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If you doubt the power of slow-mo, watch the Amtrak avalanche video in real time

The viral video of Amtrak passengers getting buried under an avalanche of snow is notable for its cinematic impact. In the slow-motion version, it takes more than 40 seconds for the speeding train to barrel past the platform and leave a mountain of white in its wake. It’s dramatic, suspenseful, and terrifying.  After I watched … Continue reading “If you doubt the power of slow-mo, watch the Amtrak avalanche video in real time”

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The viral video of Amtrak passengers getting buried under an avalanche of snow is notable for its cinematic impact. In the slow-motion version, it takes more than 40 seconds for the speeding train to barrel past the platform and leave a mountain of white in its wake. It’s dramatic, suspenseful, and terrifying. 

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After I watched the same footage in real time, though, I quickly realized why filmmakers have relied on slow-mo since the dawn of cinema. Part of it is just basic human nature—our perception of time slows down during traumatic moments. And so the real-time version of the video (which plays out in 16 seconds) is decidedly less cinematic for that reason. At the same time, it’s somehow just as terrifying.

About the author

Christopher Zara is a senior staff news editor for Fast Company and obsessed with media, technology, business, culture, and theater. Before coming to FastCo News, he was a deputy editor at International Business Times, a theater critic for Newsweek, and managing editor of Show Business magazine

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