New High-Speed Camera From NASA Captures Incredible Dynamic Range of Rocket Test

Trying to capture a rocket test using a high-speed camera requires some specialty equipment. Trying to capture that footage with enough dynamic range to see the detail in the plume and in the booster required NASA to develop a whole new camera. Watch this latest footage from a new camera NASA developed to capture a rocket test in slow motion and with high dynamic range.

This new prototype camera is called the High Dynamic Range Stereo X, or HiDyRS-X for short, and it was developed with the sole purpose of capturing high speed and high dynamic range footage of rocket tests. Where most high-speed cameras use a single exposure and blow out the detail in the plume, this new camera is able to capture multiple exposures in slow motion and blend them together, giving unprecedented detail in situations like a rocket test.

The camera is still a prototype and the team did encounter a few issues while testing. The automatic timer failed, forcing a manual start and the power cord fell out due to the booster shaking the ground so there was only a few seconds of footage. Regardless, the footage they did capture was incredible, and the team is already working on an even more powerful version of this camera.

For more information on this test you can read the full report over at NASA's website.

[via Gizmodo]

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10 Comments

Couldn't they also shine very bright lights on the rest of the scene to achieve nearly the same results? It's not like the rocket is traveling thousands of miles an hour here. I'm sure that plume is bright, but brighter than a couple hundred thousand watts in lighting? Maybe the light bulbs get shaken to death or something, though I would think modern LEDs would hold up.

Scott Harris's picture

More than likely its already really well lit to use the high speed camera. I wonder what kind of FPS its running.

Pinhole camera?

Dr. Dominik Muench's picture

So it's basically doing what the RED Epic has been capable of since 2011 to an extend ? Recording a second X track exposure which can then be blended into an HDR video image. Wonder if the guys at RED had anything to do with the development, considering they're already supplying NASA with Dragons for the space station.
On a different note, where can I get one of those engines for my car ? ^^

Anonymous's picture

Red epic is capable of shooting 1000 and more fps ?
Because this is looking like very high frame rate ....

Dr. Dominik Muench's picture

I wish, but not quite. I was referring to the double exposure technique. in 6K its only about 95fps and 5K around 12-fps. The Phantom camera comes pretty close to the 1000fps though.

Jon Wolding's picture

That is srsly one giant Hadoken!

Looking forward to the Street Fighter: NASA Edition. :)

Anonymous's picture

Seriously cool footage, but I can shoot handheld steadier than that - maybe I should volunteer to hold it next time.

Anonymous's picture

I was being just a bit sarcastic with my comment...but thanks for the reply and the additional video! I saw one of the final shuttle launches and the power of these engines is mind-blowing!

This NASA camera is dedicate to a specific job. It's done to capture the start-up of a rocket.
This is the reason why that sensor has to be high frame speed & why it get an incredible Dynamic Range.
But what's about color science of that camera, I guess is not in the NASA engineer need to take care of the skin colors area !
(Army research has been for decades since recently the basis for TV broadcast camera and VTR.)