Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Perseid Meteor Shower III HD Video

This is my third and longest timelapse sequence yet from the Perseid Meteor Shower in August. I'll try to have sequences four and five done soon.

Make sure you have the HD display switched on (click on the HD symbol).

One of my first videos of this event was featured on Discover Magazine's blog.

Bear in mind that this is a timelapse video, so in playback as video everything is dramatically sped up. Each frame is a 15 to 30 second shot, but the video is assembled at a relatively slow frame rate of only 12 shots per second, so in video formats that play at 24 to 30 frames per second, the meteors show up for roughly two frames. In other words, each second of video displays ten to twenty minutes of shooting time. Apparently our eyes and minds are quick enough for us to perceive the meteors with some persistence even though they show up for only 1/12th of a second.

Anything that travels across the screen or survives in the video for more than a brief flash is a jet or satellite (and you can't see many of the meteors in most online copies of the video, unless you follow the links to Flickr and enable the highest HD playback available there). I'll try to find video hosting sites that enable blogging of copies that offer higher resolution playback, preferably full 1920 x 1080 HD. I'll also try to find some nice background music avalable under the Creative Commons CC-BY license (which does not seem to be a trivial search).

Meanwhile, if you'd like to explore timelapse photography yourself, download the free VirtualDub software which can convert a sequence of JPEG files into video, and check out the forum on Timescapes.org for discussions on techniques. You'll need a tripod of course, and your sequence of still images will turn out best if you use a remote switch that has an intervalometer (timer) function.