2016-12-09

Slowvehicle in #36:

Describe what aspect of the visible behaviour of dust is accentuated by slow motion; and why it makes accusations of "faking it on a sound stage" patently silly.

Do you know a concrete example? And if yes, how do you know that what you see in such an Apollo video actually is dust which should be relevantly influenced by the atmosphere? Apart from "atmospheric friction", granular material on the moon behaves in the same way as on Earth when filmed and slowed down to 1/√6 ≈ 41%. Granular material stirred up by the lunar rover would rise six times higher on the moon than on Earth in case of identical speed.

If we throw a heavy object vertically upwards at a speed of v = 10 m/s on Earth (where g ≈ 10 m/s2), the object will decelerate within t = 1 sec to v = 0 m/s and reach a max height of h = 5 m, since vmax = g ∙ t and h = ½ vmax ∙ t = ½ g ∙ t2. If we did the same within lunar gravity, the object would decelerate within 6 sec from 10 m/s to 0 m/s and reach a height of 30 m.

In order to simulate such a lunar upwards throw of 30 m on Earth, we would have to use a throw-speed of √6 ∙ 10 m/s ≈ 24.5 m/s instead of 10 m/s. An increase in speed by factor √6 leads to an energy increase by factor 6, which is necessary for compensating 6 times higher potential energy at a height of 30 m.

We can transform this terrestrial vertical throw

by slowing down to 1/√6 (i.e. one recording-second dilated to 2.45 viewer-seconds) to this lunar throw:

It is difficult to find Apollo film sequences where it is easy to count steps or jumps and estimate speed. The astronauts avoid regular, normal movements. The best sequence of Apollo 11 I could find is from Apollo 11 - Raw 16mm footage (uncut), from 15:00 to 21:00, especially at 17:45.

It seems obvious that this Apollo 11 stuff has been filmed under terrestrial and not lunar gravity. The whole looks strange because it has been captured at a very low frame rate but is shown at "fast motion". The movements of the astronauts are quite unnatural (like in old films of Charlie Chaplin).

In case of Apollo 12 the problem of lunar gravity was primarily resolved in this way:

"A few minutes later Houston reported that the camera was not working. Cursory attempts at trouble-shooting were fruitless, and television coverage for the mission - desirable but not essential - had to be written off." (Source)

An Apollo 12 astronaut, by saying "… slow motion, that's exactly what I feel like" (Apollo 12: Pinpoint for Science 1970 NASA, Second Moon Landing), psychologically prepares the naïve public for the slow motion solution to the problem of lunar gravity.

In case of Apollo 13 they circumvented the problem of lunar gravity by presenting a Hollywood story instead of a fake moon landing.

In the sequence starting at 18:50 of Apollo 14 Moon Mission Onboard Camera Full the "slow motion" solution is obvious. The strange behavior with respect to the flag probably results from an attempt to distract attention away from the "slow motion" problem by promoting the "waving flag" conspiracy theory.

In any case, whereas step and jump sizes and heights on the Apollo films are comparable to corresponding values on Earth, velocities are substantially lower. On Earth we normally make two steps per second, and when running fast we make even four steps per second. The astronauts however perform only ~ 1 step or ~ 1 jump per second. Even when running they only reach speeds of ~ 2 m/s, far from what JayUtah in #33 considers a "decent velocity".

JayUtah in #33:

Neil Armstrong jumped 1.8 meters vertically onto the LM ladder.

If this is true then such an assisted jump makes look the other non-assisted jumps even more suspicious.

jaydeehess in #32:

You seem to have missed the entire discussion in the 'athletic records' thread concerning friction with the surface and its effect on horizontal force generation.

Watch how easy the astronauts can move a big stone at 21:23 of Apollo 17 launch and mission LIVE on TV.

#78  –  2016-12-13

wogoga in #58:

Apart from "atmospheric friction", granular material on the moon behaves in the same way as on Earth when filmed and slowed down to 1/√6 ≈ 41%. Granular material stirred up by the lunar rover would rise six times higher on the moon than on Earth in case of identical speed.

Slowvehicle in #75:

No, this is simply not correct. You would not pass my ninth-grade ESL Integrated Physics class.

My claim of an inverse proportionality between height of ejected material and gravity (in case of identical rover speed) is correct under the following unstated premise: Average velocity of particles catapulted out of the granular material is proportional to rover speed. Therefore increasing rover speed by factor √6 increases by 6 not only kinetic energy of the rover but also average kinetic energy of ejected granular material. And both height and length of parabolic trajectories are proportional to kinetic energy (assuming identical gravity).

Slowvehicle in #75:

To achieve the measurable speeds in the films, the Rover would have had to be going faster on earth, resulting in higher roostertails, for one, and in much more suspension activity, for another.

A fake rover on Earth must be √6 = 2.45 times faster than an original lunar rover. Kinetic energies of particles ejected by the wheels on Earth are then 6 times higher than in the lunar situation. Gravitational downward acceleration (and potential energy per height) on Earth is also 6 times higher. Thus we get the same "rooster tail" height with increased speed as we would get on the moon with the original speed.

Also "suspension activity" turns out to be identical if the vehicle suspension of the terrestrial rover has 6 times higher spring constants. This can easily be recognized if the rovers are at rest: Let us assume identical total rover mass despite different spring constants. On Earth, weight affecting the springs is 6 times higher, and spring constants are 6 times higher than in the original lunar case. Thus we get the same spring deflections (displacements under load) as on the moon.

Concerning forces emerging due to accelerations of parts or the whole, not weight but mass is relevant. Rover mass is the same in both cases. The √6 speed increase (resulting in less time per length) on Earth leads to a corresponding increase of all accelerations by factor 6 (since acceleration is inversely proportional to square of time). Thus, also forces due to this increased speed are six times higher and lead to exactly the same spring deflections as on the moon with the original speed.

threadworm in #59:

Show us any video shot on Earth of a vehicle travelling over a dusty surface where the material rises and falls in the way it does on the moon without creating a billowing cloud of dust.

Why are you convinced that what you belief to have seen in corresponding film sequences was dry lunar dust? It could have been heavy mineral sand. Several mechanisms can prevent a cloud of dust, e.g. humidity resp. wetness (with water or another substance), a vacuum cleaner pre-removing all dust particles, and so on. At least what is shown with the Apollo 16 rover could easily have been faked on Earth. See for instance (short videos):

To the second video corresponds an excellent paper of Oleg Oleynik:

Exceptional claims need exceptional evidence. The claim of having accomplished the extremely difficult task of bringing men to the moon and back already more than four decades ago is very exceptional. Therefore, only evidence which could not have been faked with the then technology should be taken seriously.

Debunking is not the same as declaring to have debunked

#96  –  2017-01-01

Foster Zygote in #92:

This video "moon hoax not" does an excellent job of exploring the technical impossibilities of faking what was seen on TV in 1969.

This video "moon hoax not" is not only an insult to the listeners' intelligence but also to common sense and logical reasoning. Its central message:

NASA did not have the slow-motion technology to fake Apollo on video. "Nowadays it would be easy to fake a moon landing, and we seem to have forgotten how to do it for real. But back then is was the other way round."

Let us ignore technical details and questions concerning originals and copies of the Apollo coverage. The claim: It was easier for NASA to transport astronauts with commercial cameras to the moon than to procure or build cameras taking around two times as many frames per second as such normal cameras. This argument is so incredibly absurd that I'm speechless. Many technologies had been used by secret-service-related organizations, before they became generally available.

This guy S. G. Collins is either 1) naïve, 2) prejudiced and intelligently misled by others, or 3) he is simply a disinformation agent.

Disinformation agents knowing that the Apollo missions were faked have a big advantage over honest believers when defending the Apollo program. They do not lose time and energy in order to try to find rational explanations for what they already know to be a fake. So they can invest all time and energy to efficiently fight the proponents of enlightenment and truth by rhetorical and psychological means and by adequate disinformation. Internet discussions on Apollo and 9/11 are full of posts from such disinformation agents knowing the truth.

o     There is a recommendable response by Jarrah White to S. G. Collins' video: Re Moon Hoax Not (REUPLOAD)

o     A further response by S. G. Collins: for jarrah

o     By the way, Jarrah White has a logically quite consistent site, a "must read" for everybody interested in the topic:

#109  –  2017-01-24

Video: "Irrefutable Proof for Moon Landing - Lunar Gravity"

I would say that this video Irrefutable Proof for Moon Landing contains evidence of the opposite.

Here the description of the video:

Lunar gravity as determined from official NASA Apollo footage provides irrefutable proof for being filmed on the moon. In addition to the Apollo 14 SEQ Bay Pendulum the Apollo 16 Flying Bag is analyzed to provide g = 1.54 and 1.57 m/s2 in agreement with lunar gravity (g = 1.62 m/s2) and distinct from earth gravity (g = 9.81 m/s2). Therefore, both, pendulum and free fall motion confirm lunar gravity within a 5% error margin. Moon landing conspiracy theorists have accused NASA to simulate lunar gravity by using wires and decreasing playback speed, but failed to recognize that there is only ONE physically correct playback speed for such an operation: 41% = √(1/6) – as seen by using the equation P = 2π ∙ √(L / g) for the pendulum or t = √(2y / g) for free fall.

Consequently, it should be possible to restore the alleged original 1 g conditions by increasing the playback speed to 246% = √6. Under these conditions objects move as if accelerated by earth gravity (g = 9.81 m/s2) but movements of the astronauts become incredibly fast, showing the impossibility to simulate lunar gravity by slowing down footage recorded on earth.

All NASA footage obtained from public domain, AS14 SEQ Bay Pendulum cropped, AS16 Flying Bag animation with timer reproduced at 80% playback speed. All other footage reproduced at 100% (for lunar gravity) or 246% (for earth gravity) playback speed.

It is true that by reducing playback speed to 1/√6 ≈ 41% = 9n41 we can transform the film of a terrestrial pendulum into a lunar pendulum. The argument brought forward against such a playback speed reduction: "movements of astronauts become incredibly fast". The quality of the film is so incredibly bad that at best we can say that the movements of the astronauts are unnaturally fast. Yet it is far from impossible to perform or fake such unnatural movements on Earth.

Even more revealing is the flying bag, reaching a height of only 4.1 m and a distance of probably less than 10 meter. Such a throw is certainly easy to perform on Earth, at least if the "bag" has (somewhere) enough weight. For comparison: Hammer throw world record is more than 80 m; on the moon such a hammer throw would result in more than 6 ∙ 80 m = 480 m.

Due to 1/6 gravity and lack of atmospheric friction, height and distance of a throw are at least 6 times bigger on the moon than on Earth. Therefore such a bag would easily have reached a height of 25 m and a distance of 60 m, if the throw actually had happened on the moon.

Again, the film quality is very poor, and the angle of the throw with respect to the camera has been chosen in such a way that we cannot verify whether the bag follows a genuine parabola or whether its longitudinal speed is decelerated by air friction.

However, there is a smoking gun: Rotation of the bag is continuously slowing down, due to air friction. Here the corresponding sequence further slowed down:

We also get the impression that the part of the bag which touches the soil first after the throw is heavier than the rest of the bag. At t = 3.7 this heavy end becomes the lowest part of the bag. Because of more weight and/or less air friction, it then seems to pull the rest of the bag downwards. Thus, the heavy end remains the lowest part, and rotation has essentially stopped when the bag touches the soil at t = 4.5 with a vertically elongated shape (probably also created by air friction).


#118  –  2017-03-28

A paradigm of fake pictures?

Is the photo below a paradigm of fake photos? It would have been rather nonsensical for the Lunar Module to climb above the Command Module only in order to take a picture.

Description: "The Apollo 11 Command and Service Modules (CSM) are photographed from the Lunar Module (LM) in lunar orbit during the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission. The lunar surface below is in the north central Sea of Fertility. The coordinates of the center of the picture are 51 degrees east longitude and 1 degree north latitude. About half of the crater Taruntius G is visible in the lower left corner of the picture. Part of Taruntius H can be seen at lower right."

At launch, the Lunar Module sat directly beneath the Command/Service Module (CSM) with legs folded, inside the Spacecraft-to-LM Adapter (SLA) attached to the S-IVB third stage of the Saturn V rocket. There it remained through earth parking orbit and the Trans Lunar Injection (TLI) rocket burn to send the craft toward the Moon. … After achieving a lunar parking orbit, the Commander and LM Pilot entered and powered up the LM, replaced the hatches and docking equipment, unfolded and locked its landing legs, and separated from the CSM, flying independently. … After visual inspection of the landing gear by the Command Module Pilot, the LM was withdrawn to a safe distance, then the descent engine was pointed forward into the direction of travel to perform the 30 second Descent Orbit Insertion burn to reduce speed and drop …" (

Source resp. credit for this post:
Anomalien der Mond-Fotos - Das Wunder

#135  –  2017-04-03

wogoga in #118:

It would have been rather nonsensical for the Lunar Module to climb above the Command Module only in order to take a picture.

Dave Rogers in #119:

This statement, and in particular the usage of the word "climb," seems to suggest a misunderstanding of orbital dynamics. It seems to me that it would have been trivially easy to perform a very small alteration to the orbit of the LM so that it was able to take a photo of the CM against the backdrop of the lunar surface, and as such a very cost-effective piece of PR.

If we take into account the Lunar Landing Module LM was a prototype which never had been properly tested* then dealing primarily with PR instead of safety would have been grossly negligent.

* If somebody thinks that this is not true then he should be able to provide evidence for proper testing of the Lunar Landing Module.

By the way, isn't the blue, maybe ocean-reflected color on the sun-side of the Command Module strong evidence that the photo is a photomontage?


Dave Rogers in #119:

And this looks like a classic piece of misdirection, intended to suggest that (a) "below" was the position of the LM relative to the CM right up to the point where they separated, and (b) this usage of "below" is in some sense related to their relative heights in orbit above the moon.

My use of above and below (beneath) was both with respect to the CSM (Command and Service Module) and with respect to the moon.

Dave Rogers in #119:

(a) is, of course, nonsense, because everybody who knows anything about Apollo knows that the CM/SM had to turn around to dock to the LM as part of separation from the S-IVB, and (b) is the fallacy of equivocation.

If what you write is intended as more than pure disinformation then please provide some evidence. By the way, we are dealing with a photo having been taken shortly after undocking of 1969-07-20, 17:44 (see Apollo 11 timetable).

Dave Rogers in #119:

Lying by implication is not, in general, a good way to determine the truth.

In any case, future will show who is lying by naïveté, by implication or even by intention.


You want to convincingly mislead your enemies, yes? Mislead at first your friends and collaborators!

© – No rights reserved – – 2017-04-07