Takes for "The Invisible World"

1968 ±
MIT laboratory, Cambridge MA
Harold E. Edgerton
Film type:
16mm Kodachrome film
Run time:
Bill MacRoberts, Harold E. Edgerton
Harold E. Edgerton presents a series of laboratory demonstrations of strobe light high-speed photography for the film “The Invisible World,” produced in 1968. Examples include an owl in flight and a bowling pin juggler. Edgerton also illustrates how a spinning strobe wheel picturing a sawyer can be made to appear to speed up or slow down the man’s sawing action by adjusting the rate of strobe flashes. In another demonstration he shows the set-up to shoot a bullet through a stationary playing card to slice it in half (as documented in his photography series called “Cutting a Card Quickly”).

Tagged: bowling pin, bullet, high speed photography, juggler, owl, playing card, rifle, slow motion, strobe light, strobe wheel

00:00:01 Introductory information: film title, synopsis, date, run time.
00:00:08 Film begins.
00:00:09 Owl face shown.
00:00:17 Harold E. Edgerton walks into the camera studio room; assistants are in the background. He picks up the remote control for the flash camera set-up. His assistant Bill MacRoberts (right) adjusts the camera.
00:00:24 [Demo # 1: OWL IN FLIGHT] Owl face is shown.
00:00:26 Edgerton is shown behind the flash camera.
00:00:29 Owl face.
00:00:32 Edgerton is shown behind the flash camera.
00:00:34 A person launches the owl into flight in front of the camera.
00:00:37 Edgerton is shown behind the flash camera.
00:00:39 Several people adjust various equipment dials and pet the owl.
00:00:42 A person launches the owl into flight again in front of the camera. Two-three camera flashes go off while the owl is in flight.
00:00:47 Still shots are shown of the owl at different stages in mid-flight.
00:00:52 [DEMO # 2: BOWLING PIN JUGGLER] A man, and then Edgerton, watch behind the camera as white shapes flip in front of them; they are bowling “duck” pins being juggled.
00:01:20 Bowling pins are juggled by a young bearded man while a strobe light occasionally flashes. The camera pans back to show Edgerton behind the flash camera set-up watching the juggler in action.
00:02:02 Edgerton stands behind his flash camera, watching the juggler; the camera pans until the juggler also becomes visible, out of focus, in the foreground.
00:02:08 The juggler is illuminated by intermittent strobe lights while juggling.
00:02:17 Edgerton is shown with a strobe light reflecting intermittently on his face; he then looks up.
00:02:25 [DEMO # 3: STROBE WHEEL WITH SAWING SAWYER] The detail of an illustration of a sawyer on a strobe wheel is shown close up. Then the strobe wheel is set in rapid motion. The camera pans back to show Edgerton standing next to the strobe wheel that is spinning. He turns on a strobe light and begins to synchronize the strobe light flashes and the spin rate of the strobe wheel. He works the machine so that the sawyer appears to be sawing back and forth, faster and slower.
00:03:56 [DEMO # 4: BULLET THROUGH PLAYING CARD] Edgerton stands next to a large camera flash box and a camera on a tripod. He shows a playing card and a bullet in his hands. He explains the procedure (although there is no sound to the film).
00:05:24 A playing card (the Jack of Diamonds), fixed into position for the upcoming shooting demonstration, comes into focus.
00:05:29 Edgerton adjusts the setting of his high-speed camera.
00:05:39 Edgerton loads a rifle, fixed into position for the demonstration, with a bullet. He checks the alignment, takes aim and fires the rifle.
00:05:52 Still image of the playing card cut in half by the passing bullet.
00:06:00 Film ends.
00:06:07 © 2010 MIT credits.

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