Just before I went to bed last night, I remembered that I had shot a video of the entire Atlantis launch.
Before I traveled down to Florida, I searched the video-sphere for very wide-angle shots of a shuttle launch. I wanted a video that captures what a person would actually see from the causeway. All of the videos I found were zoomed in to track the shuttle (which is great to see). I wanted a non-zoomed video that does not track the launch, but instead shows the entire launch sequence from a fixed zoom.
As a last-minute thought as I was packing, I brought my GoPro HD Motorsports Hero, which I had just purchased for in-car camera for racing. Before that, I was thinking about using my Canon 7D to record the video in 1080p HD, but as noted previously that would mean using only 2 megapixels of the 18 megapixels available. The HD Motorsport Hero does 1080p HD video, but is not zoomed. It is designed for in-car video. It has a very wide field of view.
Around T-5 minutes, I took out the HD Hero and snuck up to the security rope. I put down a book I brought for reading, and set up the camera on top. The HD Hero does not have a rear video screen, so I had no way to be sure that it was going to work. I worked out the left and right angle of view, as I could hold my hands at 90-degrees to line it up. But the vertical was complete guesswork.
Once I remembered about the video last night, I connected it up to my MacBook Pro and imported the video.
It was perfect!
It exactly captures what I wanted – the full launch to SRB separation all in one continuous view. It captures how fast the shuttle climbs. The video is not useful after SRB separation, as the camera could not pick up the SSMEs which do not produce a smoke trail.
I will need to crop down the video and clean up the audio, and then I will post the video later in the week.