German scientists have been awarded a Guinness World Record for “fastest movie” after successfully capturing two images of an X-ray laser beam 50 femtoseconds apart. One femtosecond is equal to one quadrillionth (or one millionth of one billionth) of a second. Here’s some science talk explaining it:
[...] the scientists split the X-ray laser beam into two flashes and sent one of them via a detour of only 0.015 millimetres, making it arrive 50 femtoseconds later than the first one. Since no detector can be read out so fast, the scientists stored both images as superimposed holograms, allowing the subsequent reconstruction of the single images.
With these experiments, the scientists showed that this record slow motion is achievable. However, they did not only take the world’s fastest but probably also the shortest film – with just two images. Thus, additional development work is necessary for the use of this method in practice. [#]
This video was shot by a German film crew in the early 1980s, and shows American street photographer Garry Winogrand at work. Although he died of bladder cancer at age 56, his photographic output during his lifetime was enormous, even compared to other photographers:
Consider this: at his death, Winogrand left behind 2500 undeveloped rolls of 36-exposure 35mm film (mostly Tri-X), 6,500 rolls of film that had been developed but not contact-printed–not to mention 300 apparently untouched, unedited 35mm contact sheets.
Do the math. Conservatively, that’s at least 300,000 pictures – equal to at least two life’s work for anyone else–that Winogrand took but never even saw, so busy he already had been photographing the world around him. [#]
That explains why Winogrand is able to load new film into his Leica so effortlessly while talking to the camera — he could probably do it in his sleep.
A new German company called X-Pire wants to give you a little more peace of mind with photographs you share online by allowing you to share them with a time-based “self-destruct” feature. According to Yahoo News,
The software should prevent the increasingly frequent occurrence of someone being refused a job or running into other embarrassing difficulties after posting a photo that maybe should have been kept private.
Before the user posts the photo, he or she drags it into the programme which assigns it an electronic key that is valid for a limited time period, said Michael Backes, founder of X-Pire.
If someone wishes to view that photo later, the server checks whether the photo has “expired” and blocks it from being displayed if its time is up.
While this might be effective in dealing with certain privacy situations, it doesn’t prevent people from downloading the “protected” photos since anything that’s visible online can be downloaded (e.g. a screenshot of it can be taken). Still, it’s an interesting attempt at a solution for people wary of having embarrassing photographs come back to haunt them in the future. It’ll be available by the end of Jan 2011 with a subscription-based cost of €24 ($32) per year.
It looks like the wait for plenoptic cameras to hit the market is shorter than we thought when we reported earlier today on Adobe’s interesting demonstration on the technology. In fact, there is no wait — you can already purchase a plenoptic camera. German company Raytrix is the first to offer plenoptic cameras that allow you to choose focus points in post processing and capture 3D images with a single sensor. Read more…