Bored? Why not send your BMPCC and Atomos NinjaStar into space?

Written by Andy Stout

Keisuke Iwaya

The earliest space exploration was not done with the aid of rockets but weather balloons carrying instrument packages up high into and then beyond the atmosphere. And as Japanese amateur astrophysicist, Keisuke Iwaya, shows, modern camera kit is more than capable of making the journey.

Iwaya’s Fusen Ucyu (Balloon Space) Project has seen him and a small team attach various cameras to weather balloons, fill them with helium and watch them soar up into the sky, but the footage he obtained with the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera was some of the best yet.

The BMPCC was coupled to an Atomos NinjaStar with a 128GB CFast card, packed into a special and lightweight housing and let go. As the captions on Iwaya’s video make clear, over the course of a two-hour journey the craft ascended to a maximum 28.5km (17.7 miles) before the balloon popped as intended and the camera housing freefalled — and then parachuted — safely back to Earth.

The whole journey was shot at 24fps ProRes 422HQ on the NinjaStar via a Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm lens at f/4.0 mounting a Kenko Pro1 Digital ND16 Wide filter. The voyage has been edited down to a couple of minutes and about an hour in you start to fear the worse as the whole lens assembly mists up. Then the atmosphere thins and the curve of the Earth appears before you and you start thinking ‘Wow. That looks kind of fun’.

Given that the rest of the world is currently flying drones here there and everywhere, this sort of extreme high-altitude work is appealing — even more so when you realise you can get a 6ft diameter weather balloon capable of carrying a max payload of over 5kg and ascending to over 31km on Amazon now for around £50. So, if anyone fancies lending me a camera…


Tags: Technology


Related Articles

31 July, 2020

This is how Netflix is adapting Anime to modern technology

The streaming service brings 4K and HDR to the classic Japanese artform in the latest example of its prototyping production techniques.


Read Story

30 July, 2020

Gigabyte Aero 17 XA review: A competition beating powerhouse [sponsored]

The Gigabyte Aero 17 XA has some pretty nifty specs on paper. How does it stack up in the real world, and more importantly against the competition?


Read Story

30 July, 2020

For all film makers: How to avoid losing your stuff and where to put it

Replay: The technological revolution has created great opportunities for new film-makers everywhere, but has in its wake created a new challenge:...

Read Story