Reverse motion

Reverse motion (also known as reverse motion photography or reverse action) is a special effect in cinematography whereby the action that is filmed is shown backwards (i.e. time-reversed) on screen. It can either be an in-camera effect or an effect produced with the use of an optical printer. There are various reasons why this technique may be adopted, such as for comedy effect (destruction reversal) or for safety reasons (a car stopping just in time may be filmed starting at the stop point).



There are several uses for reverse action. Some are artistic in nature. For example, reverse action can be used for comedic effect. Or it can be used to bring things "back to life" on screen, by filming a process of destruction or decay in reverse. Sometimes it is necessary, for the intended effect to be achieved, for all actions other than the one that it is intended to reverse to be performed, during shooting, backwards—actors have to perform their actions and dialogue backwards, for example. This also enhances the visual impact of the effect.[1]

The artistic use of reverse action is pervasive in the films of Jean Cocteau. In his Beauty and the Beast (1946), for example, an actor placing a piece of paper in a fire and then walking backwards away was filmed in reverse motion, causing it to appear as though the character walked up to a fire and pulled the paper out of it. Similar instances are where the petals are peeled off a flower. Cocteau filmed this in reverse motion, making it appear on screen as if the flower comes back to life, with petals rejoining the stem. Yet other examples include Cocteau sketching drawings with a rag and unsmashing pottery, with fragments flying up into his hand and joining together. By the time of Le Testament d'Orphée, use of reverse action was endemic in Cocteau's work, with more than one critic declaring it so overused as to be an embarrassing personal tic.[1][2]


Other uses of reverse motion photography are technical in nature. For example, it is difficult to target helicopter shots precisely. Having the point of view swoop down from the sky into a close-up on a particular object or scene is almost impossible to achieve with a helicopter, since it is almost impossible to end up with a perfectly framed and focused final image. So such shots are filmed in reverse motion, starting with the helicopter close to the target, and then drawing back and up into the sky.[3] A similar approach may be taken also as a safety precaution, such as when a vehicle is required to stop from speed immediately in front of an object, as it can instead be started at the finish position and reversed.[4]


There are two techniques for achieving reverse motion. The first is not an in-camera effect, but is achieved by printing the film backwards in an optical printer, starting from the final frame and working to the initial one. (This requires a true optical effect, since simply playing the film in reverse when exposing it onto a new negative causes it to come out upside down.)[5][6]

The second is an in-camera effect, achieved either by running the camera itself backwards or by turning the camera upside down. Most cameras are directly capable of running the film backwards (spooling from bottom to top rather than from top to bottom) and those that cannot can mostly be adapted into doing so by the simple expedient of rewiring the electric motor, switching its polarity (for DC motors) or changing over any two of its phases (for synchronous three-phase motors).[1][3]


Turning the camera upside down and running it forwards as normal, so that the film spools from bottom to top has several disadvantages. First, it places the soundtrack on the wrong side. Second, the film is required to be perforated on both sides, otherwise the negative cannot be cut into the rest of the film. Third, it requires that the camera be lined up for shooting in the opposite way, with the guidelines in the viewfinder that indicate the Academy area needing to be reversed. Fourth, it can cause subsequent processing difficulties for the negative, because the registration pins will be engaging the film perforations on their opposite sides to normal.[1][6]



  1. ^ a b c d Perisic 2000, p. 92-93.
  2. ^ Williams 2006, p. 91-92.
  3. ^ a b Bernstein 1994, p. 227.
  4. ^ Malkiewicz & Mullen 2009, p. 40.
  5. ^ Wilkie 1996, p. 68.
  6. ^ a b Ohanian & Phillips 2000, p. 142.


  • Perisic, Zoran (2000). Visual Effects Cinematography. Focal Press. ISBN 9780240803517.
  • Williams, James (2006). Jean Cocteau. Manchester University Press. ISBN 9780719058837.
  • Malkiewicz, Kris; Mullen, M. David (2009). Cinematography (Third ed.). Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9781439105627.
  • Wilkie, Bernard (1996). Creating Special Effects for TV and Video. Focal Press. ISBN 9780240514741.
  • Bernstein, Steven (1994). Film Production. Focal Press. ISBN 0-240-51343-6. ISBN 9780240513430.
  • Ohanian, Thomas; Phillips, Michael (2000). Digital Filmmaking. Focal Press. ISBN 9780240804279.
Acid Western

Acid Western is a subgenre of the Western film that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s that combines the metaphorical ambitions of critically acclaimed Westerns, such as Shane and The Searchers, with the excesses of the Spaghetti Westerns and the outlook of the counterculture of the 1960s. Acid Westerns subvert many of the conventions of earlier Westerns to "conjure up a crazed version of autodestructive white America at its most solipsistic, hankering after its own lost origins".

Amish Paradise

"Amish Paradise" is a 1996 single by parodist "Weird Al" Yankovic. It is a parody of the hip hop song "Gangsta's Paradise" by Coolio featuring L.V. (which itself is a reworking of the Stevie Wonder song "Pastime Paradise"). Featured on the album Bad Hair Day, it turns the original "Gangsta's Paradise", in which the narrator laments his dangerous way of life, on its head by presenting an Amish man praising his relatively plain and uncomplicated existence.

Canadian Motor

The Canadian Motor was a Canadian electric car manufactured from 1900 until 1902.

Billed as being "ideal for any first-class automobilist to drive", the cars could travel up to 45 miles on one change of their batteries. Although located in Toronto, the concern which built Canadian Motors was English-owned; models were derived from the first electrics manufactured in Canada, designed from 1893 by W. J. Still. Still designed a gasoline-powered car as well, a 5 hp model built in 1898. This was controlled by a steering column which could move backwards and forwards, thus providing forward or reverse motion.

Flying the Foam and Some Fancy Diving

Flying the Foam and Some Fancy Diving is a 1906 British short silent comedy film, directed by James Williamson, featuring a man diving from Brighton Pier while mounted on a bicycle, in both forward and reverse motion. This trick film, according to Michael Brooke of BFI Screenonline, "adds additional layers of entertainment, firstly by showing the stunt from multiple angles (or rather several stunts, as the surrounding crowds differ from shot to shot) and then by showing it in reverse motion so that Reddish appears to be performing the impossible feat of riding his bicycle vertically out of the sea." It is believed to be an extended version of Professor Reddish Performing his Celebrated Bicycle Dive from Brighton West Pier (1902), supplemented by more conventional footage of pier divers at a later date.

How Brown Saw the Baseball Game

How Brown Saw the Baseball Game, also known as How Jones Saw the Baseball Game, is an American short silent comedy film produced in 1907 and distributed by the Lubin Manufacturing Company. The film follows a baseball fan, named Mr. Brown, who drinks large quantities of alcohol before a baseball game and becomes so intoxicated that the game appears to him in reverse motion. During production, trick photography was used to achieve this effect.

The film was released in November 1907. It received positive reviews in a 1908 issue of The Moving Picture World, a film journal, that reported the film was successful and "truly funny." As of 2015 it is unclear whether a print of the film has survived. The identities of the film's cast and production crew are not known. Film historians have noted similarities between the plot of How Brown Saw the Baseball Game and the Edwin S. Porter-directed comedy film How the Office Boy Saw the Ball Game released the previous year.


iMovie is a video editing software application sold by Apple Inc. for the Mac and iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini and iPod Touch). It was originally released in 1999 as a Mac OS 8 application bundled with the first FireWire-enabled consumer Mac model – the iMac DV. Since version 3, iMovie has been a macOS-only application included with the iLife suite of Mac applications. Since 2003, iMovie is included free with all new Mac computers.

iMovie imports video footage to the Mac using either the FireWire interface on most MiniDV format digital video cameras or the computer's USB port. It can also import video and photo files from a hard drive. From there, the user can edit the photos and video clips and add titles, themes, music, and effects, including basic color correction and video enhancement tools and transitions such as fades and slides. iMovie is also available as an app for the iPhone.

In-camera effect

An in-camera effect is any special effect in a video or movie that is created solely by using techniques in and on the camera and/or its parts. The in-camera effect is defined by the fact that the effect exists on the original camera negative or video recording before it is sent to a lab or modified. So effects that modify the original negative at the lab, such as skip bleach or flashing, are not included. Likewise effects that work with props, such as squibs, fire, and dustball guns are also not included. Some examples of in camera effects include:

Matte painting

Schüfftan process

Forced perspective

Dolly zoom

Lens flares

Lighting effects

Filtration such as using a fog filter to simulate fog, or a grad filter to simulate sunset.

Shutter effects.

Time-lapse, slow motion, fast motion, and speed ramping.



Infrared photography

Reverse motion

Front projection

Rear projection

Phonotrope a live animation technique that uses the frame-rate of a camera

List of apocalyptic films

This is a list of apocalyptic feature-length films. All films within this list feature either the end of the world, a prelude to such an end (such as a world taken over by a viral infection), and/or a post-apocalyptic setting.

Lumberjack World Championship

The Lumberjack World Championships are held annually in Hayward, Wisconsin. The event began in 1960 and is held at the Lumberjack Bowl. There are 21 events for both men and women to compete for over $50,000 in prize money. Contestants come from the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The events include sawing, chopping, logrolling, and climbing to test the strength and agility of over 100 competitors.

Meat pie Western

Meat pie western, also known as a kangaroo western is a category of Western-style films or TV series set in the Australian outback. The names are a play on the term Spaghetti Western. The category is important to differentiate more Americanised Australian films from those with a more historical basis, such as ones about bushrangers (also sometimes called bushranger films).

Opera film

An opera film is a recording of an opera on film.

Palmar grasp reflex

Palmar grasp reflex (sometimes simply grasp reflex) is a primitive reflex found in infants of humans and most primates. When an object is placed in an infant's hand and the palm of the child is stroked, the fingers will close reflexively, as the object is grasped via palmar grasp. The grip is strong but unpredictable; though it may be able to support the child's weight, they may also release their grip suddenly and without warning. The reverse motion can be induced by stroking the back or side of the hand.

A fetus can exhibit the reflex in utero as early as 16 weeks into the gestation period, and persists until five or six months of age.

Power Wheels

Power Wheels is a brand of battery-powered ride-on toy cars for kids ages 12 months to seven years old. Power Wheels ride-ons are built with kid-sized, realistic features – in some cases, real working features like FM radios, opening/closing doors and hoods, power lock brakes, and both forward and reverse motion.


Preco Electronics Inc is a multinational vendor of radar-based object detection systems headquartered in Boise, Idaho, United States.

Preco was founded in 1947 by Edwin R. Peterson as a rebuilder of electronic water pumps, generators, and batteries and introduced the first reverse-motion alarm in 1967.

Railway turntable

In rail terminology, a railway turntable or wheelhouse is a device for turning railway rolling stock, usually locomotives, so that they can be moved back in the direction from which they came. This is especially true in areas where economic considerations or a lack of sufficient space have served to weigh against the construction of a turnaround wye. In the case of steam locomotives, railways needed a way to turn the locomotives around for return trips as their controls were often not configured for extended periods of running in reverse and in many locomotives the top speed was lower in reverse motion. In the case of diesel locomotives, though most can be operated in either direction, they are treated as having "front ends" and "rear ends" (often determined by reference to the location of the crew cab). When operated as a single unit, the railway company often prefers, or requires, that a diesel locomotive is run "front end" first. When operated as part of a multiple unit locomotive consist, the locomotives can be arranged so that the consist can be operated "front end first" no matter which direction the consist is pointed. Turntables were also used to turn observation cars so that their windowed lounge ends faced toward the rear of the train.


Sotai or Sotai-hō (操体法, Sōtai-hō) is a Japanese form of muscular or movement therapy invented by Keizo Hashimoto (1897–1993), a Japanese medical doctor from Sendai. The term So-tai (操体) is actually the opposite of the Japanese word for exercise: Tai-so (体操). Dr. Hashimoto conceived Sotai as an antidote to the forceful and regimented exercises of Japan, that anyone could practice easily to restore balance and health.

Sotai is different from regular exercise because it distinguishes between balanced movements that are natural and beneficial and those that are unnatural and cause strains and physical distortions. The aim of Sotai is to help the body restore and maintain its natural balance.

Dr. Hashimoto developed a model of treatment based on restoring structural balance that is claimed to work with the breath and movements toward comfort (or away from pain). He developed Sotai Therapy from traditional East Asian medicine (acupuncture, moxibustion, bone setting (Sekkotsu), Seitai Jutsu) in concert with his knowledge of modern medicine.

Sotai Therapy is intended to be a method of neuromuscular reeducation and unwinding muscular holding patterns. According practitioners, Sotai Therapy balances the nervous and muscular systems. Its central principle is backtracking movement or "reverse-motion" treatment. The idea is that structural distortions can be returned to a more normal condition by moving the body in the comfortable direction. Using the effects of an isometric contraction followed by a sudden relaxation (post-isometric relaxation) can normalise the strained condition.


"Starstrukk" is a song recorded by American group 3OH!3. It is their third single and their second single to be released from their second studio album, Want (2008). A radio-only and the deluxe album version has been released featuring singer Katy Perry. The version featuring Perry has had considerable success in Australia, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Poland and the United Kingdom, peaking within the top ten of the charts in all of these countries. It is the follow-up to their debut single "Don't Trust Me".

Surrealist cinema

Surrealist cinema is a modernist approach to film theory, criticism, and production with origins in Paris in the 1920s. The movement used shocking, irrational, or absurd imagery and Freudian dream symbolism to challenge the traditional function of art to represent reality. Related to Dada cinema, Surrealist cinema is characterized by juxtapositions, the rejection of dramatic psychology, and a frequent use of shocking imagery. Philippe Soupault and André Breton’s 1920 book collaboration Les Champs Magnétiques is often considered to be the first Surrealist work, but it was only once Breton had completed his Surrealist Manifesto in 1924 that ‘Surrealism drafted itself an official birth certificate.’Surrealist films of the twenties include Rene Clair's Entr'acte (1924), Fernand Leger's Ballet Mechanique (1924), Jean Renoir's La Fille de L'eau (1924), Marcel Duchamp's Anemic Cinema (1926), Jean Epstein's Fall of the House of Usher (1928) (with Luis Buñuel assisting), Watson and Webber's Fall of the House of Usher (1928) and Germaine Dulac's The Seashell and the Clergyman (1928) (from a screenplay by Antonin Artaud). Other films include Un Chien Andalou and L'Age d'Or by Buñuel and Salvador Dalí; Buñuel went on to direct many more films, never denying his surrealist roots. Ingmar Bergman said "Buñuel nearly always made Buñuel films".

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