One of the unsung heroes of a gold-bedaubed Olympics is a filming technology company from Bedford UK.The cameras that have produced some sensational slo-mo images have been provided by Vision Research Ltd, based at the Bedford i-Lab.
The cameras have also been used on programmes like Frozen Planet, Invisible World, Bang Goes The Theory and other factual and drama programmes – and it is only a matter of time before they are used in Space.
The high speed filming equipment is also used to capture the fantastic animal movement shots such as those showing sharks and killer whales
jumping from the sea on the Discovery Channel for instance.
Vision Research Ltd is run by John Hannaford and Jo Cleaves and is part of the global Ametek company. The business moved into the i-Lab in 2007.
The brand name of these cameras, made by Vision Research in the US, is Phantom, and they have become industry standard throughout the world.
Hannaford said: “A big market is in defence industry where scientific research has led to cameras being able to capture shots of explosions which are too fast for the human eye to record.
“The automotive industry also uses them to capture safety test procedures (Euro NCAP) at places like Millbrook, Cranfield and Nissan in Bedfordshire and MIRA in Warwickshire.
“And the study of nanotechnology at many Universities like Imperial College is another area where high speed filming is helping advances.
In the TV and media industry, high speed filming is used extensively in adverts: “Once you pay attention you will see that many adverts on the TV use slow motion to make a point about a product, that will almost certainly have been filmed on one of the cameras we supply,” said Hannaford.
“And of course they are used in special effects in the movie business worldwide such as in Inception, Sherlock Holmes, Tron, Death Race 2000 and the Batman films, some of which have been filmed at the airship sheds at Cardington in Bedfordshire.”
Computerisation and the ability to download images to a storage unit have meant that the equipment can be used in the most remote and unwelcoming environments such as the frozen poles – the next move will be filming in Space.