What a DSLR’s Rolling Shutter Does to a Speaker Playing a 61Hz Tone

Here’s another example of a strange effect caused by the shutter of a DSLR. YouTube user drummaboy5189 captured the above video by playing a 61Hz sound through his speaker and then pointing his Canon 6D at it while filming at 60 frames per second and 1/4000s shutter speed. What resulted is a “rolling speaker” effect.

“I’m pretty sure it’s a result of the rolling shutter effect in DSLR cameras, in case anyone is wondering,” he writes. “Also, I only waved my fingers in front of the speaker to prove the video is playing at normal speed.”


Here’s a photograph showing the simple setup that was used:


Here’s the speaker’s effect in animated GIF form:

Speaker with a rolling shutter

We’ve featured a number of strange effects caused by cameras’ rolling shutters in the past. These include guitar and bass strings turned into jelly, water frozen in midair and floating upwards, and a helicopter that appears to float with motionless blades.

  • Duke Shin

    I could watch this for hours.

  • Sean Lucky

    I don’t believe this or the helicopter is a result of rolling shutter. I’m pretty sure it’s just a result of the frame rate and vibration/rotation rates being synced (or nearly synced in the case of the speaker). Correct me if I’m wrong?

  • wickerprints

    The “waving” motion must be caused by a rolling shutter, because speaker cones do not have primary vibrational modes that look like that. If you were to film at very high frame rates a speaker cone moving, you would see the entire component moving along its axis.

    For further proof, one would try rotating the camera about its optical axis while it is filming. You would see that the waving motion would follow the camera’s rotation, not the speaker cone. This would prove that it is an artifact of the camera.

  • benchows

    ok, so?

  • Mike

    So rolling shutter sucks even more.

  • brandon

    helicopter no(frame rate), water going uphill no, speaker yes

  • brandon

    sorry, i should have added that the reason it looks like it’s moving in slow motion is due to the frame rate stuff, but the reason it’s not acting as a proper piston is due to the rolling shutter.

  • Sean Lucky

    Copy that, makes sense! If he set the speaker to 60hz (the same framerate as the camera), I take it the speaker would still not look like a piston?

  • David Allen

    I actually posted another video, but this time rolled the camera sideways to settle the debate on whether or not it was rolling shutter.