Phantom High-Speed HD Camera, FCPUG NAB Supermeet, April 2008
The Phantom HD’s claim to fame is the ability to shoot uncompressed, high speed footage at up to 1,000 frames per second (fps) and up to 2K (2048x2048 pixels) resolution using a special CMOS imager. It accepts standard Pl-mount 35mm cinema lenses and is also capable of capturing in standard and HD resolutions from 1 fps all the way up to 1,000.
Working with uncompressed 2K images means two things: number one, you need a huge amount of really fast storage capability just to shoot at 2K 1,000 fps; and number two, manipulating it in FCP is going to be a bit of a challenge. We’ll get to the FCP workflow in a little bit. As for how the camera itself handles all of that data, the Phantom comes with 16 or 32 GB of on board ultra-high speed flash RAM. At 1,000 fps/uncompressed 2K, 32 GB is about 8.8 seconds of recording time.
Eight seconds might not sound like much coming from the world of standard shooting speeds. But at 1,000 fps that translates into an 8,700 frame clip that takes 6 minutes and 6 seconds to play back at 24 fps, in remarkably sharp and detailed slow-motion. Typically you’re shooting an event that only takes a few milliseconds or at most a few seconds to occur like an explosion or a car zooming by, so it’s actually very ample for most instances. You also can get a CineMag which gives you up to 256 or 512 GB more, albeit at relatively slower recording rates for when you need to capture an event much longer in duration. You still get up to 450 fps with the CineMag, which is not too shabby either.