HDR-HC9 Conversion for Infrared use at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony HDV and DV Camera Systems > Sony HVR-A1 and HDR-HC Series

Sony HVR-A1 and HDR-HC Series
Sony's latest single-CMOS additions to their HDV camcorder line.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old December 16th, 2008, 03:43 AM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Melbourne Australia
Posts: 604
HDR-HC9 Conversion for Infrared use

The limitations to the standard HDR-HC9 in Nightshot mode seem to be that the lens is always at full aperture and the gain setting is always on full. I understand that you can buy a "converted" camera or have your own camera converted. The conversion involves the removal of the existing IR cut filter and replacing with an IR pass filter. This means that the camera can be set on any aperture or any gain. If it is to be used for normal daylight use a filter must be added to obtain natural colours.

Can anyone give me any idea how successful a converted camera is for recording wild life with Infrared lighting at night and also at dusk when there is a mixture of day light and infrared?
Alastair Traill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 18th, 2008, 10:04 PM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Fairfield, Dunedin, New Zealand
Posts: 3,634
Images: 18
Hi Alastair...............

I know nothing of the camera you mention, nor it's "NightShot" mode, so I'm going blind here.

If the said "NightShot" mode does actually allow the camera to work with IR light sources, then there can be no IR cut filter in the lens/ sensor system.

If there was, it wouldn't work with IR light at all.

I'm gonna take a punt and suggest this is a CMOS sensor camera?

OK, do this test.

Go find any common or garden IR remote (for anything whatsoever).

Arrange camera and remote so that you can see the LCD screen whilst pointing the remote into the lens whilst the camera is on.

If, when you press the remote buttons, you can see the IR led on the remote light up on the cameras lcd, it has no IR filter, as most CMOS units do not.

If this is the case, there is no mod capable of improveing the cameras IR ability.

IR occupies such a small part of the spectrum, you'de need to run the cam at full aperture and full gain to get a decent picture, which is why the camera does just that.

If you cannot see the IR led light up doing the above test, there is, indeed a IR filter.

However, it is my understanding that those sensors that do require IR cut filters have them applied to the sensor block / other bits in such a way that removal is simply not possible without trashing the entire system

The only way to get better low (er, zero) light performance with any cam is to invest in either an IR nightscope that attaches to the lens or a photon multiplier unit ditto.

Quite where you'de source such a device in Oz is a mystery to me.


CS

Last edited by Chris Soucy; December 18th, 2008 at 10:06 PM. Reason: Whoops.
Chris Soucy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 21st, 2008, 06:58 AM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Melbourne Australia
Posts: 604
Hi Chris,
I do not own an HDR HC9 either but I understand that it does have a “Nightshot Mode”. This mode is used in conjunction with a built in Infrared light. To make best use of the limited output of this light the camera is automatically set to full gain and full aperture when “Nightshot” is selected. The IR cut filter is also retracted and replaced with an IR pass filter in “Nightshot”.
I would like manual control of aperture and would also like to avoid full gain. I am prepared and in fact own more powerful infrared sources that I use with other cameras for wild life work.
There is at least one firm (MaxMax) that offers the conversion that I outlined above . As I mentioned they remove the IR cut filter (permanently I should add) and replace it also permanently with an IR pass filter. This means the camera is permanently sensitive to Infrared unless an external IR cut filter is added.
I am hoping to hear from someone who uses one of these converted cameras.
Alastair Traill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 1st, 2009, 03:31 PM   #4
New Boot
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Old Town, Maine
Posts: 7
some ideas for Sony IR

I too am planning to modify my Sony HDR-HC7 camcorder so I can use the system in the daytime and nightime with night-shot mode for 24/7 IR.


This link is useful (see the video)

Internet Archive: Details: Sony DCR-TRV110 - How To Receive Both Infrared And Visible Light

and you might like this site:

The HandyCam X-Ray Guide

Finally, an idea I am also going to try is to use a motion sensor card that also turns on a servo motor which can be connected to the night-shot switch on the camcorder. This way, you get full color in the day, and IR at night.

Bigfoot boards components trail camera

Hag's House (Powered by Invision Power Board)

http://www.bfoutdoors.com/PDFS/bigfootlanc.pdf

Keep your eyes open and I will be posting to the hagshouse forum if I am successful with my attempt to modify the camcorder. I am also going to consider just using the servo approach instead.

Bryan
Bryan Wells is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 12th, 2009, 05:14 AM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Melbourne Australia
Posts: 604
Thanks Bryan,

I have looked through your links. The most relevant to my application seems to involve the acquisition of a 1998 camera. This does not have much appeal at the moment. I would be happier with a more current model.
I have had some success for my nocturnal wildlife work using a cheap Taiwanese surveillance camera that for the price gives surprisingly good results, unfortunately exposure control is automatic only. To record from it I simply connect its composite out put into the input of a Sony PD150. If I cannot get any good news from a MaxMax user or from MaxMax I will look harder at the surveillance camera options.

Alastair
Alastair Traill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 12th, 2009, 07:11 AM   #6
New Boot
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Old Town, Maine
Posts: 7
HagsHouse

Alastair

I am going to use a PicAxe circuit the folks on the forum have designed and let it control a hobby servo which will actually move my night-shot switch on my Sony camcorder so its in night-shot mode in the dark, and regular color mode in the day; the best of both worlds.

Here is that thread:

Board Message

Good luck!

Bryan
Bryan Wells is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 19th, 2009, 04:09 PM   #7
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Rapid City, South Dakota
Posts: 60
Poor Man's Infrared Setup

Alastair - About a year ago I looked all over for a professional camcorder that could do high definition infrared and I finally gave up. I did come across the one company mentioned above that can customize units for infrared work, but I wasn't brave enough to contact them (at the time it didn't look like they had modified any professional camcorders). So I ended up using my Sony CX7 and HC3. They have a lot of shortcomings including lack of a real manual focus and the small lens, but I see no other options. I've built some spotlight/illuminators that can get me out to about 50 yards. Go to the link below and click on "Infrared (IR) and Night-time Video":

Nature and Wildlife Filmmaking Tips and Tricks

If you come up with a better solution I'd like to hear it.
__________________
Sony EX3, EX1, FX7, CX7, HC3, Vegas 8.0
www.pronghornproductions.com
Dan Licht is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 20th, 2009, 07:04 PM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Melbourne Australia
Posts: 604
Thanks Dan, I have checked your link – we seem to have similar problems.

I am a bit puzzled by MaxMax, I have had no answer as to whether their conversion would be suitable for wild life work or if they can refer me to someone or to articles by someone who has used one of their cameras for this purpose.

I have just discovered a BBC – Science & Nature site that gives some information behind the scenes of their wild life documentaries. The site mentions newly developed cameras used in Big Cat Diary and elsewhere for infrared work. Some superb sequences are shown. However no camera details are given but as these cameras are used with 40:1 zooms I suspect that they are well out of my league.

When I find out how, I will post a sequence or two taken with a cheap security camera.
Alastair Traill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 5th, 2009, 06:40 PM   #9
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Montara, California
Posts: 108
I seem to remember something years ago when these first came out about people looking at girls on the beach in nightshot mode. Sony then responded and changed the camera so that it wasn't useful during daylight.

If that is true then that would imply it is something in the software, not a physical filter, that causing it to be difficult to use in daylight.

Of course, yo could partly solve the problem with a string ND filter.

--Darin
__________________
Darin Boville
www.darinboville.com
Darin Boville is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 5th, 2009, 08:06 PM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Hillsborough, NC, USA
Posts: 968
I shot this footage with my HC1. (Obviously this is a low-res YouTube version of the original and does no justice to the hi-def original).

YouTube - Raccoon Just Hangin' Out

I am constructing a box of tricks to record timelapse (onto the memory stick) that will automatically switch between IR and normal as well as turn on IR illumination as required. I think the out-of-the-box capability of the camcorder is quite remarkable given its price.
John Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 5th, 2009, 10:03 PM   #11
Trustee
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
Posts: 1,666
The wildlife folks I know generally use 12volt security cameras coupled with a battery powered DVR for this kind of thing. The cameras are IR-sensitive but with sufficient iris control to handle daylight. The color models are less IR sensitive than the monochrome ones. Some of these cameras have better-than-1080P resolution, for example, google "Sanyo VCC-HD4000"
Graham Hickling is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 6th, 2009, 06:46 AM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Melbourne Australia
Posts: 604
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darin Boville View Post
I seem to remember something years ago when these first came out about people looking at girls on the beach in nightshot mode. Sony then responded and changed the camera so that it wasn't useful during daylight--Darin
Darin, the story I heard was that when set to Nightshot the IR cut filter is removed and an infrared light is turned on. Sony then modified the system so that the exposure and aperture are both set to maximum; steps that will ruin daylight shots while leaving some IR capability. ND filters may restore some function but it does not help me.

The Max.Max conversion sounds interesting, however it has taken three months to get a response to my eMail and even then they cannot put me in touch with anyone who has used a conversion for similar purposes, neither do they say whether it will or will not suit my purpose.
Alastair Traill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 6th, 2009, 07:01 AM   #13
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Melbourne Australia
Posts: 604
[QUOTE=John Miller;1056166]I shot this footage with my HC1. (Obviously this is a low-res YouTube version of the original and does no justice to the hi-def original).

Hi John, thanks for showing your IR shot of the raccoon, I would like to see the HD version. I will have to find out how to post some of my material. What lighting were you using? I have been using a lighting set-up that it is well away from the optic axis and this seems to reduce the eye-shine problem and also helps with texture.
Alastair Traill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 6th, 2009, 07:07 AM   #14
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Melbourne Australia
Posts: 604
[QUOTE=Graham Hickling;1056597]The wildlife folks I know generally use 12volt security cameras coupled with a battery powered DVR for this kind of thing.

Thanks Graham, as I mentioned above I have had some success with monochrome security cameras but I am having trouble finding one with manual exposure control. I will check out the Sanyo VCC-HD4000
Alastair Traill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 6th, 2009, 08:55 AM   #15
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Hillsborough, NC, USA
Posts: 968
I used this for illumination:

Weatherproof IR Illuminator

and I recorded directly to a laptop (for 8 hours!) while I slept.

The camcorder was about 50 feet from the tree. The IR lamp was a similar distance but off-axis by about 30 degrees. At 90 degrees, the shadow of the feeder fell on the trunk of the tree.
John Miller is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Sony XAVC / XDCAM / NXCAM / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Sony HDV and DV Camera Systems > Sony HVR-A1 and HDR-HC Series

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:53 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network