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  1. #1
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    IR lights for night video shoots

    Hi Folks,

    Here's a bit of a challenge. I recently bought a Contour HD helmet cam and have been trying to get some decent footage of night riding with the Troutie 7-up light. But even with supplemental Dinotte and P7 lights the vids all suffer from tunnel vision. Mine are all too crappy to post, but here's a vid from a fella who got somewhat decent footage by riding with a lot of heavily-lit friends; http://www.vholdr.com/node/76653.

    I did, however, find something interesting on the vholdr support forum... It turns out that the Contour CCD is sensitive to IR light. Has anyone here had any experience with IR illumination?

    I've found this IR unit on DX http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.15235, several of which I could easily power with a 12v LiPo. Do you folks think this is worth a try? Has anyone here tried something similar? Any advice would be appreciated.

    Cheers, CC

  2. #2
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    have you tried adding a flood light on the bars? That would probably help decrease the tunnel vision effect.

    I'm also curious about using some IR's. I wonder if that would work with a gorpro hd too??

    How about a couple of these? http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.14061
    Team _________

  3. #3
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    I got the HD Hero cam and it is not very good in low light IE night riding or even in the woods in the daytime .
    I tried for some beamshots they came out very grainy .

    but I have an old helmet cam which uses a low light senser and it is way better .

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by rollertoaster
    have you tried adding a flood light on the bars? That would probably help decrease the tunnel vision effect.

    I'm also curious about using some IR's. I wonder if that would work with a gorpro hd too??

    How about a couple of these? http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.14061
    Thanks for the IR star link, roller.

    I'll see if I can design some kind of semi-circular host that would give me a nice 135 floody light field to match the helmet cam's field of view. The DX review says it generates a lot of heat, ( IR... natch) so that will be an issue. As will power at 3W per LED. (I can see using 4 of them at least.) Time to boot up the ol' SketchUp and see what I can come up with. Might be a market for them if it actually works. ( Troutie goes hmmmmm... LOL )

    Thanks for the input gentlemen.

    Cheers, CC

  5. #5
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    I started looking for IR illuminators online and found some interesting stuff. I found someone in Hong Kong with a pretty good deal on a 12v unit, here. It's pretty big, but if it's only used for night video it might be useful. Whaddaya think?

    Cheers, CC

  6. #6
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    i can`t see what the net gain would be?
    why not just use additional visible flood light?
    take a look here ...
    ...slow start i blinded myself ! fast forward to about 1:30"
    then it gets foggy, but you can get the gist

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHgpxQrh1R0
    ....
    ...Scun.thorpe, UK

  7. #7
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    Pretty good vid hendo, what kind of camera did you use?

    CC

  8. #8
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    this camera mounted on my helmet ...
    http://www.rfconcepts.co.uk/21HQX-R43%20RF(550).pdf
    from......... http://www.rfconcepts.co.uk/
    and its connected to an Archos 605 like this one
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Archos-605-WIFI
    in my jacket breast pocket and
    camera is powered by a 3s 18650 home made battery pack
    ...Scun.thorpe, UK

  9. #9
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    It's all about the camera itself.
    Some are way more sensative than others.

    I have done a bunch of day and night filming on the bike.
    It's way better with a camera that is good in low light for good night footage.

    Then again, the same camera will wash out real bad in sunlight so a different camera is in order.

    I broke my good Clover camera and had to shoot some night footage with some junkers.
    You can see some of those videos here.
    http://www.el34world.com/Misc/bike/Video.htm

  10. #10
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    Video of 5340 lumens trail ride

    Hey folks. Tonight I put every LED light I own on my bike or helmet and tried to shoot a night riding vid with the Contour HD. Despite a combined (rated) output of 5300+ lumens (pictures of my kit in the video) you can barely make out trees going by in the footage. Cool blue LED light is just no good with this camera. This is why I want to try IR illumination. This CCD is apparently quite sensitive to IR (much like security cameras), so I'll try again once I get a hold of some IR light sources.

    Here's the vid: (You can see the 1080p version here: here.



    Cheers, CC

  11. #11
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    ... brilliant vid cc!!
    hell, with all the lights you had, no wonder it looked like daytime!
    maybe the camera doesnt have automatic gain control?
    ..http://www.youtube.com
    ...Scun.thorpe, UK

  12. #12
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    I've actually been talking to a support moderator for vholdr. He confirms that the Contour HD CCD is skewed towards the IR wavelengths at high ISO. The software you get with the camera allows you to tweak settings, which is why I put that frame in the video, so folks could see that I had the camera set to maximum exposure and minimum contrast. Here's a pic of the settings pane below. The main culprit is that the cool-bluish LEDs I prefer don't give off any IR, like a HID or regular bulb would, so very little light actually reaches the CCD. It's unfortunate considering that it's the direction lights are going in. I'm going to get together with KWarwick, who has a 7-up XPE light that's much warmer than my XPG and see whether it looks better. (Once it stops raining here, of course...) I've ordered some IR light sources to see if I can at least get a ghostly night-vision look. I'll keep y'all updated.

    Cheers, CC
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IR lights for night video shoots-contour-night-settings.png  


  13. #13
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    I have just done a short (far from exciting) video test with just my mobile phone and my 7up xp-g is plenty of light for it to record. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpn5J...eature=channel

  14. #14
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    Thanks for posting the vid yetibetty, it just goes to show how different camera sensors can be. I'm pretty sure now that the Contour HD is using a CCD intended for a security cam, which would explain it's predilection for IR light. I have a little Kodak Zi8 as well and it has no trouble recording the LED light. (but it's a beotch to mount on a bike safely) I might try to rig up a chest-mount steadicam thing and use that camera instead for night shooting. The Contour seems better suited for daylight endeavours.

    Cheers, CC

  15. #15
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    Hmm mounting.....that's why my vid is so slow, have to ride with one hand as I can't find a way to stick a phone to my head and if I could what if I get a call

    On the good side though a lot of these newish phones use LED as a video light as well as the flash for stills. I have just had a quick look on the old web and it looks like a lot of video lighting is moving towards LED so it sounds like it could be time for a new camera rather than spending out on IR lighting that in the end will only look green.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by HEY HEY ITS HENDO
    this camera mounted on my helmet ...
    http://www.rfconcepts.co.uk/21HQX-R43%20RF(550).pdf
    from......... http://www.rfconcepts.co.uk/
    and its connected to an Archos 605 like this one
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Archos-605-WIFI
    in my jacket breast pocket and
    camera is powered by a 3s 18650 home made battery pack

    HHH is it just a straight forward plug in and go with your helmet cam and the archos .
    I have a similar bullet cam and need an easy way to store the footage .

  17. #17
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    ... nah the connectors are pretty poor n not secure really, i added extra security with pvc tape!
    ... pocket full of spagetti ...
    plus, the buttons all down one side can be easily knocked to `pause` or even `off`
    but, its fantastic for recording tv or viewing video and photos, great quality pic, good sound
    i`m sure there is something better out there, full HD in H.264, simple connectors etc

    http://www.actioncameras.co.uk/VIO_POV.1.5.html

    .. http://www.dogcamsport.co.uk/product...a-systems.html
    ...Scun.thorpe, UK

  18. #18
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    Hey yetibetty,

    Yesterday I received this cool little mount from DX. See it HERE. I'd actually forgotten that I'd ordered it.

    It will be fantastic for mounting my Zi8, which has a good solid tripod receptacle. I'm actually amazed at the quality of it, frankly.

    I agree that IR is not the way to go. I just have to admit that the Contour HD is not capable of low-light shooting and leave it at that. The Zi8 isn't that hot either, but at least it sees the LED wavelengths, even if the vid is a bit grainy.

    I'll post a new thread if I get any decent video out of the Zi8. It'll be raining for a few days here, so maybe next week.

    Cheers, CC
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