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Thread: Question About Cameras And Nonvisible Light, Complete Beginner.

  1. #1

    Default Question About Cameras And Nonvisible Light, Complete Beginner.

    Hi All, This might be an odd question, but I'm not sure where else to ask it. I have a project I'd like to start working on, but need some help from people who know about Professional level Cameras. My question is: Do professional level cameras pick up infrared light? I am hoping for "No", but if they do, does anyone know of a light source that's not visible to professional camera, but is visible to relatively inexpensive specialty cameras?

    I am trying to track people or objects on a stage, hopefully by making Infrared LED badges to attach to them that an Infrared camera will pickup, while not having the camera confused by standard light sources, and not have ugly LED light sources show up on all the production cameras.

    Thanks for the help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    London, England


    I'd be surprised if pro cameras don't pick-up IR. To check this take a photo of a remote control - if you see a light then you are sensing IR.
    There are filters...but in general these filter out visible light, leaving only IR (filters are dark red to the eye) . . . . but you want the inverse . .. maybe speak to Lee Filters, or similar specialist.

    Not sure how yr badges idea will work . . .as people will move about the badge goes out of shot. If they have more than one emitter then a coded IR-beam may be missed by the video-camera viewer. but a dedicated narrow-angle IR camera should pick-up the coded "badge number" and enable that to be tracked. Such things are probably used in tracking animals (eg at night?).
    Again, I suspect the suppliers of such Badges will have the necessary receivers and Software to maintain tracking.
    Although the badges may have high IR light output, this could be over a short period ( eg 1-frame) - so hardly noticable over several frames.If the people aren't moving too quickly, then the code need only be output once a second, say, so only seen on one frame in 24, say.

  3. #3


    Thanks for the reply. I knew that my cell phone camera can pick up IR remote control light, but I was hoping Pro cameras would have internal filters to prevent some issue I'm not aware of. Unfortunately, I do have the Filters, but I think the video guy would simply kick me off his riser if I tried to tape a gel over his lens.
    I was hoping to get a proof of concept going with the simple badge idea, enough to start developing the hardware and software, but if production cameras can see them, its a non starter.
    I'll have to think about the momentary strobe idea, maybe that will work, although it does complicate the hardware and software a bit. Thanks for the idea.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Blog Entries


    All camera chips will react to IR light. To avoid this a filter is placed in front of the chip during manufacture. On some consumer camcorders this filter can be moved out of the way. It's often called "night vision" and, at the same time, a small IR light on the camera is switched on.

    On particularly sunny days there is so much IR light around that the in-built filter can be overwhelmed and so an additional filter needs to be used. This is sometimes called a "hot mirror" since it reflects the longer wavelengths, such as infrared. They're quite common and available all over the place.

    They tend to be a bit expensive and the best ones are from Tiffen and Formatt. The cheaper ones (from China) are not worth bothering with.

    I would suggest getting IR sources (from ebay) and using a domestic camcorder, set to "night vision" but with a 720nm filter over the lens. That way the ambient light would be eliminated and all that would be recorded is the IR.

    As for other camcorders which are there... Without "night vision" switched on, most cameras and camcorders will not record IR at this level.

    Edit: Infra red filters, such as the 720nm filter are available cheaply on ebay and, for what you want, the oriental ones will do the job.
    Last edited by Rembrandt Rob; 12-12-2012 at 12:21 PM.

  5. #5


    Awesome, points for having the reply I wanted to hear, thanks. I'm shooting for something closer to the 940nm range, with a 940nm Bandpass (to stop stage lights from washing out the camera) filter over a security type camera, and 940nm LEDs as emitters.
    Thanks for the information, I believe I have enough reason to get started, hopefully I won't need to use Vidmanners blink concept, but it's still an option.
    Last edited by Phsion; 12-12-2012 at 06:39 PM. Reason: Spelling

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