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News

Patent technology overcomes the problems of IR imaging

Dallmeier Electronic : 22 June, 2009  (Technical Article)
Dallmeier explains the details behind it's Cam_inPIX sensor technology and how it provides higher quality infrared imaging
Patent technology overcomes the problems of IR imaging
The Cam_inPIX sensor technology developed by Dallmeier provides high-quality image material with infrared lighting, without the known problems such as "outshined faces".

The dynamic range of Cam_inPIX cameras is significantly higher as with conventional cameras, which is particularly advantageous for images with strong backlighting or infrared light.

Conventional cameras mostly have difficulties with clearly representing images that have a high range in contrast. That is particularly true for representing details in the brightest and darkest areas of an image. Shooting with strong infrared light is always a special challenge for cameras, because the scenario is often very unevenly illuminated. In most cases, very large dark areas dominate the background and the edges of the screen. Persons moving towards the camera are often outshined and thus represented as shapeless white areas. Such video sequences are hardly suitable for professional surveillance as details are unrecognisable and an identification of persons thus becomes impossible.

Hence, the fundamental problem with infrared surveillance is the camera's control mode for bright and dark image areas. In that context the so-called "outshined faces" are a known issue with conventional camera technology.

For Dallmeier cameras with Cam_inPIX technology, however, taking pictures with infrared light is no problem owing to the high dynamic and the excellent control mode of the cameras. The Cam_inPIX technology empowers every single pixel of an image to act like an individual and constantly self-adjusting camera. Each pixel chooses its own exposure strategy. Dark areas of an image can therefore be exposed longer, whereas areas that are already bright are captured using a short exposure time. That way even small faces in front of a dark background are recognised and optimised. All relevant details can be discerned and the cameras provide the image material necessary for identification.

Furthermore, Cam_inPIX cameras convince by offering a higher resolution of details. While most conventional cameras halve resolution when operated in night mode, Dallmeier cameras provide the familiar 540 TV lines of the day mode.

Millions of viewers only recently had the opportunity to see just how good infrared images made with Cam_inPIX cameras are. Dallmeier was involved in the production of one of the recent episodes of stern TV, which is the most successful political TV show on German TV with an average of three million viewers. The topic of the episode was sleepwalking.

During the broadcast on May 13, 2009, two affected persons shared their experiences. One of them was a young lady from Regensburg who had volunteered as a test person for being filmed when she was sleepwalking. Dallmeier cameras and recording devices were set up in her apartment. Every night, before going to bed, the test person had to activate the system. Whenever the test person began sleepwalking, motion detection activated the cameras and recording devices and the sleepwalker's nightly walk through the dark apartment was filmed. A selection of sleepwalking scenes was then shown during the show and explained to viewers by Dr Roland Popp of the sleep laboratory at the university of Regensburg.

From the outset, the editorial team of stern TV emphasised the fact that the recordings made during darkness using infrared light would have to meet the high requirements for a TV broadcast. Filming in complete darkness is always an exceptional challenge for any television crew, because night recordings are very difficult to make or even impossible using conventional TV cameras. However, the Dallmeier cameras with Cam_inPIX technology easily mastered the challenge. Stern TV editor Heidrun Stangenberg was also highly satisfied with the quality of the Dallmeier equipment.
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