Can we film a stroboscopic helicopter?

From Standup Mathematician.

Do check out Captain Disillusion’s video "Quick D: Static Helicopter Blades".

Thanks to Polina for flying the helicopter all day. We hired the helicopter from VVB Aviation who were awesome.

My old video about the rolling shutter effect "Rolling Shutter Explained on the Cheap".

Footage of stage coach from "The Lye Green Miniature Stagecoach"

Footage of the five-blade helicopter from "camera shutter speed matches helicopter`s rotor"

We have Think Maths "Floating Helicopter" resources for maths teachers.

– We did also mess around with multiples of the required frame rate (53.5 fps being twice 26.75 fps) which gives a ‘choppy’ version of the stroboscopic effect with twice as many rotors appearing. But I should have taken this out of the edit as I present it as a valid solution. Sorry! First noticed by Alnakar.
– Let me know if you spot anything else!

Thanks as always for Jane Street being my principal sponsor.

Thanks to my Patreon supporters who help make these videos possible. Here is a random subset:

Wouter Dijkslag
Laurus Schluep
Lucas Werkmeister
Greg Holmes
Eric Sexton
Lucie Roux
Simon Hutchings

Support my channel and I can make more maths videos:

Directed by Ben Woolf
Filming and editing by Trunkman Productions (
Extra cameras and filming by Andrew Mickelburgh
Running about by Marius Ulevicius and Melinda Burton
Helicoptering by Polina Harkin
Music by Howard Carter
Audio by Peter Doggart
Design by Simon Wright

MATT PARKER: Stand-up Mathematician
Maths book:
Nerdy maths toys: