Earlier this month, Matt Melis released a 45-minute video showing a Space Shuttle launch with professional commentary on what you're seeing in each shot. (It's actually three launches spliced together.) If you're wondering what happens during a Space Shuttle launch, this is extremely educational -- and completely mesmerizing (particularly with the sound off) due to the slow-motion photography. It's beautiful, educational, and kinda geeky. Here's what Melis wrote, explaining the video:
Photographic documentation of a Space Shuttle launch plays a critical role in the engineering analysis and evaluation process that takes place during each and every mission. Motion and Still images enable Shuttle engineers to visually identify off-nominal events and conditions requiring corrective action to ensure mission safety and success. This imagery also provides highly inspirational and educational insight to those outside the NASA family. This compilation of film and video presents the best of the best ground-based Shuttle motion imagery from STS-114, STS-117, and STS-124 missions. Rendered in the highest definition possible, this production is a tribute to the dozens of men and women of the Shuttle imaging team and the 30yrs of achievement of the Space Shuttle Program. The video was produced by Matt Melis at the Glenn Research Center.
You can also check out ten minutes of deleted scenes.