My favorite purveyors of cheap stuff have finally added a sub-$15 PAL video camera (NTSC version) to their inventory. 25FPSers rejoice!

Security Cameras Arrived

This seems to be the same or very similar model to the cameras I’ve been using for my various Vixid experiments, and as the core of the Herovision setup.

The quality of these can be a bit varied. They have a tendency to change colour temperature as they “warm up”, and of the 16 I bought (from a different supplier), 2-3 had problems with colour, exposure or contrast. We managed to kill another couple over the course of putting Herovision together, but those which made it through have been very robust, and survived being bashed in transit and swung around the place by drunk punters.

The quality and sensitivity isn’t amazing, but this is a $15 camera! Think of it as the Lomo of video, without the hipster-fuelled price hike. Drop in a fisheye lens, put them up close to your subject, add some effects: Hey! Are you some kind of video artist?

Cowper – Berlin Four Two (Live) from Jaymis on Vimeo.
(More details of this performance on Vixid.Noisepages)

Other interesting things which have recently hit the DealExtreme catalogue:
CMOS Dome Cameras (PAL and NTSC)
Various rechargeable wireless cameras.
Wireless AV Transmitters and receivers.
BNC Video and Power extension cables.

Now we just need an inexpensive Mac-compatible capture device to bring all this stuff in to visualist software world. Any suggestions?

  • vjwunderkind

    Hey Jaymis,

    some of the stuff you link to doesn't seem to exist anymore… Especially the wireless stuff. Any model numbers maybe?

  • Jaymis

    Thanks for that vjwunderkind. I'd stuffed up the links when I was pasting them in. Fixed now.

  • j250xor

    For something like the wireless rechargeable cameras, what would you use to recieve the video signal from them?

  • Jaymis

    That's a good point j250xor – There doesn't seem to be any "receiver only" products on DealExtreme. I'm guessing you could use some of the "transmitter and receiver" products I linked as well, but I wouldn't be confident to prediect that the channels are going to be the same.

  • j250xor

    The part of me that knows a small amount about electronics wonders if it would be possible to write some clever program to turn an audio interface into a video interface.

    After all, a PAL component video signal is just a varying voltage, and audio interfaces are designed to sample a varying voltage so many times per second.

    There may be reasons why this is impossible but it would be nice if it wasn't.

  • Jaymis

    I think this idea won't work for the same reason you can't use an audio mixer to mix video. The frequencies and structure of the different signals prevents it from working, at least on standard gear.

  • vjspetto

    I ve some old ccv cameras and from a while I use a second hand Dazzle USB Capture (actually very very cheap!) with VideoGlide driver. It works and rock when with Modul8 (or your prefereable vj soft).

  • hugo

    Does it draw power through composite or is there a separate power supply??

  • Jaymis

    @hugo: They require a separate power supply. 6-12v. They only draw quite a small amount of power though – about 40mV I think – so you could probably just power a couple of them with 9V batteries.

    I have a custom power supply circuit and custom leads for the cameras, but depending on your needs you can just use normal "wall wart" power bricks.

  • hugo

    thanks. this site is fantastic!