We’re all quite aware of how amazing our iPhones are, but they still continue to surprise us every now and again. One guitarist has posted a mesmerising video on YouTube in which he demonstrates how the iPhone 4 captures guitar strings as they are strummed.

The video isn’t a true representation of the way in which guitar strings actually oscillate; instead, it’s a fascinating example of how the effects that can sometimes be achieved with the iPhone 4’s rolling shutter…

TUAW explains how it works:

“Virtually all consumer grade digital cameras, including cell phones, do not take the picture instantly when you push the shutter button. Instead, they quickly scan over the CMOS sensor from the top left to the bottom right, like the electron beam in an old CRT television. This is called rolling shutter capture. This scanning process is fast, but sometimes it’s not fast enough. If you angle the device just right and take pictures of fast moving or rotating objects, you can create all sorts of weird and funky distortion effects.”

Pretty impressive, eh? Have you taken any fascinating photos like this on your iPhone?

  • lol. cool

  • Alex


  • Dazed and Confused


  • Andy

    This reminds me of music school. We had this class called physics of musical instruments where we learned the physical properties of instruments and made them. There was an experiment we did at the beginning where he plucked and oscillating string in front of a strobe light with the lights off. Depending on what he set the speed of the strobe to, you could see each vibration cycle the string made or make craz effects like this video.

  • Mickle

    I tried this with my Washburn and it did not work 🙁 does it have to be a classical guitar?

  • Vittorio

    I believe, the video is a good way to view the standing wave phenomenon. Sure it doesn’t work for measurements. Standing waves are formed when an object approaches it’s resonant frequency, and their frequency also depends on string tensions (guitar tuning). You can see the E note string (the thickest one) has a longer wavelength, because it is a lower frequency, and vice-versa for the thinnest string.

    It is very similar to using a stroboscope to see be able to count somethings frequency. The problem is that due to the rolling shutter of iPhone we don’t know the frequency of the stroboscope(shutter), and can’t calculate the frequency of the strings.

  • Gui

    thats not an iphone 4…. i coundt do it… i tryed with 3 different guitars…