August 7, 2016

NASA's High-Speed Rocket Booster Video Might Be the Coolest Thing on the Internet

What's your favorite super slow motion video ever? Whatever it is, it's about to change after you watch this test footage from NASA.

There are plenty of high-speed videos on the internet and you probably have your favorites. (My all-time favorite is this video of slow-mo sneezes.) However, NASA has basically put all of them to shame with their video of a rocket booster test they conducted using their super camera, the High Dynamic Range Stereo X (HiDyRS-X), which not only records in high speed, but it also captures multiple simultaneous exposures in order to produce the incredible HDR footage you're about to see.

So yeah, the video is pretty damn cool and impressive, but the fact that NASA has created a camera that has the capabilities needed to record such a thing is what's more impressive. The HiDyRS-X project was launched in order to address an issue with filming rocket motor tests, namely trying to properly expose the extremely bright rocket motor plumes without obscuring parts of the motor.

Here's a description of the HiDyRS-X from NASA:

HiDyRS-X records high speed, high dynamic range footage in multiple exposures simultaneously for use in analyzing rocket engine tests. Traditional high speed video cameras are limited to shooting in one exposure at a time, but HiDyRS-X can record multiple high speed video exposures at once, combining them into a high dynamic range video that adequately exposes all areas of the video image for comprehensive analysis.

By comparing these two images of NASA's rocket boosters, you can see how powerful the HDR imaging is in the HiDyRS-X.

Credit: NASA
Credit: NASA
Though NASA's HiDyRS-X camera isn't all that applicable in the world of filmmaking, this kind of technology might end up being promising in the future, especially in terms of how the camera's exposure technology works—one commenter on PetaPixel wondered if the ISO varies from pixel to pixel.      

Your Comment

13 Comments

I hope NASA posts photos of the camera itself.

August 8, 2016 at 12:22AM

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This looks like CGI to me we that fake camera shake....

August 8, 2016 at 4:41AM

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Heh... yes, ofcourse an engine that size with that thrust would not cause any shake at all regardless of what the camera is mounted on :)

August 8, 2016 at 5:50AM

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Torben Greve
Cinematographer
914

You seem to forget 2 details:
- the amount of force coming from the engine: both in a pull on the construction holding it in place AND turbulence created by the heat of the nozzle
- it is extreme slowmotion: when slowed down enough every shake looks fake

PS.
I did study aerospace engineering before I switched to the art of filmmaking.

August 8, 2016 at 8:44AM, Edited August 8, 8:44AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9013

My Favorite Slow Mo Video is this wedding video.
https://vimeo.com/78400062

August 8, 2016 at 5:24AM

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Red HDRx?

August 8, 2016 at 8:28AM

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you know how much ghosting there would be, not to mention this is way more than 21 stops

August 9, 2016 at 1:39AM

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I love this!
As a former aerospace engineering student I always love those rocket test videos (or aerodynamic studies where you can see all the vortices in detail).
This new camera surely provides more insight in the performance of the engine by showing everything at once from the same angle :-)

August 8, 2016 at 8:49AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9013

I was kinda hoping it would explode.

August 8, 2016 at 9:57AM

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Richard Krall
richardkrall.com
1430

I guess the exploding videos are for internal use only, so they can study the failure.
The outside world only needs to see the progress and successes.

I agree: that would be amazing to watch :-p

August 8, 2016 at 6:16PM, Edited August 8, 6:16PM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9013

They should've threw stuff in it like fruit, old tv's and batteries and stuff. Maybe a car too.

August 8, 2016 at 2:04PM

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Dantly Wyatt
Musical Comedy & Content Creator.
694

It does look a little fake because they are combining elements from several different exposures to make the final image, and the rocket flame is likely 30 stops brighter than the shadows in the image.

You see this a lot in HDR photography, where the final image looks very fake compared to the original images used to create the HDR image...
http://farbspiel-photo.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/sunset-gate-hdr-be...

August 8, 2016 at 11:33PM, Edited August 8, 11:40PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30131

The second act kind of dragged a bit.

August 11, 2016 at 9:03PM

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