Camera Catches Shark Attack

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Photron Inc.'s ultima APX camera was behind a killer shark attack of a Cape fur seal at dawn, off the southern tip of South Africa, depicted in a recent "Planet Earth" production by the BBC/Discovery Channel.

The high-speed imaging wildlife sequence is part of an 11-part Planet Earth series, airing in the US on the Discovery Channel through this month. It included a "Pole to Pole" segment that featured the slow-motion footage of a great white shark attacking a fur seal. BBC’s six-member production crew used Photron’s ultima APX ultrahigh-speed, high-resolution camera to digitally capture the killer shark attack at 1000 f/s in full-color 1024 x 1024 pixel resolution. The attack is documented in a spectacular, super-slow-motion sequence lasting 47 seconds. (To view a clip from the show, visit:

Photron's ultima APX ultrahigh-speed camera digitally captured this sequence of a killer shark at feeding time. (Photo courtesy Photron Inc.)
In 2006, the camera won an Emmy Award for its slow motion replay capability and closeup at 12,500 f/s of the impact of a golf ball, broadcast by “Golf on CBS." (See: SwingVision Technology Awarded Sports Emmy)

Photron’s imaging technology is typically used in highly controlled environments such as automotive crash testing or missile/ballistics testing, but the ultima APX has also been used in sports broadcasting, the company said. Its imaging systems also have biomedical imaging, military, sports and entertainment, manufacturing, automotive and industrial motion applications.

The ultima line of cameras, like the APX used in the BBC series, can capture up to 3000 f/s at full resolution, up to 10,000 f/s at 512 x 512 pixel resolution and up to 250,000 f/s at reduced resolution. Photron recently introduced the Fastcam A-1 CMOS high-speed video camera. (See also: The Mysterious Motion of Long AC Arcs Understood)

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Published: May 2007
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
BBC/Discovery ChannelCape fur sealdefensehigh-speed cameraindustrialkiller shark attackNews & FeaturesphotonicsPhotronPhotron Inc.Planet Earthshark attack at dawnultima APX

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