Funding a Good High-Speed Camera

For the last couple years, I have been doing my video work for Forgotten Weapons with a consumer-grade little camcorder and a low-end wireless microphone. It works, but the video has some room for improvement – and the audio leaves a lot to be desired. My slow motion, such as it is, has been done with a Casio Exilim, a point-and-shoot pocket camera that can go up to 240 fps at reasonable quality (but you can clearly see the graininess in that footage). At the suggestion of a couple YouTube subscribers, I decided to start a crowdfunding campaign to finance a major upgrade in camera and audio gear. I did some research, and came up with a list of what would give me the biggest improvement for the buck, and came up with a total of $7500 worth of stuff. That seemed to be a bit optimistic to fund, so I figured I would run the campaign just on my YouTube channel and not pester you guys, my core readership, with it.

Well, it has been wildly successful. I set the campaign (on IndieGoGo) to run for 30 days, and after only 48 hours I have raised more than $6500. The campaign can’t be ended early, but I can set additional fundraising goals once I meet the initial goal. If I haven’t hit that initial $7500 goal by the time this publishes, I will be very close to it I made it to the full $7500 goal last night – so I want to discuss an additional goal with you.

Once I have the new equipment in hand that I had in mind, there will be one glaring hole left in my technical capability: high speed video. High speed video has long been a field with a stark divide between the consumer-level options (very low quality once you go slower than 120 or 240 fps) and the professional gear, which can capture clear images of bullets in flight but cost literally hundreds of thousands of dollars. Today, however, there is an intermediate option on the market: the Edgertronic. This is a high-speed camera designed specifically for the high-end amateur. It can capture full 1260 x 1080 high-def footage up to 500 frames/second, and 720P high def at 700 frames per second. For the less A/V savvy, 720P is equal to my highest-quality real-time footage right now. The Edgertronic (like all high speed cameras) can capture higher frame rates as well, with a proportional drop in image quality. It maxes out at 17,700 frames per second (yowza!) with 192 x 96 pixel output. For this capability, the price is $5500. It is the only camera I can find that straddles the consumer and professional worlds, and I think it would make an amazing tool to add to the Forgotten Weapons video capabilities. Here are a couple sample videos shot with this camera…

This is a great overall idea of what the camera can do, grinding M&Ms in a coffee grinder at 700fps and 2500 fps:

An example of the higher frame rate and lower quality – a shotgun firing at 6000 fps:

A bit slower, this is a hummingbird at 500fps (make sure to set the YouTube resolution to 720 to see the best quality):

Don’t you think it would be great to be able to see some unusual firearms actions at this sort of speed? Things like Lewis Guns and all their moving parts, or a Schwarzlose 1908 blow-forward, or a belt-fed Maxim or Vickers? I think it would be an excellent tool not just to make fun-to-watch footage, but also to really show what is happening when self-loading guns cycle. If you agree, please consider heading over to my fundraising campaign on IndieGoGo and making a contribution help make this a reality! There are some perks set up there that you can take advantage of, in addition to knowing what type of great footage we will be able to get with this camera.


  1. This would be an amazing and welcome improvement.High speed shots will certainly make give better footage of actions.

  2. A highly useful addition to your gear .
    However , when showing handguns , wear a light-coloured
    shirt and use a large white umbrella to improve picture
    contrast .

  3. This may not cover the specific goal of your website, but I would love to see a slow motion video of a improper caliber used in certain circumstances. A 9×19 cartridge in a Polish P64 or perhaps a CZ82. In my crazier days I fired a few of those out of a CZ82 and found that they tumble out and keyhole bad onto the target. I think that would look interesting on slow motion video. Another example would be finding an improperly made Tantal which had 5.56 barrels accidentally used, creating some wild keyholing.

  4. Cool!

    This would be a great addition! makes it worthwhile to revisit some classics!

    don’t forget you need a LOT of light for high speed shots, they would be insanely great for some of the older intersecting actions!

  5. Hi speed video equipment is indispensable during development work and it certainly helps to discover problems and leads to speedy remedies. during my years of work I had use of it to full satisfaction. In situation such as ‘investigative journalism’ on ancient weapon systems it certainly has its use too. I am for it.

  6. I wonder what the heck engineers did before high speed cameras? Pull the trigger mr smithy! (BOOM catasrophic explosion upon stripping a round from magazine) What happened? I dont know Mr smithy your hand is missing and it went too fast!

    • Interestingly, one of the things that contributed to the development of German roller-delayed and roller-locked actions was the development of mechanical high-speed cameras to be able to see what was happening when guns cycled.

  7. They developed really high speed cameras for the development of the atomic bomb. It was used in developing the explosive “lenses” for the fat man bomb.

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