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500 Knots on the Houston Ship Channel

Upper ship channel, anyway. This is a time lapse video I made using a computer to control an old Olympus camera. The gear was set to record a 1024x760 photo at medium resolution every six seconds. To make the video I used Mac's Quicktime Pro program to consolidate and replay the individual photos at 15 frames per second. The camera was placed on an upside down trash can (my wife is painting the house and my small tripod has mysteriously disappeared).


The episode is truncated about half way through the trip due to Flickr's 90sec/150mb video limitations. The second half of the trip is in the next video over


I tried to figure out how fast the ship appears to be going. 1 frame each 6 seconds played at 15 frames per second yields a 90:1 speed ratio. So 6-10 knots should look like 540-900 knots, but it doesn't look that fast. Probably because a ship is so big it throws off your intuition about speed.


The ship is the Champion Star. About 600x106' or 180x32m. So there's about 500' out to the foremast there.


Since it was recorded at 1024x760 I really recommend clicking on the little button on the lower right side of the image above to take advantage of the full screen mode.




P.S. One of the viewers gave me this link to a similar trip through the Panama Canal:


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Taken on April 26, 2008