Our own Theodore Gray (the man behind Gray Matter's mad science) is currently in China, and he's taken the opportunity to put his new Casio EX-F1 high-speed camera to excellent use at the Beijing Zoo. And when we say excellent we mean the majestic hawk at the Beijing zoo defecating and flapping its wings at 300 frames per second kind of excellent. And if that's not enough, he's got a dolphin leaping from beneath the water and a sparrow taking flight to boot.
Since its release earlier this year, the game-changing EX-F1 has given amateur photogs the ability to record everyday life in stunning super-slomo at speeds up to an incredible 1200fps. That means a real-time second gets stretched to 40 seconds in the resulting video; and while resolution drops at the highest speed settings, the results are still worth the $1,000 Casio is charging, if you ask me.
If the hawk above wasn't enough, check out these dolphins leaping from their tank, also filmed at 300fps.
And this cinematic shot of a girl chasing a sparrow, filmed at the highest-speed 1200fps setting. Note: this entire video represents just over one second of actual time.
For more on the Casio EX-F1, find our past coverage here.
_Very_ cool! I can't wait to play with one. But two questions: 1. the footage looked a little choppy, and the shore in the background of the dolphin shot is very flickery. Is this a result of the way you've formatted the video (exporting it at a low FPS, for example)?
2. You must need excellent lighting conditions for the ultra-slow-mo shots, right?
The original video is better than this highly compressed post shows, especially for the 300fps examples. The flickering in the dolphin shot is due to fluorescent lights: The arena was lit with a combination of non-flickering spot lights and flickering fluorescent lights, so some areas are good, others are terrible. At 300 fps you get 5 frame per 1/60 second AC flicker. Some other shots I took at this aquarium at 600fps were completely unusable because all you see is wild flicker from totally black to fully lit in a stroboscopic effect.
Yes, you need excellent light. Outdoors is good, for closeups I have three small super-bright LED video lights that work great. For dolphin arenas you take your chances unless you want to bring in a truckload of high intensity lights. But, the camera goes up the ISO 1600 so at 300 or 600 fps, f2.8 it's actually quite practical even indoors.
How much memory did these videos take up on your hard drive?
I see even hawks follow standard imperial procedure and dump the garbage before jumping into hyperspace. Rock on.
The videos take up surprisingly little disk/flash card space. Remember that at the highest speed the resolution is less than 400x100 pixels, and at all the higher speeds it's using quite high compression levels. In original format the Hawk video is 19.4MB and despite being much longer the bird chasing video is only 2.7MB. Using a fast 8GB card you've got room for a *lot* of high speed video. (Which is not necessarily a good thing, the quality could be better if they didn't compress quite so much.)
(And it turns out this is probably more of an Eagle than a Hawk, hey, what do I know, it said Hawk Hill on the exhibit....)