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Dark room secrets of the Dark Knight - With Batman very much in front of the cameras lately after the recent release of the new film, itís easy to forget that this caped crusader is often behind the camera as part of his crime fighting pursuits around Gotham City. Kate Mitchell tells us more.
The cameras Batman has used over the years since he started life in the late 1930's have never really had the spotlight next to equipment such as the Bat-mobile or Bat-copter, despite being a crucial part of his superhero surveillance.
Batman's humble cameras have even been eclipsed in various films and television series by the other gadgets on his ingenious Utility Belt, such as the Batarangs and Goo-gun. In fact, amongst his vast collection of cutting edge equipment, the camera might seem the least impressive.
This is not the case however; Batman's photo-technology is deceptively complex and as clever as it is crucial, playing an important part of some of his missions. For a superhero who shunned firearms for more humane forms of attack, imagination was just as important as equipment, and Batman's visual technology certainly demonstrates inventive flair.
From the rear-facing spy cam on the 1960's model of the Batmobile to the modern day mini camera in the buckle of his utility belt, Batman's ability to evade criminals has depended on variety and scope in his information technology.
Batman's photographic equipment might disappear and reappear in the line up of Bat-tools throughout his sixty year history, but it has never lost its ingenuity. The latest Bat- blockbuster to hit the cinemas features what some critics think is the most impressive array of gadgetry. There are even reports that one of Nokia's new photo-camera models makes an appearance in the hands of one character, giving Batman a twenty first century twist.
In fact, so secretive and elusive is Batman's persona that it seems impossible to account for his technological mastery with any certainty, as the vast array of sources on the net testify.
What we are able to pin down are overlooked but crucial elements of his crime fighting arsenal. And they would probably make any photography enthusiast envious to say the least; Batman's unusual ‘dark room' is a cut above the average. Situated in the Bat-cave, it consists of an electronic image store, cataloguing criminals and tracking their movements. This store, known as the Bat Spectrograph criminal analyser can be transmitted to and from the Bat-mobile at any time to assist Batman and Robin in their missions.
As well as this high speed transfer, Batman's smaller scale gadgetry on his famed Utility Belt comprises a mini-camera which is not only hidden from view to trick criminals but highly sophisticated in its functions. Known as a bat camera with polarised bat filter, it must have required nothing less than wizardry to create. Bruce Wayne, as he is known without his bat costume, pushed and developed his intellectual capacity to enable himself to master such inventive talent.
Whilst you're unlikely to find any of this equipment in Dixon's, it's safe to say that Batman is a guy we can all relate to in some way, because he is continually empowered by gadgets. Revolutions in the electronic goods market are happening all the time, no less so in the case of the mighty camera. Whilst a photography enthusiast isn't likely to save the world armed with nothing but their Kodak Easy-share, one thing we can all agree on is that cameras do afford their owners with a special power of their own: recording the world. Oh, and any arch-villains that happen to pop up along the way.....