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  • ( music playing )

  • Today, we're near Uvalde,

  • which is right in the bottom of Texas.

  • The more keenly observant of you

  • may have noticed we're in tank.

  • I'd be slightly surprised if you didn't notice the tank,

  • - to be fair. - Yeah, that's fair.

  • This is an M4 Sherman, which was built by the U.S. for World War II.

  • Shall we put it to use, Daniel?

  • I think we should.

  • Giddy-up!

  • ( engine starting )

  • Oh!

  • Here we are. This is the tank we're gonna fire.

  • Slightly different to the one we were riding in,

  • but it's the same model of tank, isn't it?

  • Yeah, it's an M4 Sherman as well,

  • but this one's an "Easy-Eight" or E8 Sherman.

  • It's the only one in existence that fires and drives.

  • - A rare beast. - It really is.

  • It's got all the original stuff on it.

  • All the machine guns on top, all original.

  • - All the fixings. - All the fixings.

  • And... we're gonna be firing this.

  • 15 and a half pounds of pure solid steal.

  • - Not small. - Not small.

  • It's gonna be coming straight out the end

  • of the 76 mil canon there,

  • about 2500 foot per second.

  • - Gonna need a high-speed camera then. - I think we are.

  • I feel like we're the right people for this job.

  • So the tank's over there, and very handily

  • at the other end of the range, is a lovely sort of orange,

  • - perforated vehicle. - Who put that there?

  • That's what we're gonna be aiming the tank at.

  • It's not actually important that we hit it

  • because we're mainly interested in tracking the shell through the air.

  • But, yeah, it's nice to have a target.

  • Oh, for sure. I mean, the tank has a range of two miles?

  • - And that's about 275 yards. - So, well within its limits.

  • - I think so. - Yeah.

  • Considering it goes at 2,500 feet per second,

  • I think it'll get there in...

  • - no time at all. - No time at all, okay. Let's go.

  • I'm about to fire a tank.

  • Yeah, not your everyday activity.

  • I wouldn't have thought so.

  • - You ready? - Yeah, let's do it.

  • I'm ready to feel the boom.

  • - Okay. - Three, two, one, fire.

  • - Whoa! - ( chuckles ) Oh!

  • That was a real, like, racket.

  • My brain was, like, shook.

  • It was like a violent smack

  • and then like a nice, like, whomp in the distance.

  • A smack and a whomp.

  • - Smack and a whomp. - That was good.

  • - Satisfying. - All right, let's see what that looked like.

  • - Dan: Whoa. - Gav: You literally see it.

  • - Jeez. - You can see a few frames of it there.

  • Dan: Oh, yeah. It's kind of blurry,

  • but you can actually see it.

  • It just looks like a giant bullet.

  • - Gav: I guess that's pretty much what it is, isn't it? - Dan: Yeah.

  • A giant bullet from a giant gun.

  • You ready?

  • Three, two, one, fire.

  • Flippin' A.

  • Bugger!

  • Whoa!

  • Oh, man.

  • So, just before I shot that--

  • Just before it punched me.

  • Yeah, just before I shot that, I'd done my hair right.

  • It was facing this way.

  • After I shot it, it was facing that way.

  • - It blew me away. - Where are your goggles?

  • I was wearing them.

  • - Were you? - Yeah.

  • All right, let's check Phantom.

  • Gav: Look at the way the blast flaps your sleeve around.

  • That was intense.

  • - Dan: Wow. - Gav: Can you see the round?

  • Gav: Oh, yeah.

  • Dan: You can see it, a tiny little dot

  • sailing off into the distance.

  • It's quite low. It's like against the--

  • Gav: Oh, yeah!

  • Wow.

  • - Did it blow the glasses off your face? - It blew the glasses

  • ten feet diagonally away from me,

  • rattled my brain, and changed my haircut

  • all in a split second.

  • Not what you read about in war books.

  • No, no, it's not.

  • One of the things I'm very excited about for this video

  • is that we plan tracking the tank round through the air.

  • And I've been using Phantoms for a long time.

  • I've been pretty good at panning.

  • - Yeah. - But I don't think I can track by hand

  • a round that's going, you know, 2,000 feet per second

  • at 82 feet away.

  • I'd like to see you try.

  • So, we brought in some big guns for our big guns.

  • This is Frank from Specialized Imaging.

  • Frank, do you want to explain to us what we've got here for the Phantom?

  • Sure. We have a computer controlled mirror

  • with a high-speed video camera looking into the mirror.

  • We don't have to pan the camera.

  • We only have to pan the mirror.

  • And thus we can get these very fast scan speeds up to,

  • in this case, around 2,000 or 3,000 degrees per second.

  • - So that means you'd have to spin the camera - Degrees per--

  • - 3,000 degrees per second. - That's how--

  • - It'd be like... - It'd be completely impossible

  • with a human muscle, I assume.

  • - Correct. - Unless you drove a train into it.

  • Ten full revs in a second.

  • - Yes. - That's crazy.

  • When it's fired, how does it know when--

  • how to turn the camera, how fast to turn the mirror?

  • Sure. The software that drives the mirror

  • allows you to put in an estimated velocity.

  • And we got that from the gunners here.

  • And then we also use two of our optical trigger systems

  • looking at the line of flight.

  • And as the bullet passed those triggers,

  • we actually did an instantaneous velocity measurement.

  • So that means that you've got two cameras.

  • The first one sees it,

  • and then it measures the time it takes to get to the next one

  • - and adjusts the mirror. - Correct.

  • So today we're gonna put the V2512,

  • pair it with this tracker, shoot around 28,500 frames a second.

  • So instead of panning the camera,

  • the camera stays perfectly still

  • and the mirror does all the work.

  • - Ready? Okay. - Yeah.

  • Three, two, one, fire.

  • Whoa.

  • That made a-- that made, like, a significant dust pile at the end.

  • That was a big dust pile, you're right.

  • - I think that was the biggest. - Yeah.

  • Let's go and check out the tracking shot.

  • For reference, we shot 212,000 pictures there.

  • Dan: Whoa.

  • Oh! Did you see the heat waves there?

  • Gav: Flippin'! It's outpacing that shockwave.

  • Dan: Oh, there's a shockwave. You can see the shockwave

  • - in front of it. - And behind it.

  • - Dan: Whoa! - Gav: It's trailing a nose--

  • Oh, it almost went out of frame there.

  • So the round is actually slightly slower

  • - than we wanted to track it. - That's because it's--

  • - It's 'cause it's come out like that, though. - Yeah.

  • It-- Like when it's actually correct--

  • 'Cause this is not supposed to happen.

  • - See what it's doing? You can see it yawing... - Yeah.

  • - ...up and down. - That's really weird.

  • Like that's-- That's "no correct."

  • Gav: And obviously it's more in focus in the beginning

  • than the middle, but then it will come back into focus.

  • - Oh, I was wondering why. - It's still trailing that wave.

  • Look at that. There you can see

  • there's so much detail in the air that's being affected.

  • Is it the moisture in the air? It must be.

  • It looks like exhaust from a jet.

  • Gav: Love that.

  • So I think now, we should--

  • I feel like we've got it. We know where it's gonna be.

  • We should zoom in a little bit.

  • - Oh, go tight. Naughty. - Go a little bit tighter.

  • All right, you ready for another one?

  • I-- I am. I really am.

  • All right, I got Phantom looking right at your face.