Friday, April 29, 2016

Motion Blur and Atypical Flare Over Syria

The following are images taken from the boom position of a McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender aircraft while refueling an F-22 Raptor over Syria. The point of these pictures here is to demonstrate a good use of motion blur and a form of lens flare both “normal” and “atypical” as used by our unwitting photographer for the benefit of those interested in the arts of visual effects.

In our first picture we have the image of a stabilized F-22 underneath the KC-10 with the city in the distance. The F-22 has matched its motion to the boom and our photographer so there is no motion blur (there is actually a tiny amount) but the ground underneath the plane is moving at a steady clip as you can see by the streak of its lights. Additionally both the bright distant lights and lights/reflections on the airplane itself are demonstrating what we might call “typical flare”, e.g. a roughly circular, symmetric and Gaussian glow on top of (double exposed if you will) the base imagery. Also look for saturation blowout where the image “becomes so bright” that the color is attenuated to “a very bright” white.

In the second picture, our eyes are drawn to the green flare on the left side of the image. The conceit here is that there has been some moisture on the lens, whether from rain or condensation or other. The water distorts the otherwise circular flare (as maintained for the red light) into a idiosyncratic and atypical flare such as we might see in the so-called real world, which in fact this is.

Notice that the lights on the ground are far less noticeable as we have moved over a more rural part of Syria.

In our final image, we have a different point of view. The fighter still has matched motion to the boom and hence no noticable blur, but the lights are also seen from a different angle and more in the distance, so there is also less blur.

The funny thing about motion blur done well is that at speed the apparent blur disappears.

Wikipedia page on the KC-10

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