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Skywalker Sound
March 15, 2012 2:00 PM   Subscribe

Beautiful HD video, with enhanced sound, of STS-117 and STS-127 booster rockets launching and returning to Earth . Previously.
posted by swift (29 comments total) 59 users marked this as a favorite

 
Amazing...I felt a palpable sense of release when it hit the water. Like, "ok ok ok ok ok...back on earth....aaaaah....the water. made it. everything's good."
posted by jquinby at 2:10 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


They can send a man into outer space, but they can't shoot in 16:9.
posted by sswiller at 2:20 PM on March 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wow -- that was really amazing. That switch from near silence to the rush of wind during re-entry is awesome.

Were those boats in the water near where the pieces were coming down? How in the world do you get that job? That must be what it is like playing centerfield for the Bad News Bears. Just do whatever you can to avoid getting under the ball.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 2:24 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's just how I imagined it:

BLLLLLLLLLLLLLWHOOOOOOSSSHSHSHSHHHHHHHBRRRKKRKKspppshhh
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 2:25 PM on March 15, 2012


I like how the montage gives a feel for how fast these machines go.
posted by Meatafoecure at 3:03 PM on March 15, 2012


The drop is right around 4:30.
posted by nutate at 3:16 PM on March 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Several things:

1. the mist over the shuttle when it goes transonic is amazing.
2. Look at all that ice falling off the tank. I kept thinking, "Stay away from the wing!" That was a little horrifying.
3. Notice how the boosters slow after jettison, only to speed up again? That surprised me, although the boosters are on a parabolic trajectory, so I guess it makes sense.
posted by Mcable at 3:39 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


You guys gotta try this thing!
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:20 PM on March 15, 2012


The video was impressive, but the sound was extraordinary. The eerie moans and rattles at jettison and then the extended hollow wind as they spiralled onward on their trajectory - my god.
posted by googly at 5:56 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fantastic.... It was fun to figure out the physics as to speed, altitude, gravity... thanks!
posted by HuronBob at 5:57 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I thought the sound was the best part. But Sound Design? Post-Production Sound Services? Lucasfilm? I wonder if it was just dubbed...
posted by cman at 7:13 PM on March 15, 2012


They can send a man into outer space

Not anymore they can't.
posted by swift at 7:31 PM on March 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's the black smoke at 5:40? Leftover propellant igniting some kind of thruster?
posted by cosmic.osmo at 8:01 PM on March 15, 2012


Oh boy, lots to comment on and correct here. I watched this footage on every mission the day it was released, for the last 5 years or so of the program.

1. This is literally footage. For extreme reliability, these are captured by film cameras, and they don't get the film until they tow the SRBs back to land. So that's why it's not 16:9, Mr. Snark. FYI, the ET camera is live video because they don't get the ET back.

2. Mist over the shuttle at transonic speeds can also be seen on fighter jets, especially in humid air.

3. The ice falling off the tank: that is precisely why those cameras exist. Post Columbia, after each launch, during the mission, ground analyst would scrutinize all of their data sources to see if the shuttle wings or underbelly got damaged.

4. The rumbling rocket sounds from launch to separation (up to 1:57) are absolutely dubbed in. The actual footage (from the cameras on the SRBs) has no such rocket sound. In space noone can hear you scream.

5. The whooshing / wind sounds after separation (after 1:57) are all fake and dubbed in. The metallic creaking and moaning sounds you hear ARE real and can be heard in the original footage. It's possible that Skywalker Sounds enhanced the heck out of the sound to extract out a little bit of latent wind noise, but certainly not until the boosters fall back down into the thicker atmosphere. Sorry :)

6. The black smoke (e.g. at 5:40 as pointed out above) is the business end of the rocket smoldering.

7. Watch the staged parachute deploy starting at 6:48. I love how they unfurl in sections, using circumferential bands to hold the parachute back from unfurling completely. You'll see the first and second stage; the third stage is missed while they switch to the downward view to watch the pyros fire for the RSRM nozzle extension .

8. The boats are Liberty Star and Freedom Star. As the program was winding down, NASA made a nice little featurette about the SRB recovery process.

The best source for the actual footage is http://www.space-multimedia.nl.eu.org/, run by one very dedicated dude in the Netherlands. Here are all 105 videos from the final shuttle mission (STS-135). For example, here is the raw footage of the SRB seps, from which the FPP video was compiled, and here are the SRB ships coming into port.

For all of the above videos, you can stream them but it's better to download the media file and play that way. Look for the download links and follow the instructions.

They can send a man into outer space ...

Not anymore they can't.


Sigh. Patience, grasshopper. Great things are ahead. SpaceX is slowly moving forward, with a major next step targeted for April 30th. Virgin Galactic will start suborbital tests this fall and tourism flights next year. NASA is evolving to leave the easier stuff (LEO) to the commercial sector and focus on the hard stuff -- deep space exploration meaning an asteroid and Mars. Things are happening slowly but surely.

They'd happen a hell of a lot faster though if everyone would call their congressmen (all three of them, for each of you) and tell them that you agree with Neil DeGrasse Tyson that Congress should just go ahead and DOUBLE NASA'S BUDGET RIGHT NOW. Planetary exploration is getting slaughtered in the latest proposed NASA budget. Pick up the phone and make the damn call.

Or, whatever, just sit there and watch old videos. Here's a good one -- click for the HD version, go to fullscreen, and be amazed. I'm full of this stuff.

And THAT is as close as you'll ever get for an FPP from me.
posted by intermod at 9:06 PM on March 15, 2012 [158 favorites]


Thanks for that, intermod. Flagged as fantastic.
posted by Songdog at 9:18 PM on March 15, 2012


intermod -- wow. I asked above about the boats, and I can't believe a short time later I am watching the video on the SRB recovery. I know the launch and space videos get all the glory, but I was completely fascinated by that clip. It was like the sequel to the original video, and it was pretty much exactly what I was wondering: "Oh, hey, we are going to shoot this bullet into space and back, and you guys zip out there and catch it...it will be in the ocean. Good luck."
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 10:35 PM on March 15, 2012


4. The rumbling rocket sounds from launch to separation (up to 1:57) are absolutely dubbed in. The actual footage (from the cameras on the SRBs) has no such rocket sound. In space noone can hear you scream.

5. The whooshing / wind sounds after separation (after 1:57) are all fake and dubbed in. The metallic creaking and moaning sounds you hear ARE real and can be heard in the original footage. It's possible that Skywalker Sounds enhanced the heck out of the sound to extract out a little bit of latent wind noise, but certainly not until the boosters fall back down into the thicker atmosphere. Sorry :)
Yeah... that annoyed me. It seems like they added a 'shshhhshsh' noise every time there was smoke or mist of whatever - when was the last time you heard mist? It sounded cool, but it was obviously fake. I'd rather just hear the real sounds.
posted by delmoi at 12:41 AM on March 16, 2012


this video from the 'previously' link seems to have unaltered sound (I think?). There are the creaking and moaning sounds in it too.
posted by delmoi at 12:46 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Best ambient industrial soundtrack ever.
posted by pashdown at 6:22 AM on March 16, 2012


Sigh. When I saw skywalker sound I knew the sound was heavily processed and amped up, but hoped that it wasn't fake. Ah well...
posted by googly at 7:19 AM on March 16, 2012


When I was a kid watching space shuttle launches on TV I was very concerned about the boosters and fuel tank landing on someone. I was very impressed when I saw that they didnt burn up or get destroyed, but that NASA actually recovered the things and put them back to work.
posted by KeSetAffinityThread at 10:08 AM on March 16, 2012


That film set & stage in the Arizona desert is just getting better and better. I almost believed that this was real.
posted by Fizz at 11:43 AM on March 16, 2012


Oh boy, my first sidebar! (I think) Thanks :)

If you're a US citizen, remember to call your three representatives in US Congress and simply ask for NASA to get more money. The current budget starves them and kills huge swaths of science. We can get into which program gets what money, but in the end we could completely clear the table of all of those issues by simply bumping up NASA's meager budget.
posted by intermod at 12:06 PM on March 16, 2012


Sound design by Ben Burtt, aka the voice of Wall•E.
posted by Silky Slim at 7:57 PM on March 16, 2012


Thanks, intermod. I'd never considered if you'd see the moon reflected in the ocean from the ISS, but precisely that seems to happen around 2:50 of the good one you posted. Neat!
posted by lllama at 6:00 AM on March 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


On closer review, that's no ocean. Hmmmm.
posted by lllama at 6:05 AM on March 17, 2012


Mist over the shuttle at transonic speeds can also be seen on fighter jets

You can see it on airliners, even, if the atmospheric conditions are just right.

The rumbling rocket sounds from launch to separation (up to 1:57) are absolutely dubbed in. […] The whooshing / wind sounds after separation (after 1:57) are all fake and dubbed in.

I found the sound on the version delmoi linked to much more engrossing and awesome. I think this is a common problem, beyond just the desire to have a nice low-dynamic-range soundtrack— foley artists don't consider the actual sounds to be their benchmark, what they're imitating is other foley artists.
posted by hattifattener at 5:11 PM on March 17, 2012


lllama, I think they're flying over Saskatchewan and Manitoba at the beginning of that segment. There are LOTS of small (and not so small) lakes in that region, which would provide the specular reflection of the moon that you saw.

I think you can also make out the tar sands development in that segment, a large area of widely distributed light from the huge industrial extraction operations.
posted by intermod at 8:23 PM on March 17, 2012


Both intermod and this post flagged as fantastic!
posted by arcticseal at 10:28 PM on March 17, 2012


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