Bullet Time Lightning with a Tesla Coil and 10 Canon A470 Cameras

Hacker Rob Flickenger wasn’t satisfied with ordinary photographs of his ongoing Tesla coil experiments, so he decided to shoot Matrix-style “bullet time” images to capture “3D lightning”. He purchased 10 Canon A470 cameras and configured them to function as a single 70-megapixel 10-angle camera.

Why that particular camera? Partly because I found someone dumping a bunch of them on eBay for cheap, but also because they run CHDK, the infamous scriptable firmware for Canon cameras. This let me write some code to streamline the process of taking ten photos all at once, and then get them off of the cameras in a reasonable manner. By wiring all of them to the same 10-port USB hub, and using CHDK’s syncable USB remote feature, I was able to wire up a single button to make all of the cameras fire at once.

His hard work paid off, and Flickenger managed to capture some pretty unique shots of his Tesla coil in action.

Bullet time lightning []

  • Hburger

    They can’t be ‘pretty unique’. ‘Pretty one of a kind’? Doesn’t make sense. Either unique or not. 

  • Wing Wong

    Nice. This would be a great way for someone to get a 3d model of how electricity arcs through the air or a medium.

  • Impressed

    Nikola would be so proud :D

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  • Madneutrino

    Ah ah amazing! :) The 3D style is something I’ve to try…
    Some time ago I’ve found this post with very big sparks of a very big Tesla Coil Not 3D but awesome physics!