The Windup: The Camera

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The Windup: The Camera

Postby kedamono » Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:00 am

Let's talk about the Windup. It's a remarkable machine created in parallel by UNIDA and TAESS. The current model is a codeveloped one, manufactured by the mechanical geniuses on British Empire Earth (AKA Victorian Earth) and the testing gear is mainly manufacture on United Nations Earth (AKA Earth Prime).

I'm not going to focus on the whole thing, just the camera for this post. On UN Earth, the initial thought was to use a polaroid camera to take the pictures on a rotating platform, but that proved to be difficult. Newer models were electric, while the older mechanic models were problematic and hard to automate, as they were never intended to be automated. Also, it would expose the film to the elements partially, and that would impair it's development.

On Brit Earth, they created a system that would drop 4" glass plates into a slot, take the exposure, drop the plate into a case, and slot in the next one. There was a lot of breakage, and they had to have a darkroom with them to develop the plates.

On UN Earth, the Polaroid corporation mentioned that they had their Polachrome slide film, with developing kit. Once exposed, the film was put into a simple device and hand cranked to develop the film. Take about 3-5 minutes.

The first camera used was a modified mechanical 35mm body. The lens focused to a mid range, with a average exposure. It would take 24 shots as the camera was rotated, pausing for each shot to minimize blur.
Then a FW camera nut pointed out that the Globuscope panoramic camera was perfect. It was entirely mechanical, and you wound it up by twisting the body on the handle. It could mechanically activated and took a 360° image on 6 inches of 35mm film.


This was perfect, as the Polachrome film was being manufactured by hand by a licensee, and wasn't cheap. (It wasn't cost effective at the time to do more than short runs of 40' or less of the film.) The developer was already a multiuse kit, but the developer cartridges were also hand made on limited runs. So the shorter length meant more pictures could be taken, and they would be panoramic automatically.
As more teams were brought on line, a limited production of Globuscopes was made at $20,000 a camera. That's when the Fringeworthy with military intelligence experience pointed out that the image, while useful, didn't provide information like scale or range.

A modified version of the globuscope was created. It was no longer was on top of the Windup, but inside the body. The slitscan aperture was divided vertically into two. A stereo periscope was attached. The top slit would record the left view, while the bottom slit would record the right view. It was determined that a 1' separation of the periscope's lenses was sufficient for a good parallax image.
The Brits provided the mechanical range finding viewer. You aligned the object you want to range in the scope and then read the range out on the guides. It was accurate to within 1'-2' out to 200 yards. Once you had distance, you could determine scale using the same device. It couldn't give a decent range on objects 5 yards or closer. That was just too close.
By this time, the UN authorized full time production of the Polachrome film, and made the Polaroid company a tidy profit from the license.

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