Rolling shutter is a method of image capture in which a still picture (in a still camera) or each frame of a video (in a video camera) is captured not by taking a snapshot of the entire scene at a single instant in time but rather by scanning across the scene rapidly, vertically, horizontally or rotationally. In other words, not all parts of the image of the scene are recorded at exactly the same instant. (Though, during playback, the entire image of the scene is displayed at once, as if it represents a single instant in time.) This produces predictable distortions of fast-moving objects or rapid flashes of light. This is in contrast with “global shutter” in which the entire frame is captured at the same instant.
The rolling shutter can be either mechanical or electronic. The advantage of this electronic rolling shutter is that the image sensor can continue to gather photons during the acquisition process, thus effectively increasing sensitivity. It is found on many digital still and video cameras using CMOS sensors. The effect is most noticeable when imaging extreme conditions of motion or the fast flashing of light. While some CMOS sensors use a global shutter, the majority found in the consumer market use a rolling shutter.