On November 12, 2003, I attended a live performance by Survival Research Labs at the Berkeley Art Museum. In addition to taking a couple photos, I used my Canon S400 to shoot some video. I’ve finally gotten around to scaling the video down enough in iMovie to post here. Get ready to see and hear the firing of a V1 rocket engine, a Tesla coil sending 20+ foot sparks into metallic sheets hanging from trees, and a set of 150 dB pulse jets.
The original videos were 320×240 resolution, 15 fps AVI files. The S400 lets you shoot three minutes of video before it needs to dump the audio and video from internal memory to a Compact Flash card. Three minutes of video at that resolution ends up being close to 45 MB. I used iMovie to get the two clips down to 7 and 3 MB.
The last two segments ended up being the best. This first segment highlights the firing of the V1 rocket engine. Near the end, there is some good footage of the huge Tesla coil sending 25-30 foot sparks into what appears to be sheets of mylar hanging from large trees.
The Hovercraft also makes an appearance. You can see it in the background as a couple people drag it out of the path of the V1. It has 4 pulse jets. Each one is four feet long and glows red hot while in operation. The two pairs of jets can be rotated around on the top of the Hovercraft, giving it sort of a radar antenna feel. The jets glow red hot when in operation and they make a very cool wailing sound that you hear throughout most of the video. The SRL website describes the Hovercraft as:
The loudest robot in the world at 150 decibels. Louder than a cruise missile until it blows up.
The Hovercraft didn’t blow up during the show, although two of the pulse jets did burst into flames. Maybe that counts as blowing up. At an SRL show, it’s hard to know whether something has caught on fire on purpose or by accident.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This QuickTime movie is about 7 MB and the video lasts three minutes.
The second segment starts with some absolute Tesla coil mayhem, before the V1 kicks back in with full effect. As you watch these videos, keep reminding yourself that this is happening in the courtyard of a University art museum in the middle of Berkeley.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This QuickTime movie is about 3 MB and the video lasts just under two minutes.