Advanced Imaging


Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: January 12th, 2011 10:01 AM CDT

Freeze Frames

High-speed video cameras find their way into numerous new applications
bullet going through an orange
© Pulse Photonics Ltd.
A single high-speed video frame of a bullet going through an orange making the otherwise imperceptible, visible.
evolution of hot vapor and debris
© Prof. P.H. Schultz, Brown University/Geological Sciences (Providence R.I.) and NASA/Ames Research Center (Moffett Field Calif.
The evolution of hot vapor and debris (ejecta) being launched out of an impact crater.

By Lee J. Nelson
Contributing Editor

Photron USA (San Diego, Calif.) catapults motion analysis to a whole new dimension with Fastcam SA1, addressing applications that previously were deemed unsuited to digital high-speed video. In its second iteration, the actively cooled Fastcam SA1 now offers speeds above the previous megapixel (1024x1024) rate of 5,400 fps to a blisteringly fast 675,000 fps at 64x16 resolution. Utilizing 12-bit next-generation CMOS sensor technology with a 20 μm pixel diameter, Fastcam SA1 is available in three memory configurations: the basic 8 GB stores about six seconds of video at full megapixel resolution. An optional 16 GB holds just over twelve seconds while 32 GB provide more than twenty-four seconds of storage. Multiple Fastcam SA1 cameras can be synchronized together, to a master camera or to an external source. Image data are output in AVI, BMP, FTIF (12-bit), JPEG, PNG (12-bit), RAW, RAWW (12-bit) and TIFF formats. An optional microsecond global electronic shutter—which the user sets independently of frame rate—reduces the inter-frame interval, making it an even more powerful instrument for ballistics, digital image correlation and particle velocimetry among other time-critical studies.

Pulse Photonics Ltd. (Southampton, Hampshire U.K.) debuts its PCO 1200 HS, featuring enhanced resolution (1280x1024 pixels) and low noise. The 10-bit CMOS camera records at up to 1 GB per second with exposure times ranging from 1 µsec to 100 msec. All functions are managed via PCI CardBus/PCMCIA and image data are transferred from on-board memory over industry-standard interfaces (CameraLink, Ethernet EIA-802.3, Firewire EIA-1394, USB 2.0).

MotionScope M-3 (Redlake Inc./IDT, Tallahassee, Fla.) benefits from a 1280x1024-pixel sensor which delivers 520 fps. For more arcane requirements, MotionScope M-5 acquires four megapixels at sustained rates in excess of 150 fps. Electronics are packaged in a compact, ruggedize housing to withstand high g-forces and vibration. Optimal performance and ease-of-use are bolstered by MotionPro X software and CameraLink, Dalsa's (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada)Coreco X64 and PCI-E interface modules. The MotionPro X suite and SDK allow all M-series to interoperate with IDT X-series and Redlake MotionXtra camera systems. Both MotionPro models profit from pre- and post-triggering for event capture, circular buffering, external synchronization and flexible regions of interest. For exceptional storage, the company supplies a dedicated disk array.

Arguably, one of the most widely viewed slo-mo clips in sports history was the jaw-dropping, ball-pinned-against-the-helmet reception by wide receiver David Tyree that paved the way for the New York Giants' come-from-behind win in last February's Super Bowl XLII. That action was depicted through the lens of Phantom v10 (Vision Research, Inc., Wayne, N.J.).

Anticipating a merge into cinematography-oriented applications, Vision Research has outfitted Phantom v10 with continuous HD-SDI (High Definition-Serial Digital Interface) outputs in addition to customary NTSC and PAL formats. A 14-bit CMOS sensor offers 480 fps at full 2400x1800-pixel resolution at 4:3 aspect ratio. With its Continuously Adjustable Resolution feature, users can alter the active image area in 96x8-pixel increments to match the field-of-view to a subject's shape and dimension in both horizontal and vertical planes. Speed jumps to almost 1,000 fps at 1920x1080 pixels. Electronic shuttering is continuously variable down to 2 µsec. And, for lengthy record times, Vision Research furnishes Phantom v10 with their Image3 external storage solution and the ability to stream realtime image data of virtually unlimited proportion.

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