Shuttle launch captured in 3D18 July 2011
America’s manned space exploration may have reached a hiatus but the launch of the final shuttle flight on Friday 8 July was recorded for posterity by a range of immersive imaging systems. Panasonic, Meduza Sales and NHK all had cameras trained on the blast-off – Panasonic even had cameras onboard. Panasonic’s 3D camcorder 3DA1 3D had already been used to document astronaut training at the Johnson Space Centre in Houston in the run up to the launch at Cape Canaveral. Astronauts aboard Atlantis are also using the camera to film scientific experiments aboard the International Space Station which the shuttle is supplying.Meduza’s camera was also on hand, positioned on the launch pad infield approximately 150 yards from the shuttle. According to Meduza Sales’ president Chris Cary, the purpose was to test the Meduza under extreme real-world remote shooting conditions, “and to show NASA and potentially others in the aerospace sector the value and what additional information can be achieved by using 3D stereo image capture with the degree of controls available on the Meduza.” The Meduza prototype deployed at the launch had two 5 mega pixel CMOS sensors each configured for 2048 X 1468 windowed capture at 24 frames per second with 12 bit per pixel resolution. The lenses were a matched pair of Meduza primes with a focal length of 4.8mm Meanwhile Japan’s NHK was also using the event as another test of its Super Hi-Vision system including capturing the sound of the blast-off in 22.2 surround. Its findings will be presented at IBC. Michael Bay’s Transformers Dark of the Moon features a post converted 3D shuttle launch, and a major scene on the launch pad at Kennedy Space Centre. Perhaps the next time the US goes into space everything will be filmed in stereo.