Monday 20 June 2011

Infrared can switch off your camera

You probably know that all digital sensors are sensitive to near-infrared and that most cameras block out infrared to avoid contaminating the colours. I found that my iPhone camera is indeed sensitive to IR and could clearly see the infrared emitters from a headphone loop system at a conference I recently attended.

I had wondered many years ago whether flooding a cinema screen with infrared could hamper anyone wanting to film the movie from the screen. Back in the days of poor filtering this may well have worked but I suspect filtering would remove the infrared with modern cameras.

Apple have applied for a patent for a mechanism that carries a code in an infrared signal 'broadcast' at a venue, decoding it in the phone (or other device) and using the result to determine whether the camera should be deactivated. This is a similar idea to the coding that prevents scanners and photocopiers from copying banknotes. The BBC carried a story reporting that rapper Tinie Tempah was against this idea because he likes his fans to video his concerts (a bit like the Grateful Dead for those of us a little older ... the Dead used to set aside an area in front of the stage for fans who wanted to record their concerts). Apple's system would be optional: it would be up the venue/performer to use it to disable cameras.

Some of the artists interviewed by the BBC had a simple view. They didn't mind being videoed but they thought their fans should actually be enjoying the concert instead.

Of course Apple could configure the iPhones to receive those headphone loops (usually helpful to people with impaired hearing). That would be nice: you could use your own headphones.

Friday 17 June 2011

Infrared: the eleventh dimension

A slightly whimsical post this time.

I've been thinking about the multi-dimensional nature of photography and how choosing the wavelengths in which to shoot is part of a photographer's wider set of choices when taking a photograph: the dimensions.

We have ...
  1. the three dimensions of space for our position
  2. the three dimensions of orientation for our direction of shooting (pitch, roll and yaw)
  3. the dimension of perspective and framing (choice of focal length)
  4. the dimension of time (when we press the shutter)
  5. the dimension of duration (how long is the exposure)
  6. the dimension of focus (and depth of field)
  7. the dimension of spectrum (what wavelengths we record)
By that reckoning choosing to look at the world in infrared is part of the eleventh dimension of photography. If that works then there is an eerie similarity with part of string theory which postulates that space-time has eleven dimensions, of which we only experience three.

Friday 10 June 2011

CEK Mees biography

Browsing through Google Books I came across a good biography of CEK Mees, written by Walter Clark, from New Scientist, published in 1979. We forget that, as part of his long and distinguished career at Kodak, Clark set up Kodak's Harrow labs in 1928 and stayed there as director of research until 1931.

This is the link to the article.

Tuesday 7 June 2011

The Science and Art of Thermal Imagery

I've mentioned Chris Lavers' thermal images before. His next exhibition is at Teignmouth Community College (in Teignbridge, Devon) and is called The Science and Art of Thermal Imagery.

It runs from 1200 on Thursday June 16th until 1100 on Tuesday July 5th and this is how Chris describes it:
This exhibition provides an introduction to the topic of thermal imagery, with particular focus on the science that can be provided by wildlife thermography, and the aesthetic art of both natural and man-made objects, including iconic art. This exhibition is based on the 2008 and 2010 Institute of Physics sponsored Nature in a Different Light exhibitions.