hurry up and slow down

a real time, ultrahigh-speed mapping (DRUM) camera. Pictured are researchers Xianglei Liu and Jinyang Liang working on the optical setup at INRS, Quebec

Toronto.We usually cover old still photographic items in these posts, but today I take a look at movies (motion using the brain’s persistence and a rapidly projected series of frames).

Frame rate can noticeably affect a movie. When a movie is projected at the regular speed each frame is held briefly and projected giving what appears to be a natural motion on screen. If the movie camera records many frames in a given period, they appear to be projected in slow motion. And contrarily, if there are too few frames recorded, projection makes the action appear in fast motion – ie. a person walking is recorded and then seems to run when projected. Or a slow process (i.e. multi day) can be speeded up on projection (time lapse).

These events, are often used for entertainment or education (time lapse). However; some short term events (sub second) are of scientific interest. How can they be recorded and slowed down for projection? By using a special high speed camera! Unfortunately, physical limitations and media sensitivity set a boundary for the camera’s success.

Now Payal Dhar writes for the IEEE journal about a Quebec team’s success using optics to extend that boundary in, “A Cheaper Ultrafast Camera Required Looking to Optics The new “DRUM camera” can capture up to 4.8 million frames per second“.

Take a few minutes to read Payal’s article and see one direction scientific photography is going in the future (it will be history – in about 50-100 years – we are just a bit early here …).  Another tip of the hat to my good friend, George Dunbar, for spotting and sharing this unusual article in the IEEE Journal (the Journal is a free PDF download to IEEE members).

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