Monday, May 20, 2013

Hi-Speed Hijinx

I love high-speed video.  I find it fascinating to see everything that's going on so quickly that it's impossible for the human brain to absorb.  I couldn't wait to get my hands on a high speed camera for my ammunition tests once I started using the clear gel from Clear Ballistics.  Unfortunately, my desire for a quality high speed camera doesn't come close to my ability to financially afford one.  Luckily, I managed to track down a Casio pocket cam that does a fair job capturing high speed footage while not crippling my budget.

I've been using that Casio for several months now and my only real disappointment with it was that, even at 1000 frames per second, I couldn't capture a bullet in flight.  Some folks aspire to own a Porsche, others want to climb Mt. Everest, I wanted to capture images of a bullet in flight.

Enter Nathan Boor of Aimed Research.  Nathan contacted me through my YouTube channel a few weeks ago and we struck up a conversation.  Nathan's company specializes in high-speed Vidography and Analysis including Ballistics Research.  You can see some examples of his work on the Aimed Research link above, his YouTube channel, and the opening image of this blog post.  As you can see, Nathan has no problem at all catching images of a bullet in flight while it's splitting one of my business cards.  I'm not sure if I could split one of my cards, but Nathan can.  I really encourage you to go check his YouTube channel.  His videos are awesome if have one even one iota of ballistics geek in you.  Check this video out.  I always wondered if those flechette rounds you see at gun shows were worth the price.  After seeing this video, I think not.

Nathan also rents out professional high-speed equipment.  I was really quite shocked when Nathan offered to loan me one of his cameras for a hands-on trial.  With a bit of trepidation, I decided to take him up on his offer because it could turn out to be a once in a lifetime opportunity.  I simply can't thank him enough for this very generous opportunity.

If there is a downside to high-speed videography, it's the learning curve on the equipment.  Regardless of what you think of my pictures and videos, it's mostly point and shoot with the cameras doing all the heavy lifting with shutter speed, light balancing, frame rate, etc.  Nathan spent some time with me on Friday and got me through the basics of running the camera.  Without his help, I would have been lost.  I did manage to catch my bullet in flight last weekend.  There was a two hour time slice of reasonable weather with full sun and low wind.  I made the best of it and shot my first high-speed footage.  I'm proud of it, but it sucks.  My focal point was about 3 feet off so the bullets were not in sharp focus.  I'll do better next time.

Speaking of next time, the Memorial Day weekend is coming up so that gives me an extra day to shoot.  I really hope all the Tornado Warnings and Watches are out of our area by the weekend.  After passing through Oklahoma City after their last tornado disaster and seeing the devastation, my thoughts are with them today as the again endure the wrath of Mother Nature.

The Hijinx Part
While cooling my heels on the range last weekend waiting for a favorable weather event, I thought I might get in some rifle practice.  I often neglect my long guns for months at a time because I'm too busy testing ammo or reviewing handguns or other gear.  It might be surprising to you, but shotguns are my first love with pistols coming in second.  I still enjoy shooting the rifles from time to time, but it can be a challenge to find a suitable range facility.  My local range is perfect for some short range 22 rimfire plinking.  Rather than risk the equipment from Aimed Research, I opted to use the Casio for the high-speed footage. 

I know my ammo tests can be a little dry, too detailed, and maybe even boring to some so it was a nice change of pace to do something a bit out of the ordinary and fun.  I hope you get a kick out of them.


I did manage to squeeze in two terminal tests so Terminal Test Thursday is still on track.


  1. "A Sniper's Wet Dream! HE'S ALL HEAD!"


    I thought his crime was eating the cookie, in the preview frame :)

    1. Well Rob, you are the only person that caught that joke, or maybe just the first to call me out on it. =) I had (still have) a ton of ideas for more of the Rimfire Sniper series, but just can't find the time to get them done. One of these days.....

  2. Rimfire Sniper Mission #8 is as far as I got... Smoking Clown.
    Patiently awaiting more :D
    I suspect good weather is the best time, and I hope the 22lr situation loosens up...

    1. I actually started doing these because it was too windy or oppressively hot to shoot good video for ammo tests or reviews. So the worse the weather, the more likely Rimfire Sniper will be back on the job.