A PopSci Fourth of July: Blowing Things Up in Extreme Slow Motion

We celebrate a violent holiday with an ultra-high-speed Phantom camera

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Happy Fourth! We’ve resurrected a highly festive video from our archive to get you in the holiday spirit.

The Phantom line of ultra-high-speed video cameras have held PopSci’s rapt attention even before the v12 model won our Best of What’s New Award in 2008. So what better way to celebrate our nation’s independence than aiming a Phantom v641 from New Jersey’s Vision Research at all manner of explosives, resulting in high-definition footage of fireworks going off at a glorious 2,000 frames per second?

Not so much the celestial dazzling burst kind of fireworks — you’ll get plenty of those this holiday regardless — but a serious investigation of what exactly happens when you stick firecrackers in, for instance, a jar of mayonnaise. The Phantom, which is typically used for everything from super slow-motion sports instant replays to manufacturing processes to military flight tests, captures it all in scintillating, elegant slow motion.

Video edited by Nate DeYoung

And by popular demand, some unedited clips of our favorite explosions:

The Mayo Bomb

Black Cat + Egg