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3D and Zoom Lenses on Mars


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#1 John Sprung

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 04:33 PM

Interesting --

http://www.televisio.../article/100188



-- J.S.
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#2 Keith Walters

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 06:45 PM

I can understand why NASA would be nervous about zoom lenses.
35 million+ miles from home operating in a near-vacuum and constantly bombarded with abrasive dust. And that's two lenses that you have to keep in perfect sync, hard enough on a nice cozy soundstage. (Although the lack of camera assistants may help :rolleyes: )

Actually in years gone by some handycam-type consumer video cameras used to have a damned nice feature, which I'm surprised hasn't appeared on professional cameras.

As well as the usual zoom lens/CCD assembly, they had a second CCD sensor with a fixed wide-angle lens, similar to a compact security camera. You could switch between the two pickups while recording, and in the wide-angle mode, a little on-screen box showed you what part of that image would fill the screen when you switched to the zoom lens. (You could also operate the zoom motor while in wide-angle, the on-screen box getting bigger or smaller depending on the zoom setting). You could also "window" the actual live zoom image into the box so it appeared as an insert on the wide angle image.

Used correctly, that function could produce amazingly professional-looking results, long before video editing was available to the masses.

It occurs to me that it might be far more practical for NASA to simply have a set of switchable CMOS pickups, each with its own fixed focus prime lens, and move the chips in and out to achieve focus instead. That would produce far more "cinematic" results than using zoom lenses. Don't know that there would be that much call for dramatic zoom pulling on Mars anyway, since life seems to be pretty slow there....
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#3 Dominic Case

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 05:25 PM

This will give our public engagement co-investigator, James Cameron, tools similar to those he used on his recent 3D motion picture projects.”

And this will give the consiracy theorists plenty of ammunition to deny the reality of the shots when they finally come back. Funny how the big advances in space exploration imagery seem tied to film directors. From Kubrick down :rolleyes: .

Next thing we'll be hearing that a researcher has proved that George Melies' A Voyage to the Moon was the first actuality footage ever shot.

Seriously though, it's interesting that NASA hires a director to stage their record shots. Presumably this will come out of their PR budget: it's an attempt to make science interesting and bolster support for their flagging budget allocations.
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#4 Hal Smith

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 08:27 PM

The whole damn world is becoming increasingly re-entrant and recursive. James Cameron now will have a personal Avatar on Mars in the form of a NASA rover. "Are you ready for your closeup now Marvin?"
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#5 Simon Wyss

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Posted 13 May 2010 - 02:52 AM

I don't think that there is anything on Mars at all. No television, no moon landing. No computer, no space pictures.
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