Space Shuttle Lifts Off Live in HD
During its coverage, HDNet will use up to 14 high-definition 1080i cameras, including one with a special Canon DIGI SUPER 86 TELExs lens capable of an astounding (at least to me, anyway) 2,322mm focal length that will be located at one of NASA's tracking sites. The HD camera/super-duper-focal-length lens combo is said to be capable of following Discovery up to at least 176,000 feet, or 33 miles(!) into the earth's atmosphere. (I know it's disappointing, but at this time Canon does not make an adapter for the Canon lens that will fit your Canon digital camcorder...) An HD camera mounted on a pan-and-tilt robo head will be positioned at the launch pad (no doubt filling with relief many a camera guy who thought he'd wind up being the one holding the camera while wearing a pair of heavy-duty sunglasses and sitting on a folding chair near the pad).
In addition to televising the launch, HDNet will provide extensive live coverage of events surrounding the actual launch itself. Viewers will be able to follow pre-flight activities and watch the astronauts as they eat breakfast with their families before suiting up and boarding the shuttle. HDNet's broadcast will also follow the complete pre-launch routine inside the Shuttle Discovery's crew module. Coverage will continue with the countdown, launch, and orbital insertion.
Following a successful launch, HDNet will be live on location for Discovery's landing, which is currently scheduled for 11:01 AM (EDT) on July 25th.
As is the network's typical practice when providing live coverage of world events, HDNet will be broadcasting the natural sounds of the launch along with NASA's commentary uninterrupted by outside commentators. HDNet says 100 percent of the broadcast's information will come directly from mission control. Mark Cuban of HDNet summed up the unique untouched approach to the coverage by commenting that "only HDNet will bring launch-to-landing coverage of the Shuttle Discovery, without annoying talking heads interrupting this historic return to space."
In commenting on HDNet's high-definition coverage, Mike Rein, Chief of Media Services at NASA's Kennedy Space Center said, "These will undoubtedly be the highest quality pictures ever broadcast of a Space Shuttle launch."
The Canon DIGI SUPER 86 TELExs lens that will be used to follow Discovery to orbit includes Canon’s built-in Optical Image Stabilizer. The Shift-IS system, as it's called, is designed to neutralize camera shake due to wind, platform vibrations, and even the camera operator's breathing - all of which can be highly detrimental to tight, long-distance shots. The Stabilizer's two shake-detecting sensors for yaw and pitch help move the Shift-IS lens group horizontally and vertically to counteract image shake and maintain a totally stable picture. Surprisingly, Canon's image stabilization technology is able to do its magic without increasing the overall size and weight of the master lens.