High Speed Video -- Jason Gallicchio

High Speed Videos

We borrowed an extremely high speed video camera from a Harvard research group that will remain anonymous, made sushi, watched Real Genius for inspiration, and around 11pm started filming things. We had big plans to shoot things with a friend's coil gun, break old computer monitors, explode wine glasses with sound, and break water balloons, but that will have to wait until next time.

The $70,000 camera we used has a fixed data-rate, so we could trade off image size for speed. For movies of our setup, check out:

Setup of Rat Trap Pen / 6.7M / 640x480 / 30fps / 0:16
Setup of Rat Trap Pencil / 8.7M / 640x480 / 30fps / 1:44
Setup of Unsuccessful Wine Glass Shatter / 54.2M / 640x480 / 30fps / 5:39


 

The videos on this page are all encoded using a method that has three names: H.264 / MPEG-4 Part 10 / Advanced Video Coding (AVC). It's the most modern of the MPEG standards and is going to be used on both High Definition DVD formats (Blu-Ray and HD-DVD) and European Digital Video Broadcast. It does a better job than MPEG-4 Part 2 whose implementations include DivX/XviD/3ivX, and about twice as good as MPEG-2, which DVDs and American HDTV use: comparison. The protocol is simple enough for cell phone video but scales to up to huge HD content. Wikipedia Article

Windows:

  • QuickTime 7 Preview is most reliable. Set your computer to open .mp4 files with QuickTime by right-clicking on one and going to "Open With / Choose Program..."
  • To play inside Windows Media Player, get ffdshow-20050619.exe and MatroskaSplitter.exe -- be sure to check AVC/H.264, AAC, and MP4 in the appropriate places to enable them.
  • VLC is an open source standalone player that uses the same ffmpeg libraries with "Experimental" h.264 support.

Mac OS X:

  • QuickTime 7 is the way to go. Get it through Software Update
  • VLC is a good open-source alternative with a playlist.

Linux:

  • VLC is probably the way to go.
  • mplayer is quite standard too.

 


mouse_trap_carrot.mp4 / 5.4M / 800x600 / 5fps / 0:50 / originally 4800fps
mouse_trap_finger.mp4 / 3.3M / 800x600 / 10fps / 0:27 / originally 4800fps
mouse_trap_jello.mp4 / 4.1M / 800x600 / 10fps / 0:34 / originally 4800fps
rat_trap_pencil.mp4 / 4.7M / 800x600 / 10fps / 0:42 / originally 4800fps
rat_trap_pen.mp4 / 6.7M / 512x384 / 10fps / 0:54

 

A flash unit from a disposable camera is first, then a "disco strobe" light.

CameraFlash2.mp4 / 306k / 512x384 / 10fps / 0:03 / originally 5700fps
CameraFlash2ts.mp4 / 308k / 512x384 / 10fps / 0:03 / originally 5700fps
CameraFlash.mp4 / 1.1M / 512x384 / 10fps / 0:16 / originally 5700fps
Strobe1.mp4 / 590k / 421x421 / 10fps / 0:11
Strobe24000.mp4 / 272k / 256x128 / 10fps / 0:16 / originally 24,000fps
Strobe24000ts.mp4 / 312k / 256x128 / 10fps / 0:16 / originally 24,000fps
Strobe64000.mp4 / 43k / 64x64 / 10fps / 0:15 / originally 64,000fps

 

Sparks aren't just flashes of light, but a lot of tiny metal exploding off the contact. The first several are from the same disposable camera flash unit filmed above. 300V 120uF. The big capacitor is being shorted with a screw driver.

Capacitor1.mp4 / 1.9M / 256x256 / 10fps / 0:25 / originally 13,000fps
Capacitor2.mp4 / 1.6M / 256x256 / 10fps / 0:17 / originally 13,000fps
Capacitor2ts.mp4 / 1.4M / 256x256 / 10fps / 0:14 / originally 13,000fps
Capacitor3.mp4 / 334k / 128x128 / 10fps / 0:13 / originally 36,000fps
Capacitor4.mp4 / 700k / 128x128 / 10fps / 0:26 / originally 36,000fps
Capacitor5.mp4 / 812k / 128x128 / 10fps / 0:31 / originally 36,000fps
Capacitor5ts.mp4 / 843k / 128x128 / 10fps / 0:31 / originally 36,000fps
CapacitorBig.mp4 / 599k / 256x256 / 5fps / 0:07 / originally 4,000fps
CapacitorBigts.mp4 / 1.0M / 256x256 / 5fps / 0:08 / originally 4,000fps

 

Dropping a burnt-out light bulb onto a brick.

light_bulb.mp4 / 34M / 800x600 / 10fps / 5:06

 

Dropping a cube of jello onto a piece of black paper. Unfortunately there were so many lights pointing at it that everything was hot and sticky.

jello_falling.mp4 / 10M / 800x600 / 10fps / 1:27

 

The refresh of a CRT computer monitor hooked up to my PowerBook doing 640x480 60Hz. On the left is the refresh of a TV with shitty reception. TVs draw every odd line then go back and draw every even line. This makes 60 half-frames per second or 30 full frames.

CRT.mp4 / 881k / 407x407 10fps / 0:11
TV.mp4 / 4.3M / 256x128 / 10fps / 2:28
TV2.mp4 / 2.6M / 128x128 / 10fps / 3:14
TV2ts.mp4 / 3.6M / 128x128 / 10fps / 3:15

 

The alarm clock was displaying 10:08, but the seven segment displays were blinking back and fourth between two configurations with a repetition of 60Hz -- power-line frequency.

AlarmClock.mp4 / 2.7M / 512x256 / 10fps / 0:37

 

Some not-so-exciting ones. The halogen light turns on in bursts at 120Hz corresponding to the power line's maximum. The second hand on a clock jiggles more than might be expected.

lamp_turning_on.mp4 / 5.5M / 800x600 / 10fps / 0:44
SecondHand.mp4 / 3.8M / 512x512 / 10fps / 0:34
PostIt.mp4 / 2.1M / 512x256 /10fps / 0:17

 

For a reason unrelated to us, a hot water heater under the lab sink broke at around 3am.

A movie of Brownian Motion to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Einstein's explanation.

Lab_Flood.mp4 5.7M / 640x480 / 30fps / 1:12 Brownie.mp4 1.0MB / 640x480 / 30fps / 0:06