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Old December 9th, 2013, 04:13 AM   #1
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DJ's laser destroying cameras

In the last month I have heard from other wedding videographers who have lost 2 6Ds and 1 Mk3 due the sensors being burned out but the DJ's laser lighting. It would seem obvious not to point the camera at a laser beam but this would seem out of your control when they are dancing and strobing all over the place.

Has anyone else come across this? I am worried for my C100s!
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Old December 9th, 2013, 04:34 AM   #2
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Re: DJ's laser destroying cameras

I always found it cool when the dj had a laserset during the first dance but I guess they where within the powerlimit which doesn't cause any harm to the sensor but with seeing what it can do to the sensor I try to stay clear from direct contact whenever I can now.
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Old December 9th, 2013, 08:13 AM   #3
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Re: DJ's laser destroying cameras

I'm worried about that too. I sometimes shoot from down low with an up angle shot from the dance floor and can see how the sensor could take a direct hit given that most of laser lights are firing down from the opposite angle. Is there any empirical evidence on what these can do to your sensor and under what conditions?
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Old December 9th, 2013, 09:37 AM   #4
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Re: DJ's laser destroying cameras

Plenty of examples on youtube:
sensor laserdamage - YouTube
Gives me the creeps
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Old December 9th, 2013, 09:45 AM   #5
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Re: DJ's laser destroying cameras

You can calculate the energy hitting a pixel if you know the output of the device and how it's distributed, e.g. some lasers have a grating on the front that splits the beam into multiple beams. There is a calculation for determination of the risk of eye damage so there might be a similar one for photo site damage. Laser light can reflect off of a surface and cause indirect exposure, so to be absolutely safe you'd have to put cameras away when lasers are active. There are some pretty high output devices being sold and given the need for a DJ to be able to put on a good show for very large crowds I could see a "bigger is better" approach when buying equipment.
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Old December 9th, 2013, 11:51 AM   #6
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Re: DJ's laser destroying cameras

Just don't labour on the shot get in 5 seconds get out as I destroyed a 60d after labouring on a shot, try not to shoot direct come to the side a little.
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Old December 9th, 2013, 01:18 PM   #7
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Re: DJ's laser destroying cameras

Is there not some sort of law that prohibits the use of lasers at a certain height?

This article makes for good reading. http://adrsoundsense.co.uk/LaserSafetyclubs.html
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Old December 9th, 2013, 02:36 PM   #8
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Re: DJ's laser destroying cameras

In the U.S. you are not allowed to project the laser at any level where it may enter someone's eye. A professional will often do cool things with a laser, but pointing them towards the people is NOT one of them.
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Old December 9th, 2013, 04:42 PM   #9
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Re: DJ's laser destroying cameras

id rather all such lasers be banned. i see those typical laser dot dance things being used in crap storefronts, projecting on the sidewalk, and guess what the normal human reaction is? to look where that light is coming from...
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Old December 10th, 2013, 12:53 PM   #10
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Re: DJ's laser destroying cameras

If a laser of this intensity is damaging sensors, imagine the damage it can do to the retina!!!
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Old January 7th, 2014, 01:21 PM   #11
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Re: DJ's laser destroying cameras

Red epic takes a hit from a laser. Now that's got to hurt.

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Old January 7th, 2014, 05:47 PM   #12
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Re: DJ's laser destroying cameras

The laws don't matter. There is super powerful stuff coming in from China through e-bay. A friend of mine bought a green laser pointer (on purpose) that was 40 times the US legal limit. It would pop balloons and make black velvet smoke! I have also seen lasers that claimed they were within the legal spec and were not even close. So if you want to go over you can. And if your buying junk that you think is safe, it might not be.

My cameras and my eyes are not going to be at risk for some cheesy light show.

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Old January 8th, 2014, 12:12 PM   #13
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Re: DJ's laser destroying cameras

There are no laws specifically relating to this, BUT, the responsible bodies who look after live events have had a no scanning the crowd policy for years - and the responsible laser people ensure that beams are always above head height. Dodgy Dave DJ who scans the crowd with his laser could be in breach of Health and Safety rules (the real ones, not the rubbish in the newspapers). If a process is carried out that endangers the people there, then the local authority could take action. They'd probably get a small fine. If somebody was injured it would be a big fine and compensation, and their insurance company, assuming they didn't duck out because of deliberate negligence, would pay up. As scanning the audience is bad for the obvious reasons, then you could take the DJ to the county court for damaging your camera. If it damaged your camera, it could have damaged somebodies retina, and if you have the video you have evidence. Scanning the audience with a laser is bad news. I even have a pre-printed risk assessment that shows I have taken precautions when I use lasers (theatre shows, for special effect) and if anyone was injured, it's my name on the RA!

The radiation safety of lasers used for display purposes is the title of the Health & Safety Executive HSG95 document - 34 pages long!

The contents of the guide are not law - but any incident that was caused by non-adherence to the guide would be used against you in court, so following these guides make sense.
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Old January 8th, 2014, 01:39 PM   #14
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Re: DJ's laser destroying cameras

much like drones, i wish lasers in open use would be outlawed entirely. there's no way to regulate it or have any oversight and can be damaging, it boggles my mind that such a large blind eye is turned.

those guidelines you mentioned paul while an improvement, still don't make any sense. telling the DJ the laser has to be a certain height above peoples heads doesn't address the obvious flaw that humans tend to look up, especially when something gets their attention from overhead and the look to see what it is.
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Old January 8th, 2014, 02:00 PM   #15
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Re: DJ's laser destroying cameras

Darren, the law means a laser beam itself should stay above people by a certain amount, not the laser device itself.

For instance, if I am using a laser, I can mount it up on an 8 foot tripod and point it at an upward angle OR straight horizontal so that it stays at least 8 feet up, safely away from people.

Amusingly, it's also the most effective way to use them. If you point the laser at people, it just ends up as dots most folks can't see. A horizontal display at least 8 feet up, with a touch of fog/haze can look amazing as it creates a kind of curtain just above everyone's heads.
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