Marketplace Scratch Pad

Something to distract you at work

Scott Jagow May 20, 2009

If you want life to slow down for a minute, I have just the ticket. I’ve spent the last half-hour watching things in extreme slow motion. It’s cool as all get-out, even if you’re not a tech geek. Wired has a story about these new hyper-speed cameras that capture the tiniest of movements, like a hummingbird’s wings, a rattlesnake’s tail or a guy getting hit in the face by a water balloon. The Discovery Channel has a whole new show about it.

The show, Time Warp, is hosted by an MIT scientist and a high speed camera expert. They shoot with cameras that cost more than $100,000. The lighting isn’t cheap either:

For example, Lieberman explained, if you’re shooting a moving Ferris wheel at 1,000 frames per second, it would require about 35 times the amount of light you would need to shoot the wheel at a normal frame rate just for the picture to develop properly.

That’s where hours and hours of preparation come in, Lieberman said. A single super slow-motion segment on Time Warp typically takes 10 to 12 hours to set up and shoot because, depending on the subject, the team must set up extremely luminescent LEDs or arrange mirror heads to get an extra “oomph” by magnifying the number of suns on an object.

Here are a couple of the vids. There are plenty more. The show did a whole episode of slowing down the heavy metal band, Metallica. They also shot video of Guinness Record holder Darren Taylor doing a high dive into a kiddie pool:

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