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Dispatches

Stupid and Dangerous in Super Slow Mo, and Two Other Juvenile Videos That Show the Smart Technologies of the Phantom Flex Camera

Six days ago, Laughing Squid posted the above highlight reel from a Danish TV Show called Dumt and Farligt (Stupid and Dangerous). It immediately went viral, and expectedly so. It features gratuitous hi-def shots in super slow mo of everything from a wrecking ball smashing a fish bowl to fireworks exploding inside a watermelon.

Screen Shot 2012-04-24 at 11.14.26 AM
Flour on a candle, courtesy of Dumt and Farligt on YouTube

The synopsis of the TV show, as translated through Google is, "Most injuries occur at home, but have you ever wondered why? We have here at Zulu, and therefore we have set January Elhøj and Lasse Spang Olsen to investigate. At a desolate place, they have got their own house as a laboratory, and here they test all the instructions say you must not! It’s stupid and it’s dangerous and it is every Monday. 21.00." Not mentioned above is the fact that Zulu also gave the two men a Phantom Flex camera, which has a lot to do with their success. The Phantom Flex can shoot at 2,800 frames per second at 1920 x 1080p, which means it can shoot super-high-definition videos that can be slowed way, way down. In honor of the explosion of the video above, it's worth taking a longer look at the camera and some clips that show what it can do.

At least since Leland Stanford hired Eadward Muybridge to take pictures of his horse Oxident at Stanford's Palo Alto farm, people have used multiple frames to find out scientific truths. Stanford wanted to know whether all four of his horse's hooves were off the ground simultaneously. Muybridge set up 12 cameras in a line and placed thin string on the ground in front of them. As Oxident galloped past, he hit the strings and the cameras fired. At least one shot showed the horse with all four feet off the ground at the same time. Muybridge later strung the pictures together with a machine called the Zoopraxiscope to create a moving image. 

Fast forward to 2010, past film projectors and to digital cinema, and the release of the Phantom Flex, a camera that can capture 2,800 frames per second (it fires super fast, and can capture 2,800 images, or frames, in one second) at 1920 x 1080 (It's high quality, and can capture a lot of pixels in each frame). In short, this camera can record a speeding bullet in freakish detail. Vision Research announced the camera in April 2010. The technology the camera employs was previously used for scientific, military and industrial purposes—think watching car crash test results. The camera costs about $50,000 to $150,000 new, depending on the set up, with storage, wiring and live viewing on a computer screen running the price up to roughly $250,000.

Before the Dumt and Farligt clip went viral, two other videos did a solid job of showing the camera's capabilities in creative, and not-at-all scientific, ways. They are both embedded below.

Filmmaker Tom Guilmette's "Locked in a Vegas Hotel Room With a Phantom Flex:"

G4's Jessica Chobot appears in a low-brow television segment to smash things in slow motion:

For more videos, check out the Phantom Flex page at VisionResearch.com.

--Joe Spring
@joespring



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