# I.R. Video setup for Stage Manager

#### gafftaper

##### Senior Team
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I keep building my list of equipment for the new college theater. Probably won't get some of them, but I'm going to cut the list down once I find out how much money I actually have to spend.

Anyway, after watching that backstage tour video posted in another thread I got the idea of having an infrared video system for the Stage Manager. Does anybody have one? Where do you get one? Is it sickeningly expensive? Don't know anything about it so I thought I would ask what's out there.

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#### soundlight

##### Well-Known Member
You just get a Black and White CCTV camera that works with IR sources, and then pour a sh*tload of IR light on to your stage, and hook everything up. IR usually comes from friggin huge arrays or IR LED's.

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#### soundlight

##### Well-Known Member
In general, I promote the concept of separate cameras and IR sources. You usually need much bigger IR arrays than are on the cameras for a theater.

#### Van

##### CBMod
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yeah, What they said. The cool thing about CCD's < the little things inside video cameras that "See"> is that they take Near Infra-red and infra red and "convert it to visible White light on a TV screen. Great way to test if your remote control for your TV is working or not.
I just saw an ad for Frys this weekend they had a wireless IP security camera for really cheap. I thought it might be worth trying in our stages as a way to monitor stage activity, and for me to get work done while techless techs are happening. Sorry long winded again.

#### gafftaper

Senior Team
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Thanks. It hadn't occurred to me that security websites would be full of options. DUH! I'm thinking about just having the ability to see when the crew is clear from a dark set change or when the actors are in place. Nothing fancy, don't need to see any greater detail than when the shapes stop moving. Since it's a black box with a 17 foot high grid, I can mount the camera wherever I want to get the best angle for the show. I'm thinking I probably wouldn't need a huge I.R. array since the throw wouldn't be too far. The site Avkid posted has some little LED I.R. lights for $240 each. One or Two of those over the playing surface should probably be enough to see if people are on or off stage yet. Looks like several decent camera options for under$300... I can probably do the whole package for under $1000. That's way less than expected. #### Footer ##### Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member I have in the past hooked up a standard off the shelf camera and put it in "night vision" mode to get a cheep inferred when needed. It works in a pinch. I have worked in theatres that have a very good inferred system and they are a great thing to have around. #### fosstech ##### Active Member A stage light with really saturated red+blue gels would make a much cheaper infrared illuminator. We use a Selecon Pacific 90 degree leko for our infrared illuminator. It's the only Selecon product we own. Dumps a ton of IR onto the stage, and was way cheaper than$700. The reason we used the Pacific was because of the IR mirror...it doesn't burn the gels. Some of you may say, "How will that work? The dichroic IR mirror takes out the IR!" Well, it takes most of it out. I looked up the efficiency of the mirror in the Pacific. Even with the mirror, the intensity of IR light emitted from the Pacific is more than the intensity of visible light. So get rid of the visible light via the gels (you might even be able to get a dichroic filter that does this), and you have a bright and cheap IR illuminator.

Don't know if it would burn the gel or not, but a S4 with one of the new 90 degree lens tubes might work as well, and would be cheaper than the Pacific.

#### icewolf08

##### CBMod
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It really doesn't take much IR energy to get an image even on some of the cheapie IR cameras. We don't bother with an illuminator at my theatre and the ambient IR energy from run lights and such gives us a clear enough picture. Of course this may differ from venue to venue. What would be a great solution for an illuminator would be if someone made a dichroic filter that only passed IR as it would probably be cheaper than buying a dedicated illuminator, and you would never run into burn out issues like you would with gel.

#### SHARYNF

##### Well-Known Member
The Night vision option on camcorders is really quite good, all you need to do is have the camera without a tape in it. If you compare the quality vs a security camera, it typically is quite a bit better.

Sharyn

#### avkid

##### Not a New User
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You have to be careful with camcorders, some turn off to save power after a set period of time.

#### gafftaper

Senior Team
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I've been doing a little research on Dichroics that restrict visible light while allowing I.R. to pass. Turns out it's a product called a "Cold Mirror" and they are out there. They don't seem to be listed on Rosco, Gam, or Apollo's sites (although I've sent e-mails to all three)... but they are out there on other scientific and manufacturing websites. That mirror inside a Selecon that allows for the heat to escape out the top while projecting all the visible light forward is a cold mirror at a 45 degree angle. What if you put that in an S4 pattern slot and reflected the visible light back into the instrument while allowing the I.R. to shoot out the barrel... cool idea. I'm working on getting size and price info. One of these with a 50 degree.. or even a new 70/90 degree lens and boom all the I.R. you'll ever need at a fraction of the price. Throw in a couple hundred dollar camera and some cable... you might be able to do an infrared monitor system for around $500. #### SHARYNF ##### Well-Known Member For the same money you could also look at a night vision system, couple it to a camera, And not have to deal with any of the heat or special Filter issues. With the military action and the fall of the Soviet Union, the night vision performance that was classified not all that long ago has become pretty inexpensive. I use some of them for wildlife, and boating applications, and the performance can be excellent While I have not personally tested every camcorder out there with nightvision, but of all the ones I have Sony/Canon/Panasonic all of them if you remove the tape and shut the compartment completely over ride the turn off feature. I have many groups that uses the camcorders this way for live event production shoots some of which last for days. Sharyn Last edited: #### gafftaper ##### Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia Just got a message back from Gam that they do make dichroics that allow IR but block visible light... pricing to come. Thanks for the night vision ideas as well. I'm worried that in my tight little black box I may have too good of control over ambient light and there just may not be enough to get a decent image. I'll have to get a hold of somebody's camera and give it a try before I spend the money on an IR system. #### gafftaper ##### Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia I thought I would keep updating my research. After exchanging e-mails with several home security places. I found a really good looking I.R. camera. I'm far from an expert, but it's made by Sony so you know it's got to be at least mediocre quality. It comes in an all Black and White model or a http://www.spyville.com/inccdcolweat.html (color when lights are on, B&W in dark). Unlike many other I.R. cameras it has 24 true I.R. LED's built in so they are invisible. Many cameras have a very visible red LED... that sort of goes up into the I.R. range. The sales people tell me it has a 30-50 foot range. Cost is$170/\$210.

Looks like really solid solution for my black box. Hope that info helps others who are interested.

#### jmabray

##### Active Member
I bought a JWIN camera and monitor off ebay for 70 bucks a couple of years ago and it worked like a dream. I ran two R80 Gelled scoops at 2% and it was as bright as day on the monitor and you couldn't see anything on stage.

#### scarlco

##### Member
You'll find that just about any b&w camera will work as an infrared camera - if it doesn't, it's usually an IR filter just behind the lens which can easily be removed. You really don't have to spend extra bucks to get a special IR camera.

As for illumination, it really doesn't take much to emit plenty of light for IR video. Check out the pricing on LED emitter panels - they last longer, run cooler, and will cost less over the course of their life. Too much IR light will wash out your video... be careful.

We've got about 20-ish channels of IR here, and they're all standard Sony b&w cams. They do a great job.