Introduction: IR Videos

With a digital camera in movie mode, or with a camcorder, the diy infrared filter can also be used to record videos, giving them an eerie and mysterious atmosphere.
However, due to the short exposure of video shots, it is hard to get satisfactory results with two pieces film. In the video on the first page of this instructable, as well as the one underneath, the footage was recorded through a single slide of photographic film, which does let in a fair amount of natural light, as well as IR light. The result is an hybrid, which has an interesting mood to it however.


nittyG (author)2008-01-14

Is there any way that there can be a mod that can make heat clear, like so:

People use infrared cameras for all sorts of applications. They're VERY effective for energy efficiency. If someone could find how to make a cheap DIY alternative to the cameras that are usually thousands of dollars, it would be of enormous benefit.

DIY Emilio (author)nittyG2010-12-26

I'm pretty sure that thermal imaging cameras have heat reactive chemicals in their lenses that filter visible light out and make infrared heat more prominent. I don't think they use a normal CCD like you would find in a normal camera either. They don't have to be cooled, but cooling does make their images a higher quality.

DIY Emilio (author)DIY Emilio2010-12-26

There's still probably some way that it can be done.

chamunks (author)nittyG2010-08-06

From what I recall reading in the past these types of cameras are built using a ccd and a cooling device maybe you could try hacking a camera with a peltier device to cool the ccd to bring the sensitivity up. I'm pretty sure thats the only difference. I found this out after finding out that during my research on the "Stirling Engine" that they can also use the engine for heat transfer so they put them in night vision. This might help get you some extra out of the IR range... It would be worth testing the theory. I have also wanted to know about where to get a cheap heat cam because those home wasted energy surveys are pretty neat and would be a pretty cool job. Though its not a big focus of mine just have some vague info on them.

nittyG (author)chamunks2010-12-21

I'm replying to this months later...
That is really, really interesting. Do you have some info on how the stirling engine works in nightvision?
What is a peltier device?
I wonder how far you could go into IR... do you have any idea?

chamunks (author)nittyG2010-12-21

From what I read years ago some night vision work better when the CCD is colder thus being able to pick up IR a bit easier, so the stirling engine comes into play here by acting more like a heat pump than an engine. Google References: (shortened)  I basically stumbled across this information wanting to learn more about the Stirling engine itself.  

From what I recall a night vision setup with this configuration could essentially see in Zero Lux (complete darkness)  As to how far? I'm not sure, from what I gather there is two types basically of night vision theres ones that use IR illumination and ones that are passive.  Obviously the passive ones are the ones used in the field due to stealth issues but if you just need night vision for whatever reason illuminated seems fine but limited.

I've wanted to make an Instructable that would show you how you build a cheap diy Infra Red Spotlight/Floodlight but just haven't had the time.  It seems as though all the current day IR arrays are built from LED's which are still not even close to matching normal bulbs in their power and efficiency / cost comparison.  But most consumer grade Night Vision cost around 200 something some for less but you'll know why when you get one.

Alan the Great (author)nittyG2008-01-19

It's not hard. Open up the camera and take out the IR filter, then put a floppy disk / film filter in it's place. Heat shows up as blue-white to me; toasters/soldering irons can light up a small area. Stoves look particularly cool.

nittyG (author)Alan the Great2008-01-20

Really! I did a lot of research and was becoming convinced that this was impossible. I guess I was only trying to understand how thermography cameras work and realized it was very specialty components (phased array optics). I guess I needed to understand how more basic film tech works. Anyway Can you pleeeease upload some pictures of it? Also, can you see heat escaping out of or coming into crack in a window? That would determine whether you could use it for energy efficiency... Thanks a lot

Alan the Great (author)nittyG2008-01-20

Sorry, I misunderstood.. it's not nearly that sensetive, I'm afraid. You won't be able to see people through walls, etc; you need a heat source such as a toaster or a stove or a lighter, etc for this to work.

nittyG (author)Alan the Great2008-01-20

No, I didn't mean that sensitive.
I meant being able to, say, see heat coming through the crack of a window from outside a heated house.
Nonetheless, do you have pictures to upload, even if it is of toasters/ovens?
It would give me a much better idea.

In case you're all wondering why I'm so interested in this...
I read a while ago that the most energy efficient town in the US, Osage, IA, started by using thermography, and building by building, giving images free to people. They saw where their heat was escaping, and plugged up the holes. They now save an average of about $800-1000 per household.
I'd like to do this as well, and see if we can at least start out doing it as inexpensively as possible.
Maybe if we can all find a way, we should make a separate DIY.

An article to look over:

I've been in touch with the Municipal Utilities in Osage. They use the following camera, costs about $15,000:

Pazzerz (author)nittyG2009-07-30

You're talking about IR in the 12000 to 14000 nm range(Far IR). This IR is around 650 to 1000 nm (nanometers wavelength, Near IR). There are camera available that do pick up the far infrared (12-14000nm) for heat analysis, but the cheapest I've seen so far is about $6500 with a resolution of only 180x120, or at best in that price range, 320x240. The sensors are the expensive part, otherwise, its just an ordinary digital camera setup.

Alan the Great (author)nittyG2008-01-21

You can't see heat coming through a keyhole; not with my crappy assed camera at least. Unfortunately, because I accidentally broke my camera cable, my digital camera now does everything except transfer images to a computer... oh, the irony. Anyways, this old camera often has trouble taking pictures in anything other than broad daylight, so it's not a good baseline. I'm not sure if a higher end camera, with a more sensitive CCD, could see heat leaking through cracks or not, but it's worth a try if you're willing to risk destroying a nice camera.

nittyG (author)Alan the Great2008-01-21

Do you think we could do it without destroying a camera? What camera do you have?

technodude92 (author)nittyG2008-02-22

you could try going old school and using 35mm IR film. your local photo specialty store, assuming its still there, should have some. and while you won't get an instant read, you will have much more sensitivity than could be achieved with a digital camera.

Spokehedz (author)nittyG2008-01-18

No, this is not possible. This is near-infrared filter. true infrared thermal cameras are very expensive, because they are very sensitive to the infrared. This basically blocks out most of the visible spectrum, letting the tiny amount of infrared come back in. By tiny amount, all digital cameras have a infrared filter on them. So, you are basically working against that.

EaglesNestOne (author)Spokehedz2008-06-28

Do you think even phone cameras have infared filters? I've been thinking about making nightvision and thermal-vision with infared for quite a time now but didn't manage getting all the way into my camera's lens Assembly to remove the IR filter.

emopants92 (author)2009-01-05

So is there anyway with a bigger lens? mine is about 2.5 inches ( I believe) and is there anyway of doing this for that big of a lens? PS yes I saw the above posts, but was wondering if you have found any new ways. OR anyone else find a the way to do it for a bigger lens THANKS

AAndy (author)emopants922009-10-15

 use 120 roll a 2 1/4" high negative. There isalso 4x5 & 8x10 sheet film..

emopants92 (author)emopants922009-01-06

I just measured the lens diameter it is 4.5 cm or about 1 3/4 in. So any help? and would the film and the floppy will fit? Or is there another way of doing it for my camera?

djin (author)2009-02-24

This is great and I've seen other tutorials on the same, but I'm a bit confused on the film part.. I just bought a roll of iso 400 film Should I take pictures in the dark and go the the photo shop, process the film and use that, or take the film straight out of the roll which will render it black??

wupme (author)djin2009-02-25

Roll the half of it out, and the other half in. So you get both, just to be shure :-)

djin (author)wupme2009-02-25

hehe well I thought of that, but then someone told me it has to be overexposed, and that it has to be slide film, which is diffent from regular photography rolls :/ so now I'm even more confused, and I'm going to the photo shop right now to ask if they have the slide film..

"No, slide film is color reversal film like Kodachrome or Fujichrome. The unexposed area stay black. I don't know if regular film will work, but to make it black the film has to be overexposed. The photo store can help you."

wupme (author)djin2009-02-26

I've read alot of instructions (in german) where they say a normal 35mm roll film works. I just can't remember if it needs to be exposed or not, so just split it. Overexposing is easy, put it in your scanner and scan it :-)

AAndy (author)wupme2009-10-15

 I'm still surprised that no one mentioned buying a roll of 120film , exposing it & having it processed.....that'll give you a 21/4" high negative. By a few other comments, I'm presuming this iscolor negative film (print film) we are using...correct?

djin (author)wupme2009-03-04

okay thanx for the tip, I haven't used my fresh roll, but I used the ends of some negatives I had stored... I used the completely black parts, used 3 layers, and I'm currently dealing with putting them inside the filter cap, because since they are bent, they won't stay in place hehe but I made a test with them and they filter IR light pretty well... oh and floppy disk film does not work at all.. I will post my final product on my blog, in case you (or anyone) are interested =)

mmd174 (author)2008-03-11

Is there a way to turn a regular old laser pointer into an IR pointer. I am concerned about just using black negatives due to heat. Any help....

dUc0N (author)mmd1742008-04-22

In response to the comments (both of them) on IR filters for lasers:

As far as I know, this won't work for that. A laser, by definition, uses a very specific wavelength of light emitted when something is charged with electricity. Photography like this works because the sun puts off visible light, as well as all kinds of light you can't see (like infra-red, which is why sunlight feels warm on your skin, as well as Ultraviolet, and even small amounts of X-rays and other radiation). The filter just stops all the visible-spectrum light (well, most of it) so that the Infrared light shows up better in the finished photo.

See also:
Visible Light Spectrum, Electromagnetic Spectrum (including invisible "light" such as IR, UV and others), Lasers, Infrared Filters, and a sample of a manufacturer that makes IR laser modules (commonly used with night-vision on military weapons).

emuman4evr (author)dUc0N2008-08-18

So I cant see an infrared laser by looking through a piece of undeveloped film?

Pazzerz (author)emuman4evr2009-07-30

You can if you use a modified camera to view it. It is the CCD chip that is sensitive to the IR, not your eyes.

gauzz (author)2009-06-17

You should try with 2 film layers or more, i found the effect to be better since you dont get all that normal light and the plants look completely white, of course all depends on the effect you want to achieve.

petcna (author)2009-05-30

Does it matter whether to use "written" floppy disk film (data already present) or a "brand new" floppy disk film?

Dash666 (author)2009-05-28

I converted an old digital camera to infrared, just opened it up, took out the IR filter (a little piece of green or red coated shiny glass), and replaced it with 2 pieces of the film, it works great. As a physics person, I can say that removing the flat piece of glass can only affect the autofocus minimally. as long as it is flat, all the light that enters it exits at the same angle it entered so removing it does not change angles. it could however, offset the light minimally, but I do not see anything wrong with the focus in the converted camera, (though at 2mp there is not too much detail or sharpness to examine for change). Anyways, I have done it, it works great. here are some samples of what I did with it, i found it easier to just make everything black and white than to change the channels around.

Dash666 (author)Dash6662009-05-28

it seems like the images didn't show up...

Aaron_81 (author)2009-05-24

The black part of the "unexposed" processed film comes from the leader, the part of the film that sticks out of the canister so that you can load it into the camera. The leader is totally exposed to light, making it black (on negative film, which has the orange color cast to it), so you are actually using totally exposed processed film for the filter.

pumpkinman (author)2009-05-04

when you make an infra-red camera from an ordinary camera don't you have to replace the ordinary filter with the home-made?

sam noyoun (author)pumpkinman2009-05-10

which ordinary filter?

pumpkinman (author)sam noyoun2009-05-15

in an ordinary digital camera there is a filter that filter out all lights accept visual lights, so lights as IR, UV, gamma and so on doessn't show up on the picture. so it is like first putting a filter to take away the IR and then putt a other filter right on top of it whitch filter every thing butt IR. And i dont want to criticise your work butt IR radiates from all living things and your camera doesn't seem to do that.

sam noyoun (author)pumpkinman2009-05-16

The IR filter in digitsl cameras is very tricky to remove: it is usually behind the lens inside the camera. This is an operation which is usually best left to specialist shops, or do it to a cheap camera you do not care about... Regardless, the IR filter does not usually block all ir light (conf. the remote control test), which is why it is still possible to do IR photography with an unmodified camera (you just need longer exposures).

syrax (author)2009-05-14

i make some simillar with WEBCAM but remove the fixed glass filter and put black film , ~10 IR leds and make possiblle to shot in about 10 foots in full dark

JohnMichael (author)2009-04-13

While an interesting filter; I do not believe this is infra red photography. Th picture of the person shows light and shadow, which is different from the heat a person would radiate. IR is heat.

sam noyoun (author)JohnMichael2009-04-14

you're confusing near infrared (used in photography) with far infrared (used in thermal detection devices).

JohnMichael (author)sam noyoun2009-04-15

OK. I was unaware of the difference. Can the near infra-red be used to see things in the dark?

sam noyoun (author)JohnMichael2009-04-17

It can if you use it in conjunction with an infrared flashlight.

goobermeister (author)2009-03-16

If you add this filter to a PINHOLE style camera, can you make infrared pinhole shots?

nikv95 (author)2009-02-21

so does this work if you just look through it or does it have to be through a camera

sam noyoun (author)nikv952009-02-23

It has to be through a camera.

alireza12559 (author)2009-02-10

hi that was interesting Ur claim seems reasonable if u can not see anything through a layer off floppy disc film. because then u can say that all ur camera is capturing is due to IR region. And another interesting point was that ur film was in red tone.which shows that just the red sensor of the CCD is in action. and as I know just the red sensor SPD(spectral power distribution) extends to NIR region. Anyway, I would be glad to see ur comments in my Email

mazeka.14 (author)2009-01-23

where can i get one of the early sony nightshots or can you duplicate the effect...

idaedheloth (author)2009-01-20

I'm a bit confused about the film. If it were unexposed and processed, it seems to me it would be a piece of clear material. if it were exposed and processed, it would be black and opaque. if it were unexposed and unprocessed, it would also be opaque. so, should a piece of exposed, processed film be used?

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