Not that long ago, I got a Pi camera, and I quickly became excited about all of the wonderful time lapse projects I could attempt. I mean the script is so simple and easy to understand, how could anyone not be interested in making time lapse movies. My one struggle was looking for things that change dramatically but slowly.
Most of the science demonstrations I do change quickly and dramatically. I do these demonstrations live for audiences of 200 or more at a time. They like explosions and so do I. Recently, I attended an incredible conference called ORD Camp. I did a presentation on science for large audiences (including fire). I did a simple exploding powder demonstration and someone captured it on their iPhone at 240 frames per second. The video below shows what we got.
This got me thinking about my Pi camera. Could it capture video with a high frame rate? It turns out that a new camera mode using raspivid can capture 90 frames per second. This seemed like a decent place to start.
I was recently given a Pi NoIR camera. When I took my first selfie, I was expecting a cool looking night-vision kind of photo. What I got was a regular photo, and I later learned that NoIR literally means that this is a normal camera that just doesn't an IR filter (thus the No IR name). Its amazing that I am allowed to teach.
At any rate, I figured out that I needed an IR source that the camera could detect. So I grabbed the DVD remote, and did some scary face pictures.
Seeing that the camera worked, I brought it the lab to capture one of my most popular demonstrations, the Whoosh Bottle. In this demonstration, a small amount of alcohol is poured into a 5 gallon water jug and allowed to evaporate. When I ignite the fumes, a large blue flame would erupt from the top, and it makes a loud whooshing sound. The video below was captured with the Raspberry Pi NoIR camera at 90 frames per second. It speaks for itself and I could not be happier with the results.
This is so cool, and it opens up a whole new world of projects for me. I do several explosion demonstrations, and I think I found the perfect set up for capturing them.