Slow-motion video becomes online phenomenon

May 3, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's the latest thing in online video: High speed clips, captured with the first consumer cameras that can shoot at hundreds of frames per second. Slow-motion cameras are being used from golf to baseball, from fish to physics.

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"This is like a microscope for time," says Dean Baird. "Anybody can have one. I showed it off to physics teachers when I first got it. I said, 'You guys, you've got to get one of these'. Absolutely, I'm having blast with it!"

Dean Baird is one of a fast growing community of amateurs who, for the first time, can afford high-speed video -- a huge phenomenon online.

Today, he finds San Francisco's Exploratorium a rich source for clips to add to his Web site, which he uses to teach physics at Rio Americano School in Sacramento.

On the other side of San Francisco, Jared Sandman takes batting practice for the Uban Knights of the Academy of Art University.

"We do just regular speed video," he says, "but you don't really see anything. You could fix your swing in huge ways, watching it slo-mo, because you just see everything. You see exactly what's going wrong."

Jared plays baseball and golf for the Urban Knights. His golf teammate is 2009 Western Pacific golf champion Matt Garcia, who adds, "There's times when I can't see the face of the club. So, slow motion like this, that helps."

For athletic training, both see no comparison between video cameras, and the F1 high-speed camera from Casio. At around $1,000, it costs one tenth what high speed gear cost a couple of years ago. In time for spring training, Casio unveiled an even smaller version, the FC-100, for around $350. Soon, everybody will be doing water balloons.

But how many people have seen a frog fish eat? The frog fish is the fastest mouth at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. It takes its prey too fast for the human eye. But slowed to 210 frames per second, with one of these cameras, he's not so fast.

With a time machine in every pocket soon, brace yourself for a new wave of Mentos in Diet Coke.

------- Links -------

Exilim High-Speed Camera Official Site
www.exilim.com/intl/ex_f1/features2.html

Teacher Dean Baird's Physics Home Page
http://homepage.mac.com/phyzman/phyz/resume.html

Robert Woodhead's High-Speed Video
www.madoverlord.com/Projects/EXILIM.t

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