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A Very Special Message from Space Station Alpha

In the timelapse video "Further Up Yonder," we hear snippets of speech from the crew of the International Space Station, also known as Space Station Alpha. There are three crew up there at the moment, and as you hear in the video -- they are "the most forward-deployed citizens of the planet at this moment." While doing science experiments, they also shoot stunning photography, and thanks to NASA, that photography is available for free online. This video was made by film student Giacomo Sardelli, who wrote:

As a filmmaking student, this was my first attempt to craft a timelapse video. It has been a time consuming process, but it turned out as one of my most satisfying projects.

I focused my workflow on colours and harmony of movements, syncing every frame with the music and the voices of the astronauts. Every picture has been post processed individually before being imported in the NLE software, as I tried to take the most out of every image in terms of colours, contrast and neatiness.

Pictures were downloaded from the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center and edited with Photoshop CS6. Even if they were Hi-res images shot with Nikon D3S cameras, a lot of noise removal and color correction was needed, especially for those shots at ISO 3200, which was the highest ISO speed limit I've allowed myself to use, exception made for the last sequence of the spinning world, which comes from a sequenze of shots taken at ISO 12800. Daytime shots were taken at ISO 200. I've used Topaz Denoise 5 for noise removal, as it is very powerful and accurate when dealing with shadows and blacks.

Editing was made with Adobe Premiere CS6, with a 2K workflow, which allowed me to scale, rotate and pan image sequences whose native resolution is 4K. The video was downscaled to 1280x720 resolution for Vimeo. The original 2K version is available for download on my blog.

In my day, film students used 8mm film cameras without sound, cut by hand on flatbed editing bays. Also, in my day, we didn't even have an International Space Station (we had to make do with Skylab) -- so I guess times have changed. Enjoy.

Further Up Yonder from Giacomo Sardelli on Vimeo.

Note: if you're looking for subtitles, they're out there.

For more ISS goodness, check out: Starry Nights, as Seen from the International Space Station; Yet More Brilliant Space Station Video; Stunning Time Lapse of Earth Seen from Space Station; 11 Eye-Opening NASA Wakeup Calls; and Don Pettit's awesome Yo-Yos in Space!

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science
Scientists Analyze the Moods of 90,000 Songs Based on Music and Lyrics
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iStock

Based on the first few seconds of a song, the part before the vocalist starts singing, you can judge whether the lyrics are more likely to detail a night of partying or a devastating breakup. The fact that musical structures can evoke certain emotions just as strongly as words can isn't a secret. But scientists now have a better idea of which language gets paired with which chords, according to their paper published in Royal Society Open Science.

For their study, researchers from Indiana University downloaded 90,000 songs from Ultimate Guitar, a site that allows users to upload the lyrics and chords from popular songs for musicians to reference. Next, they pulled data from labMT, which crowd-sources the emotional valence (positive and negative connotations) of words. They referred to the music recognition site Gracenote to determine where and when each song was produced.

Their new method for analyzing the relationship between music and lyrics confirmed long-held knowledge: that minor chords are associated with sad feelings and major chords with happy ones. Words with a negative valence, like "pain," "die," and "lost," are all more likely to fall on the minor side of the spectrum.

But outside of major chords, the researchers found that high-valence words tend to show up in a surprising place: seventh chords. These chords contain four notes at a time and can be played in both the major and minor keys. The lyrics associated with these chords are positive all around, but their mood varies slightly depending on the type of seventh. Dominant seventh chords, for example, are often paired with terms of endearment, like "baby", or "sweet." With minor seventh chords, the words "life" and "god" are overrepresented.

Using their data, the researchers also looked at how lyric and chord valence differs between genres, regions, and eras. Sixties rock ranks highest in terms of positivity while punk and metal occupy the bottom slots. As for geography, Scandinavia (think Norwegian death metal) produces the dreariest music while songs from Asia (like K-Pop) are the happiest. So if you're looking for a song to boost your mood, we suggest digging up some Asian rock music from the 1960s, and make sure it's heavy on the seventh chords.

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Space
Watch NASA Test Its New Supersonic Parachute at 1300 Miles Per Hour
NASA/JPL, YouTube
NASA/JPL, YouTube

NASA’s latest Mars rover is headed for the Red Planet in 2020, and the space agency is working hard to make sure its $2.1 billion project will land safely. When the Mars 2020 rover enters the Martian atmosphere, it’ll be assisted by a brand-new, advanced parachute system that’s a joy to watch in action, as a new video of its first test flight shows.

Spotted by Gizmodo, the video was taken in early October at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Narrated by the technical lead from the test flight, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Ian Clark, the two-and-a-half-minute video shows the 30-mile-high launch of a rocket carrying the new, supersonic parachute.

The 100-pound, Kevlar-based parachute unfurls at almost 100 miles an hour, and when it is entirely deployed, it’s moving at almost 1300 miles an hour—1.8 times the speed of sound. To be able to slow the spacecraft down as it enters the Martian atmosphere, the parachute generates almost 35,000 pounds of drag force.

For those of us watching at home, the video is just eye candy. But NASA researchers use it to monitor how the fabric moves, how the parachute unfurls and inflates, and how uniform the motion is, checking to see that everything is in order. The test flight ends with the payload crashing into the ocean, but it won’t be the last time the parachute takes flight in the coming months. More test flights are scheduled to ensure that everything is ready for liftoff in 2020.

[h/t Gizmodo]

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