The above Ad will no longer appear after you Sign Up for Free!

Infrared Cameras....

Discussion in 'Multimedia, Projection, and Show Control' started by Aquarius, May 19, 2009.

  1. Aquarius

    Aquarius Member

    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    I suppose this could go here or in Stage Management, but I'll leave it here for now.


    This project has been bugging me for a while. For all of our shows, everyone (SM, Follow Spots, Light Board, and Sound Board) is in our glass-fronted control booth at the back of the house and at the height of the lower catwalks. Normally, this works fine. The one time that it doesn't, however, is during our Dance Concerts. We do pretty intense stuff, but we do have one problem. During the blackouts between numbers, the reflections off of the glass from the SM light and both board op lights (which we can't really turn off), and just the fact that it is pitch black outside the booth. To solve this problem, I have been looking into making some sort of infrared camera hooked up to the comp monitor in the booth. I did some research on the web, and it looks like most camera have an infrared filter that can be taken out. We are ordering new high-quality video cameras this year, so I will be free to take apart our old ones. I have already gone about making an IR light source: Using a 500w fernel, put 5 layers of ~R68 (dark blue) alternating with 5 layers of whatever the dark red is in Rossco gel. This absorbs all visible light, leaving only infrared light emitted. I'm figuring that I'll put one of these just US of the proscenium arch on each side of the stage, put the camera in the booth, and the camera should be able to effectively "see in the dark".

    Suggestions for improvement?
     
  2. epimetheus

    epimetheus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    855
    Likes Received:
    107
    Occupation:
    Electrical Engineer
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I can't really speak to the camera workings, but I question your infrared light source. Wouldn't it be easier to get some IR floods like the type used in security systems. Generally those are low power (LEDs) and actually designed for what you're trying to do.
     
  3. Aquarius

    Aquarius Member

    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trust me, if I could, I would just buy this entire system.

    The problem with that is that this is entirely my own project. Zero budget from the school, and I don't want to spend any of my own money.

    I've already made the fernel light thingys, and tested them using my cell phone (cell cameras are semi-sensitive to IR light. Point a TV remote at one and try it).

    That being said, if anyone has some spare IR floods around that they feel like giving to a needy cause, PM me :)
     
  4. Les

    Les Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,028
    Likes Received:
    794
    Location:
    DFW, Tx.
    Sorry to be nit-picky, but it's fresnel, not fernel.

    I've heard of using gels to create an IR light source. The fresnel will probably burn through it in no time though unless you can use it at a low intensity. Too bad you don't have a Selecon Pacific at your disposal. You can buy relatively cheap (about $25) cameras on ebay. A lot of them are wireless and some have their own IR emitters. It's only 6 LED's so I doubt they have much of a range, but it's something you could look into. The wireless capability would be nice, but at the low price point I don't know how reliable it would be. These cameras are really small (about 1-2" square) so they definitely wouldn't get in the way. Of course all this ignoring the fact that you don't want to spend money on this and I don't blame you. Spending your own money on equipment for your school is a really bad practice.
     
  5. rochem

    rochem Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,329
    Likes Received:
    222
    Location:
    New York, NY
    I've been looking into buying some sort of infrared camera as well, as I call from backstage and it is sometimes very difficult to tell when everything is ready. I found this camera online after a bit of searching, which seems perfect because it works in color when the lights are up, and uses infrared in a blackout. And the price isn't bad either. Does anyone know if something like this would work at any sort of distance (maybe 30-40 feet or so?). I would want to hang it on a Balcony Rail/FOH Bar position and then just run cable to backstage. If the infrared LEDs would work at that distance, then this seems like a good solution for you.
     
  6. Aquarius

    Aquarius Member

    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, I've done some looking around, and it appears that for IR illumination, if my idea doesn't pan out, buying from ebay seems to be the best bet. Really, really cheap.
     
  7. Aquarius

    Aquarius Member

    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
  8. jml42691

    jml42691 Member

    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    I have zero expertise in any of this, so somebody please correct me if I'm wrong, but if the camera is inside the booth while the booth lights are on, might the camera also pick up the reflections off of the window and block any infrared images picked up from the light from the fresnels? If so you might want to move the camera outside of the booth or somewhere else closer to the stage.
     
  9. epimetheus

    epimetheus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    855
    Likes Received:
    107
    Occupation:
    Electrical Engineer
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    ^^ This is what I was thinking of. I would think it all depends on how sensitive your camera will be. I'm not sure how much IR light you'll need to accomplish the effect you're looking for. Maybe this is another topic to add to my curiosity list.
     
  10. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    4,412
    Likes Received:
    827
    Occupation:
    Projectionist
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    Aquarius, I'm not sure if you will need an IR emitter. Are you expecting everyone to set up in complete darkness? Usually your dancers have a slight amount of light to find there spike marksand that should be more than enough for the camera to pick up. You might be surprised at how much your camera will be able to see without mucking with it (removing IR filter). If you only need it for blackout situations, open up the iris and boost your gain, that may be all you need to do.

    One thing to think about, you will either need to use an IP camera to go to a computer monitor (via your computer) or you will need to use a video capture card (again with your computer) for a standard video CCTV camera. The biggest thing people forget about "video" is that there are different types of signals. If you have a standard camera with a BNC out, it is most likely sending an NTSC signal. You will need a monitor with a TV tuner (or RF modulator) to view the signal. See if your AV department is getting rid of their old TVs to replace them with new digital TVs.
     
  11. Aquarius

    Aquarius Member

    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    Our dancers always set in complete black. The only light is what's coming out of the booth, and that tiny amount of light is what's causing this whole problem. I will test our cameras as they are, though, just to see if anything happens.

    That's a good point. Actually, I think that we have a super-old TV (about 6x6 inch screen) tucked away in "ye olde pile of old electronics". I may take a look at it tomorrow.
     
  12. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    12,779
    Likes Received:
    2,846
    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    This may not help much as it requires money but here's what I and my friends at a nearby theater did.

    I got a Sony Handycam set in Supernight shot mode. I took a Source Four Par and put a Dichroic filter in it that removes all visible light which is typically used to create UV-black light effects (expensive). In front of that I put R, G, and B sheets of Gel. The end result is only IR and because of the dichroic filter the gel has lasted a long time. Total cost including the monitor was around $1000.

    A theater nearbye liked the idea but went with stock security camera gear. I think their IR emitter is pretty impressive and I would go that route if I had it to do over again. This only cost them around $400 with the monitor. The negative is their system is always black and white. My Sony cam switches to color when the lights are on.
     
  13. TheatreImage

    TheatreImage Member

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    Just to be clear most CCTV gear is NTSC Baseband which means there is no need for the TV to have a "TV Tuner" or RF Demodulator. The Monitor just needs to have a video input. There are however a couple of CCTV products with a full spectrum RF Modulator, but they are pretty special, in this case you would need a tuner.
     
  14. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    4,412
    Likes Received:
    827
    Occupation:
    Projectionist
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    True, not all CCTV cameras will send an RF signal, but even still, a standard computer monitor likely would not suffice. If the monitor has the ability to accept a composite signal, then the OP would be able to go that route as well. I have not run across any of the full spectrum RF CCTV cameras before (just the ones that are tuned to channel 3 or 4), that's good to know that they are available.
     
  15. themuzicman

    themuzicman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    885
    Likes Received:
    178
    Occupation:
    Audio Engineer
    Location:
    On Tour
    My $.02
    1. IR LED's are cheap enough, and easy enough to wire. Make a cheap reflector, get a piece of thin wood laying around, drill some holes in them, and wire them up to an extra transformer if you have it laying around.
    16 LED's per transformer, and they will function pretty well.

    2. The Fresnel approach only works so well. I've never had too much success with it. I know a single sheet of Congo Blue (Apollo 181) will take out all visible light, leaving just IR. Double it up, and you are good to go.

    3. Skimming through, I believe I read this - most cameras have an IR filter on them, so they don't sense IR light. If you use an old camera, knock that filter out before you attempt to mod it.

    Happy modding!

    -----

    This is a longshot: I got some IR Camera's by putting a Wanted Ad on Craigslist. The guy I got them from wrote them off on his taxes, and was really cool about it. He was happy to see them going to a school for use.
    ------
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice