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  • Dan: We're on top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore.

  • It has one of the highest rates of lightning strikes

  • in the world.

  • We're gonna be running Image Based Auto-Trigger.

  • It sounds like you're out of a job.

  • - ( lightning crackling ) - Go! Go! Go!

  • Gonna miss all the lightning.

  • Ah.

  • It was the first time I think

  • where I've managed to chill by the pool in the day, but then...

  • - Yeah. - ...been running around like a nutter in the evening.

  • It was tiring. The most relieving shoot I think we've ever had.

  • 'Cause there was the chance that we flew 20 hours across the world,

  • nothing happen, and then we had to come back.

  • Fully down to chance.

  • I mean, don't know what we would've done.

  • Should we just--

  • - Pub? Pub. - Pub.

  • The moment when we realized that the lightning was

  • on the other side of the hotel was a fun one.

  • Pegging it through the halls.

  • I hope no one was looking through the spyholes on the hotel doors.

  • Just seeing a bunch of crew legging it through the hallways.

  • And what would we do?

  • My shorts are falling down.

  • Lightning is gonna be striking on the Bay side.

  • Before we test out lightning on Dan,

  • - What? - We spoke to an expert called Professor Liew.

  • - What? - What?

  • Professor Liew, how are you doing?

  • - Oh, hi, I'm great. Dan, Dan, right? - Yeah.

  • - Hello. Gavin. - Yeah, right, yeah.

  • So we're trying to capture the lighting in super slow motion

  • because when you look at it with your eyes it just seems instant.

  • How fast does lightning actually move?

  • It'll be a real challenge for you

  • because you know the speed is actually very, very high.

  • There are two phases to the development of a lightning strike.

  • It starts from the cloud.

  • A lightning leader will descend.

  • The speed up there is about one tenth the velocity of light.

  • Now that is not the main lightning channel.

  • The main lightning channel actually develops

  • after contact from the down coming leader

  • with the ground and then there is this return stroke.

  • Which moves up from the ground to the cloud.

  • And the speed of propagation of that particular channel is even faster.

  • That travels at one third the velocity of light.

  • ( lightning crackling )

  • Okay, so we got a struggle to capture this.

  • Yeah, we really are.

  • How many volts in a lightning bolt?

  • Voltage varies from about 10 million to 100 million volts.

  • - 100 million volts. - That's a lot of voltage.

  • - Yeah. So-- - You could fry an egg.

  • I think probably.

  • So, I'm not planning on it,

  • but what's it like to get hit by lightning?

  • Wow. ( laughs )

  • I do not advise you to, you know,

  • stand out in the open and say, "I'm invincible."

  • You know, try to attract a lightning strike.

  • When the voltage impinges on a person

  • that will cause a current flow to the body

  • the amount of current

  • which flows depends on the resistance of the body.

  • But, you know, in reality, you know,

  • when the lightning stroke hits you directly, you know,

  • the chances of survival is extremely slim.

  • The temperature of a lightning channel

  • is about 30,000 degrees Kelvin or centigrade.

  • - 30,000-- - 30,000.

  • And how long is it 30,000?

  • Just for like a split second?

  • It is actually, you know, the whole duration

  • of the wave-- the lightning wave varies

  • from microseconds to milliseconds.

  • You know, the duration maximum may be about one second.

  • It could be fatal.

  • - Yeah. - So you'd know about it for sure.

  • What is the correct thing to do

  • if you're out in an open area

  • and there's a big lightning storm coming in?

  • - Well, you try your best to get indoors. - Okay.

  • - Just run inside. - Run inside.

  • He who plays and runs away

  • and lives to play another day, you know.

  • - ( both laugh ) - I like that.

  • Yeah, so, run indoors.

  • I think that's the most sensible advice.

  • - That's stupid. - Oh, come on.

  • Go, go, ask him.

  • So is it true, um,

  • you get superpowers when you're struck by lightning?

  • I wish that could be so, you know,

  • then I'll become Thor or Iron Man.

  • - Okay. - No.

  • - The answer is no. - No.

  • Oh, you mislead me for a second.

  • I was like, "Does he or what?"

  • - Okay, well thanks very much, Professor. - Okay.

  • - Thank you, Dan. - Thank you.

  • - Thank you very much. - Yeah.

  • Okay, back to you, Gav and Dan.

  • Thanks, us.

  • - I bloody loved him. - He was a legend.

  • - He reminded me of my granddad. - Yeah.

  • Time for a bit of analysis.

  • I wanna take one of our clips,

  • find where we can see the entire bolt

  • from cloud all the way to the ocean

  • and time how long it took for all the feelers to hit the ocean

  • - in real time. - I think it'll be fast.

  • I also think it will be fast.

  • Time code is set to zero point zero seconds.

  • - Yep. - Ready to time it?

  • Okay. Yes.

  • - Uh, that was it. So-- - ( laughs ) What?

  • If I go frame by frame

  • Here we go, yeah.

  • - What? - Yeah, yeah, yeah.

  • So one frame is traveling that far?

  • Point zero zero zero six seconds.

  • - Like I said, it's fast. - 632--

  • - It's so-- So, yeah. - Really fast.

  • What is interesting to me,

  • if you look at all these step leaders,

  • which is you know each finger of the thing.

  • They're all trying to find the path of least resistance

  • down to the planet,

  • but the one that gets there first

  • is the one that sends the bolt up.

  • But you can already see before it wins,

  • what the shape of the lightning bolt will be.

  • So when this hits the ground here.

  • The lightning will come up and follow the exact path that this one took.

  • - So that's the exact-- - And everything else disappears.

  • See, that's like the exact perfect angle.

  • It's a lot going on in just a lightning storm.

  • It is. It happens so quickly as well.

  • There's actually a clip I found

  • where it's sort of halfway coming up.

  • So, you mean to say that even though the speed of lightning

  • of it going back up, you managed to capture it

  • where it hadn't gone all the way up yet and it was literally only halfway up.

  • - Yeah, you wanna see it? - Yeah.

  • - See, look at that. - Whoa!

  • So that is sort of halfway

  • between the white out that we saw on the other one

  • but it hasn't reached this point.

  • So you can actually imagine it's not actually like this.

  • It's just so bright, it's blowing out the camera from that point.

  • And the thing is because of the camera that we used,

  • the 2512, has a global shutter.

  • That means this is an actual moment in time.

  • This isn't an artifact because of a rolling shutter.

  • This is actually how far up it got.

  • So if we'd have given it enough of tiny, tiny split second,

  • it would've been all the way to the top?

  • Yeah. Well, because in one 28,500th of a second,

  • it hit the ground and went all the way up to here.

  • Shall we do a lovely tabletop experiment?

  • Yeah.

  • You've forgotten what it was, didn't you?

  • That's good, that's good.

  • The Van de Graaff generator.

  • - Classic school experiment. - Yep.

  • I like the gloves more than anything.

  • Rubber gloves. How's it work?

  • The way this works is similar to lightning

  • in that a lot of brushes in here

  • build up a static charge.

  • Like friction and build up a charge.

  • The lighter positively charged particles come to the top.