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Making YouTube History: Video from the Edge of Space

By October 16, 2012 July 29th, 2016 Industry Perspective
Video from the edge of space

Photo source: redbullstratos.com

Live video from the edge of space? It’s possible. Felix Baumgartner’s daring and heavily publicized jump from the edge of space came to a successful end on Sunday, breaking freefall records for altitude and speed, among others. I have an arguably disturbing tendency to Google everything that could possibly go awry in accident-prone situations, and did I have a field day with this one.

Concerns having mostly to do with eyeballs and pressure eventually subsided, however, and less morbid questions regarding the leap’s documentation arose. Atmospheric temperatures can drop to 70 below, which isn’t ideal for the average camera. Baumgartner’s solo balloon flight also eliminated the possibility of a camera crew, and I suppose crawling around the capsule changing shutter speeds in space gloves was not on his list of priorities.

Despite the challenges, video coverage of the event was remarkable. Even if you missed the live stream on YouTube (the most-watched live stream on YouTube ever), you likely saw breathtaking video from the edge of space in the days following. It was truly an event where video provided what words and even pictures could not. And, like the feat itself, the video’s ability to provide the public with such a clear and intimate experience is a testament to our advances in technology across the board.

So what went into recording the monumental video of Baumgartner’s flight?

  • Three small high-definition video cameras on Baumgartner’s suit: one on each thigh and one on his chest
  • Nine high-definition video cameras on the flight capsule
  • Three 4,000 x 2,000-pixel digital cinematography cameras on the capsule
  • Pressurized electronics keg containing 125 electronic components and two miles of wiring
  • Optical ground tracking system using infrared technology and high-powered telescopes
  • Helicopter carrying an advanced HD video camera with full gyro-stabilization

And a few fun facts about the design of these cameras:

  • Cameras not designed for near-space conditions were housed in custom chambers pressurized with nitrogen gas
  • All cameras were controlled remotely from the Mission Control Center
  • Special filters were used to accommodate increased sunlight in the upper stratosphere
  • Nothing happened to Felix Baumgartner’s eyeballs

Read more about the technology behind the cameras used to record Baumgartner’s jump. While no one on the BLASTmedia video team has any experience shooting in space, we do have the digital video equipment (including some of the same cameras used in Felix’s space jump!) and know-how to make engaging content to boost your brand’s success. Contact Ryan Grieves to see how the BLASTmedia video team can help your business.

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About Paul Schreiber

Paul loves working at BLASTmedia as a senior content producer because "there is no ceiling to how much you want to learn or contribute and your personal life and professional development are valued equally." This Valpo-grad enjoy movies, art, comedy, reading, writing, cooking and a good plate of traditional Pad Thai.

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