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February 16, 2011 3:15 PM   Subscribe

Locked in a Vegas hotel room with a Phantom Flex high speed cinema camera (1080p, 2564fps). Tom Guilmette had some fun.
posted by yiftach (49 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
How much does anyone want to bet he shot himself ejaculating?
posted by cropshy at 3:27 PM on February 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty certain that the lightbulb that was dropped and shattered was a film prop, possibly a "sugar glass" prop. The wall thickness of the "glass" on the bulb was way too thick, and one of the hallmarks of "sugar glass" safety props is that it generally has to be much thicker than glass because it's so fragile and easily shattered. But whatever that was, it wasn't a standard light bulb.

Also I'm pretty sure none of the sounds are the "real". They're all commonly available sound effects and foley samples, particularly the "breaking glass" sound used on the lightbulb, but this is all standard operating procedure for film makers. I'm just pointing it out in case you noticed that things weren't quite matching up, because you'd be right.
posted by loquacious at 3:28 PM on February 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


So did the room look like Hunter Thompson spent the night when he was done?
posted by Splunge at 3:31 PM on February 16, 2011


cropshy: "How much does anyone want to bet he shot himself ejaculating"

Man, I did that once. My eye burned for like an hour afterward. Uh...

Nevermind.
posted by Splunge at 3:34 PM on February 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


look like Hunter Thompson

"...the floors an evil mélange of melon rinds, coconut shells, stale beer, bottles, fast food, and other garbage."

God help me, I know there are a zillion of these slow mo videos out there, but I love them every time.
posted by poe at 3:36 PM on February 16, 2011


Dude looks a little high.
posted by Kabanos at 3:39 PM on February 16, 2011


Man, I'd love to futz around with one of these but even at rental I'm not sure I can justify $2500 for one day of fuckaround shooting.
posted by cortex at 3:40 PM on February 16, 2011


I don't think any of it's real. All CGI. Probably trying to get a book deal.
posted by neuromodulator at 3:40 PM on February 16, 2011


Damn, loquacious, next you'll be telling me I've been measuring myself wrong all these years.

:(
posted by sidereal at 3:47 PM on February 16, 2011


I'm really impressed by the low-light needs of the camera.
posted by bz at 4:09 PM on February 16, 2011


That was like "The Wall" minus the shitty music.
posted by Optamystic at 4:22 PM on February 16, 2011


Damn, loquacious, next you'll be telling me I've been measuring myself wrong all these years.

If you're measuring yourself and you're not a tailor or getting fitted for a suit, you're probably doing it wrong.
posted by loquacious at 4:23 PM on February 16, 2011


Dear god. When these get cheaper, the last moments of every crappy reality show on TV is going to take two eternities.
posted by notion at 4:24 PM on February 16, 2011


bz: "I'm really impressed by the low-light needs of the camera"

Hell, for that price they should be able to see through clothes.
posted by Splunge at 4:47 PM on February 16, 2011


The waitstaff comes in to clean the room the next day, sees rumpled bed, scattered change, broken lightbulb, water and shampoo everywhere, etc.

"God, I wish these guests would stop fucking around with high speed cameras..."

"Yep. What happen to the good old days of drug fueled orgies?"

"Right?"
posted by quin at 4:49 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Re: low light needs, on his blog he says "I had a VER rented ARRI light kit with four 1k lamps." Apparently at 2400fps, you need a lot of light, even with a fast camera. This was fun to watch - thanks for posting!
posted by dylanjames at 5:02 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


BORING. Shoulda kept this to himself.
posted by keep_evolving at 5:12 PM on February 16, 2011


If this isn't a viral, then it works just as well without saying the make and model of the camera.
posted by DU at 5:17 PM on February 16, 2011


Reminded me of this dreamy skateboarding video, which I found riveting despite being shot at a mere 120 frames per second.
posted by itstheclamsname at 5:23 PM on February 16, 2011


If this isn't a viral, then it works just as well without saying the make and model of the camera.

You do this "I will now ruminate idly about whether and to what degree the linked content is viral/marking/ad-related" thing in a lot of threads and I'd really honestly appreciate it if you would cut that out.
posted by cortex at 5:29 PM on February 16, 2011 [11 favorites]


I would honestly appreciate it if links on MetaFilter were honest, rather than hidden ads.
posted by DU at 5:32 PM on February 16, 2011


The camera world is pretty full of people who are very excited about their gear, and naming high-end stuff in a post like this isn't terribly shilly. Any more than saying, "Hey, I drove a Lamborghini all over town today" is more shilly than "I got to play with a really expensive sports car."
posted by verb at 5:41 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


My parents were big fans of Lincoln Town cars thanks to that Zapruder viral.
posted by hal9k at 5:41 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


So, yes since I'm asking I can't afford it but the camera's spec sheet lists 32G of internal ram. What does this thing cost?
posted by Skorgu at 6:03 PM on February 16, 2011


Between $50K and $100K, depending on the options you get. The extra disk magazines you need to keep it shooting are another ~$30K each. Phantoms are usually rented instead of purchased.

Phantom from Abel Cine.
posted by higginba at 6:08 PM on February 16, 2011


I don't care if it's an ad or not. It's beautiful.

I particularly liked watching the drop of water break off from the faucet and the thread of water breaks into other tiny drops. Makes me realize how much we miss in things we see every day.
posted by DrumsIntheDeep at 6:08 PM on February 16, 2011


Simply put: if you find out about this camera via a viral video, you can't afford it.
posted by verb at 6:17 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, this isn't a viral or anything trying to trick you into buying something. It's a DP and camera company showing off their new toy! Almost anyone who's a potential customer of theirs already knows about their product.

I've worked with some of the earlier Phantoms, and they're fantastically fun to play with. They need a ton of light, and were very temperamental - needing constant black balancing, taking ages to copy the media off of the internal storage, etc. But man, they take some crazy pictures. We took one down Michigan Avenue in Chicago, shooting out of a car window, and you could see the 120 Hz refreshing of the streetlights and "don't walk" signs.

They were also initially aimed at military, science and engineering applications. My tv post-production coworkers and I had a laugh at their software's options for adding engine RPM and "classified" burn-ins to their processed imagery. My understanding is that their latest cameras are a lot more user-friendly.
posted by higginba at 6:21 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


itstheclamsname: Reminded me of this dreamy skateboarding video , which I found riveting despite being shot at a mere 120 frames per second.


That video reminds of how much of skateboarding is, "Lets strap a board to some wheels, go really fast, and hope we don't fall off." Props to the guys who can pull of the stunts but I'll stick to watching some liquid crystals be stimulated by electrical current.
posted by 47triple2 at 6:23 PM on February 16, 2011


Yeah, people who are into tech stuff want to know what the brand and model is.
posted by MexicanYenta at 6:50 PM on February 16, 2011


So is this sort of capability going to be 'standard' in consumer models five years from now? Or are there barriers that will keep it available only as a professional tool?
posted by woodblock100 at 7:04 PM on February 16, 2011


itstheclamsname: "Reminded me of this dreamy skateboarding video, which I found riveting despite being shot at a mere 120 frames per second"

You mean "this viral ad for skateboards," right?
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:12 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


There are technical limitations that make performance this good (2400fps @ 1080p) hard to do cheaply. The best consumer-grade option is the Casio EX-FH25 at $350 for up to 1000fps (for a narrow strip of an image). This camera was $1000 two years ago; when the price dropped I got 3 for my lab. We own a few Phantoms too (including a 100,000fps model) but it's nice to have a point & shoot option.

The Exilim sensor is pretty noisy and not nearly the glorious HD image of this video, but per dollar it's pretty hard to argue against.

On the other hand, compared to the cameras used in Time Warp, the camera in this video is just a cute toy. Jeff Lieberman is a former student of ours and they filmed the pilot in our lab. We basically spent the week drooling over the cameras they brought - 1080p @ 60,000fps or, to put it in technical terms, Holy Crap. High-speed photography was invented in our lab and we have no toy even half as awesome.
posted by range at 7:39 PM on February 16, 2011 [10 favorites]


Viral videos for products like this aren't that effective. If you need a camera like this, you already know it. Tom is a good guy, and he is just showing off a cool camera. In the world of film and video, test shots are done all the time just because. Fun!
posted by shinynewnick at 8:42 PM on February 16, 2011


I would honestly appreciate it if links on MetaFilter were honest, rather than hidden ads.

I like to imagine that you wrote this mere seconds after helplessly, frantically, as if by some uncontrollable insane compulsion, frantically clicking "Buy It Now!" on eBay to the tune of $100,000, and that if we were to look in the rest of your house, we would see a carefully organized array of items bought purely because you had heard them referenced in conversation somewhere and that you could not help yourself from buying them. You, sir, are Ella Enchanted meets Confessions of a Shopaholic, and may God have mercy on your soul.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:48 PM on February 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Also, that's a seriously cool camera. I wish he'd taken it out of his hotel room, but I wonder if the lighting aspect wasn't a factor as to why he kept it in such confined quarters. Either way, I want to have a slo-mo video of a fat, jolly, wet shar-pei shaking herself dry.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:53 PM on February 16, 2011


I would honestly appreciate it if links on MetaFilter were honest, rather than hidden ads.

Insofar as you seem to be hypersensitive to this stuff all out of proportion with the rest of the already sort of famously shill-unfriendly userbase, I don't think you're going to find happiness here. That said, if it's something you need to talk about, do it in Metatalk and stop compulsively nattering about it in every thread on the blue that catches your ire.
posted by cortex at 9:44 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Light is guaranteed a problem. At 2400 fps the longest exposure time you could possibly have is 1/2400 of a second, but between the electronics (you need to keep some time to yourself for overhead) and any schemes you might employ to get the image faster or keep your data rate manageable (eg a progressive scan, the source of the propeller aliasing videos that circulated a few months ago) the actual "shutter speed" is actually much much shorter than that.

This is, by the way, the reason why we have repeatedly turned down requests by students to do high-speed video studies of birds in our lab -- the chance of accidentally cooking the birds with the 1, 2, or 3000 Watts of lights needed is just too icky to contemplate.

(Anyone curious about tinkering with the Exilim camera, there's footage of water rocket launches shot at 600fps with the high-speed Exilim one grade below the EX-FH25. For the record it's a lot easier to get through Chinese customs with a camera that looks like a point & shoot instead of a huge steel case with a Phantom in it.)
posted by range at 9:56 PM on February 16, 2011


Light is guaranteed a problem

OK, I'll bite ... (not trying to be intentionally 'dumb' here, but still don't quite see it ..) Why would the amount of light available make any difference? Light is 'fast' stuff. If my eyes could blink open for just (say) 1/2400th of a second, surely they would see the same scene that I do in a 'normal' view - just for a shorter time. 1/2400sec may seem very short to me, but surely it is a very 'long time' to the light?

I sort of get it with film. This is a (slow) chemical reaction - you need a build-up of light repeatedly hitting the sensitive area before enough of it has 'accumulated' to have the necessary effect, but why would the same thing be true of an electronic sensor? On or off, no?
posted by woodblock100 at 10:10 PM on February 16, 2011


I sort of get it with film. This is a (slow) chemical reaction - you need a build-up of light repeatedly hitting the sensitive area before enough of it has 'accumulated' to have the necessary effect, but why would the same thing be true of an electronic sensor? On or off, no?

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter whether you're working with chemically reactive film or electronic sensors: you have to accumulate lots of photons. You can do that by keeping the shutter open for a long time (giving the film or the electronic sensor more time to catch electrons bouncing in), or you can do it by flooding the subject with insanely bright lights (ensuring that lots of photos make it to the film or the sensor, even if the shutter is only open for a short time).

When you start going down to the 3000th of a second mark or so, you need direct sunlight or equivalent lighting to get decent output.
posted by verb at 10:17 PM on February 16, 2011


Electrons? I meant photons. It's late, and I'm busy surfing the internet for fun slow-motion videos. ;-)
posted by verb at 10:18 PM on February 16, 2011


I particularly liked watching the drop of water break off from the faucet and the thread of water breaks into other tiny drops. Makes me realize how much we miss in things we see every day.

Indeed.
posted by ymgve at 10:22 PM on February 16, 2011


quin: "The waitstaff comes in to clean the room the next day, sees rumpled bed, scattered change, broken lightbulb, water and shampoo everywhere, etc.

"God, I wish these guests would stop fucking around with high speed cameras..."

"Yep. What happen to the good old days of drug fueled orgies?"

"Right?
"

Voice from outside the door:

Room 420, um, bring a case of grapefruit, um, a quart of tequila.. Uh, a quart of rum... Ah, some acid, ah... There's this chick here... Um some Valium, some heroin. Ah, a couple bottles of Rebel Yell. Hm. Ah. A tape recorder. A directional microphone. Um, ah, a pound of strong weed. Ah. A lizard trap. Yeah. And uh, the latest newspapers. And um, ah, five hundred bars of, ah, that clear soap. Okay?

Charge it to Doctor Gonzo. I mean, Lacerda. Yeah, Lacerda.

And ah, call room service, ah... I need a huge salmon steak. And five pounds of King Crab. And a steak. Make that two steaks.

Big raw steaks. For the alligators.

And some bath salts. LOTS of bath salts.

And a Vincent Black Shadow.

And, ah, how much for the women? The women?

Cazart! Did I say that out loud? Things are getting weird...
posted by Splunge at 10:52 PM on February 16, 2011


At the end of the day, it doesn't matter whether you're working with chemically reactive film or electronic sensors: you have to accumulate lots of photons.

Well, and the thing is that you could in theory have a digital sensor that is far, far more sensitive than a comparable chemical substrate with otherwise comparable noise levels, but until such time as a thing actually exists at an affordable manufacturing and deployment cost what you've got is the practical limitations of signal vs. noise.

Essentially, for a given sensor you're going to have x amount of noise—essentially, random pixel coloration in a digital image—per unit time that that sensor is on and collecting an exposure. The more actual photons hit the sensor during that exposure period, the less significant the noise in the image will be as a component of that image. This is why cranking up the ISO on a digital camera produces more noise for an otherwise appropriately exposed shot: you're actually pulling in a lot fewer photons per exposure at e.g. 1/500th sec ISO 1600 than at 1/500th sec ISO 100, and so the sensor noise is a much more significant part of the resulting image in the former case than the latter. Turning up the sensitivity on a sensor to compensate for low light conditions also turns up the noise generated by the sensor.

You can compensate for this in normal applications by e.g. shooting at a slower shutter speed in low light conditions to keep from having to crank the ISO. Instead of 1/500th sec ISO 1600, shoot 1/30th sec ISO 100. That's assuming you're on a tripod and the subject isn't moving, of course.

But if your whole goal is to start with the shutter speed as a given—if you're shooting something ridiculous like 2500+ fps video, say—that's not an option. So you can either use noisy, noisy low-light sensor info, or you can pump a hell of a lot more light into the room. And once you're dropping several grand a day on a camera, you might as well pop for the extra light and get some pretty pictures out of it instead of something horribly noisy.

As great digital sensors get cheaper (assuming there's not physical limits preventing that from happening), the overall noise level of sensors will go down, and shooting at higher ISO levels or faster shutter speeds will get incrementally nicer. But sensors will have to improve enormously before the problem goes away entirely, especially for specialized applications like super-high-fps video.
posted by cortex at 10:56 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


FWIW Tom writes about quite a bit of camera tech on his blog. He has relationships with some suppliers, and he could be seen to be shilling for some of them I suppose, but for the most part he's just providing interesting and informative information and demonstrations to an insterested audience.

He is are real working cameraman (shoots at Fenway pretty often).
posted by sycophant at 1:56 AM on February 17, 2011


I've heard that the slow-fast-slow-fast combat scene in 300 were achieved by changing the fps of the camera while shooting, to achieve maximum smoothness. Does anyone know if that's true? And are we now past that with these new cameras?
posted by Baldons at 4:10 AM on February 17, 2011


Yeah, the real take-home lesson here is that our eyes have astonishingly good low-light sensitivity and most of our cameras don't. There's also a major tradeoff between overall image resolution and light sensitivity -- if you pack more pixel sensors into the same space, each sensor is smaller and therefore collects fewer photons per second (this is the basis of Ken Rockwell rant #17b re: 6MP vs. 12MP DSLRs).

It's also the reason why suddenly you're game to spend tens of thousands of dollars on lenses -- if you can get a full stop bigger aperture, you can get double the amount of light onto your sensor, which means you need fewer (hot, noisy, expensive) lights in your studio, meaning you need less (PITA, space-consuming, noisy, expensive) air conditioning too. All of a sudden $50,000 for a lens one stop bigger starts to look like a bargain.

With high-speed stuff, by the time you're up to 10,000+ fps you've got so much light on the subject that you either need to (a) work fast or (b) shoot stuff that doesn't care if it gets hot. Even in a demo I do all the time (chalk in a mousetrap, 1000fps - this video by a student of mine), after a little bit everyone's sweating just because 2000W of halogen flood lights are on, even though they're pointed somewhere else.

Plan B is you take pictures of stuff that makes its own light, in which case you have the opposite problem -- for that series of videos I held two polarizers crossed by 90° (theoretical transmission: 0) in front of the lens and we still had more light than the camera could handle even though the exposure time was only 10 microseconds (1/100,000 of a second, or about 10x faster than the fastest shutter on my DSLR).

also apologies, cortex, if this stuff is too self-linky please go ahead and delete kthxbye
posted by range at 7:15 AM on February 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Nah, relevant good-content disclosed self-link stuff to further a discussion is totally fine in comments. And awesome.
posted by cortex at 7:42 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Many high-speed (high frame rate) shots are illuminated with slow-peak flash bulbs and floodflash bulbs, particularly the meggaflash and similar, rather than continuous lighting. Flash bulbs of the capacity needed are ridiculously expensive. A 24 bulb case of the meggaflash PF330 floodflash bulbs—with a flash duration of nearly two seconds—is about $1300. Some are over $100 each.
posted by bz at 1:46 PM on February 17, 2011


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