Website by ThierryD

Copyright 2010-2015
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Last update : 2020/09/05

Video detector for photography.

I suggest you make a motion detector or sensor objects through to a computer,
a webcam and a detection program that I made. The connection between the computer and the digital SLR
is with the lightning detector. The lightning detector interfaces between the headphone output
of your computer and the remote control of your digital SLR.
For more information on its implementation and use, see the section "Lightning Detector"
in the "tricks"of this website.

This visual sensor can have multiple uses. Detect the passage of an animal and
automatically trigger photography. Taking photographs at a sporting event, the fall of an object.
For my tests, I even used as a detector of water drops, of course this is much less accurate
than my real "water drops detector" visible in under "Tips and Tricks"section of this website,
but it works perfectly.

The principle is to use a webcam as visual sensor. The program "VideoDetector.exe" is used to
capture images from video stream, comparing images to each other, and detect differences
in order to trigger the reflex. CMOS sensors of the cameras that generate constant noise video,
the program detects permanent differences between the captured images. Thus it is possible to adjust
the quality of detection to reduce the noise but also the threshold for triggering the reflex
digital noise factor.

It is also possible to choose the area of the image you wish to monitor, so the
detection and trigger the reflex can be selective.

To use this program, you must have Windows XP 32/64 bit minimum (works with Windows Vista and Seven),
the framework 2.0 microsoft minimum and of course a webcam. Launch the program "VideoDetector.exe"
contained in the ZIP file. Photo01 the window shows you the video detector.
Choosing a webcam in the list of webcams installed on your computer.
If your camera supports different resolutions and different refresh rates, you can change these settings
and apply them by clicking on "update". Click "Start " to start capturing the video stream. Two video windows
appear to the left of the video stream in real time, on the right window detection.

Several settings are possible detection.
The first is the quality of analysis. A setting of "Bad", will slower computers to have a fast detection speed
but this setting also eliminates video noise easily. The second adjustment to adjust the sensitivity
on the 3 basic colors: green, blue and red. So if the backdrop to a green color and the object to be detected is red,
we solve the green on 10 for example and red 3 or 4.

Use the program "Video detector for photography" (photo01)
- Choose the Webcam or camera in the list (1), all webcams and DV camera recognized by Windows as
video device is recognized and usable.
- Change settings of the webcam, if it accepts the change (2). Click "Update"
for take the changes. If your webcam or camera will not accept changes settings back to default
settings of your webcam.
- Choosing Quality Analysis (3) to reduce the analysis time, set quality to medium or bad (Valid for older computers).
This setting can also reduce noise and interference.
- Set RGB Noise Reduction (4). This helps reduce video noise, but also parasites and permit to define a color
to be analyzed rather than another.
- Adjust the sensitivity of detection and triggering of the photo (5), the large horizontal slider allows
setting from 0 to 100% by step of 1%, the small slider from 0 to 1% by step of 0.1%.
- Set the time before onset of the picture (6) and the time between two photos. A checkbox allows
send a sound long if you use autofocus to allow time for it to focus.
- Click on Start (7) to begin the analysis of camera images.

On photo02, the analysis is started, you can change the quality of analysis and noise reduction RGB in
real-time (1). Bottom right is the time of image analysis (2), on an Intel Core I7, time analysis can go down to 2ms.
To stop the analysis and the possible outbreak of the photo click on the button "stop"(3).

On photo03, we see red, blue and green color in the "view of detection" (1) areas that have changed between two images.
The percentage differences between the two images appear in the lower right (2), and just above the percentage above
which the camera is activated (3).

You can change the detection zone on the image (photo04), simply make a left click with the mouse in "view of detection",
to keep the left mouse button and drag the mouse then release the button.
The detection range is much smaller. Only the differences between two images in this area will trigger photo.

I added a few photos, photos I took during my tests.

To download this program, go to the "Download" section of this website.
The program may change, do not communicated the direct download link of the ZIP file
but prefer this page as link: video pour la photo/Video detector for photo.htm

Thus other users can see and enjoy this little tutorial to use.

For install the program, just extract the ZIP file and put all files in a folder or on your desktop.

For each questions, there is a section in the forum.

An option was added (photo10). This option simulates a left mouse click upon detection of an object.
If you have a program to control your digital SLR camera with an USB cable (for Nikon, there NKRemote or Camera Control Pro):
- Run the program to control your camera (example : NKRemote)
- Launch the "Video detector for photography" software.
- Check the box "Generate a mouse left click"
- Start and adjust analysis as described above.
- Position the mouse over the button to trigger a photo in the program to control your DSLR camera
(example in the software NKRemote: buttons Preview or Release)
- When motion is detected by the video detector program, it will simulate a click on the button
Capture of the control program for your DSLR, and a photo will be taken.

The advantage of this option is not to use the "Lightning Detector" and the remote for your DSLR but
just an USB cable and a program for controlling your digital SLR.

A new option was added (photo10, arrow 2). It can trigger the DSLR or flash with the detector "Universal Sensor for DSLR".
To use it, plug the detector into the USB port, and check this option, the program automatically detects
the presence of the detector. You have the choice between a beep on the sound card or sending the information to the detector.
This option is much faster than using the sound card.
Note: You can not start together this program and the program "Universal Sensor for DSLR easy configuration".
The two programs can not, at the same time interact with the universal Sensor for DSLR.
This will require open one of two programs, and close it, and open the other program.

The version now correctly handles video capture cards (example: TERRATEC Grabby).
This allows you to connect any analog video source (composite or S-video).
We can therefore connect infrared video cameras, thermal cameras, ...
This makes it possible to make the detection of nocturnal animals, shooting stars, ...

Updated program in version to be compatible with the Photographer Tools,
and correct a small error in the change in the quality of analysis detection.

Copyright 2010-2013 ThierryD -
Last update 17/04/2013
Reproduction prohibited

Use arrows for the direction and speed. Click on thumbnail for enlarge.