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Old 19-04-2008, 06:53   #1
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Mast mounted camera?

From time to time Iíll see a photo of the deck of a boat taken from the mast. And I am often struck by how useful something like that might be in parking a large vessel or how of a short handed crew it might be of use.

I am certain there are other uses, too. Video surveillance comes to mind. And if it were stabilized, moveable and protected you could see ships a greater distance. I personally think this is of limited use as this is what radar does fairly well but it may be a nice adjunct. And I suppose the paranoid might also think this would give them a degree of protection versus pirates, which, I guess, could be true if you wanted to watch the monitor 24/7.

Anyway, I am wondering if this has already been done and I would appreciate input.
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Old 19-04-2008, 07:49   #2
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Quote:
And if it were stabilized, moveable and protected you could see ships a greater distance.
Might not be affordable or durable. Stabilized video would require a mighty expensive camera. The cameras they use for outdoor surveillance are not the tiny digital ones you use on a desktop and even they are not so great. For docking I think the last thing I want to do is watch some camera ins tread of where I'm going.

I lower mounted digital camera might be more useful at the dock.
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Old 19-04-2008, 07:51   #3
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These Horizontrue camera mounts look nice. They have one that mounts to your mast.

Horizon True Video Camera Mount is the perfect boating accessory for filming or video-taping sailboat training and racing, fishing, and water-skiing

Horizon True Video Camera Mount is the perfect boating accessory for filming or video-taping sailboat training and racing, fishing, and water-skiing
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Old 19-04-2008, 08:03   #4
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Have this guy build you one of his mounts for pan, tilt, rotate, and zoom, add it to the Horizon True mount and you would be all set.


RunRyder - Mast mount
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Old 19-04-2008, 09:39   #5
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I wouldn't call that mount "stabilized" around video people. That's the same type ofcounterbalance the old Questus (sp?) radar mounts used. Versus the consumer-grade stabilized cameras versus the commercial ones used on news helicopters.

What's the camera ball on a helo cost these days? A half million dollars and a hundred pounds of extra weight? Of course that's overkill if all you want is a picture of the deck, any camera should be able to do that well enough.
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Old 19-04-2008, 10:07   #6
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There are small weatherproof cameras available for quite reasonable prices, often called "lipstick tube" or "bullet" cameras. For a mast-mounted view of the deck, you probably don't want it stabilized anyway. I haven't installed any of this, but I have considered it from time to time. Here is a link to a supplier (they emphasize security applications): Surveillance Video Cameras - Weatherproof
These units typically sell for $50 to a couple hundred $, and have wired video out and 12V power in. At the website above you can find relatively inexpensive RF transmitters and receivers, which might be a good idea for a mast-top camera: MVL10 Mini 2.4 GHz Transmitter Receiver System - MVL10

You can find this stuff on ebay, too.

Most of these cameras aren't going to give you Hi-Def resolution, but more likely something close to VHS (and in some cases worse).

For deck-level cameras you probably do want a stabilized system. And a wide-angle lens!
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Old 20-04-2008, 01:04   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pblais View Post
Might not be affordable or durable. Stabilized video would require a mighty expensive camera. The cameras they use for outdoor surveillance are not the tiny digital ones you use on a desktop and even they are not so great. For docking I think the last thing I want to do is watch some camera ins tread of where I'm going.

I lower mounted digital camera might be more useful at the dock.
Thanks for taking the time to respond.

There are two separate concepts here and, as I indicated, I think the latter is of limited utility.

With respect to the first idea (fixed; docking & dockside security), I don't think itís a necessary conclusion you would only look at the video, though if you might if you felt comfortable with certain types of video simulations (MS Flight Simulator comes to mind). In other words I am not speaking of option of either-or but rather both-and. Do you use a mouse or a keyboard for input on your computer? Some use both options along with, a scanner, joystick, microphone and a trackball. Do you use compass or GPS? Some use both, along with a sextant, deduced reckoning and terrain association as applicable.

With respect to the second (mobile; seeing objects at distance) you make good points about affordability, durability and size. But in large part these are engineering issues and I donít think it a requirement something be engineered for all possible conditions, certainly not for recreational use. I could see the military saying they would want one capable of responding to a mayday in a tropical storm or drug interdiction of a speedboat on open seas. For civiliansÖnot so much. But there are paranoid folks.
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Old 20-04-2008, 01:39   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tyrntlzrdking View Post

That's a great proof of concept. The other two links were interesting also but it seems they work only in one plane.

Paul Elliot: For docking and security, I agree fixed is the way to go. This way you could code a box around the boat, from the equivalent of the outline of the boat to say 10 feet. Sample the frames 3/sec and do not save. If something comes into the box moving towards the boat (possible threat) bump up the frame rate to 30/sec and save it. If it moves parallel (just walking down the pier), high frame rate but not saved. You could also have it another one or more wide-angle deck level kick on and record. Mostly I think you have images of a folks looking at your boat and marina staff.

For a deck-level camera I donít see the need for a stabilized image as the platform is always fixed. You might have people staggering about but camera and boat wouldnít.

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Old 11-04-2009, 14:43   #9
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I would think these "goPro" series of cams would be suitable for the needs of most. the image stabilization is quite good, the picture high def, and it's waterproof. For $200 bucks, it's almost a no brainer. Have a look at some of the videos. A 100% perfectly clear picture of a surfer riding through a wave and getting doused and you can see it all perfectly clear.

GoPro - Wearable Digital Cameras for Sports
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Old 11-04-2009, 16:25   #10
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Not that I sail in clear water, But would a mast mounted camera help in looking down off the bow to see color changes in the water and maybe pick out coral heads and such, could a different sight angle off set water reflection? just a thought
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Old 11-04-2009, 17:19   #11
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Aside from crew with fenders and radios, the mega yachts down here frquently have CCTV cameras particularly facing aft. Realize that the captain of these boats often cannot see where he is going when backing into a dock in close quarters to other boats. On nml size sailboats, the only immeditae use I see would be to observe sail trim on boats where the main obscures view of the head sail. Note that the current series of Raymarine chartplotters allow for muliple video inputs and so could be used to monitor these camera.
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Old 11-04-2009, 17:19   #12
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GoPro - Wearable Digital Cameras for Sports

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Old 15-04-2009, 09:26   #13
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Security Cameras Direct has a variety of cameras and recorders that work well on boats. One unit that works for me is their four channel, 12 volt recorder, designed for police cars and school buses. The camera inputs are small, weatherproof and have a greater than 120 degree field of view, allowing one to mount three of them in a custom housing and recording, 24/7, all activity in the vicinity. The cameras operate in zero light, but need infra red augmentation if range greater than 15-20 feet is needed for positive identification. To transfer the recording to a laptop requires an additional accessory. The fourth camera can be a more sophisticated unit on a spreader or cabintop for Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR) to find targets in the water, in the dark, or to "follow" a target that has caught your attention on the other cameras. Display can be on your television, laptop or multifunction display unit. You could even have an underwater camera for checking out the coral heads, the fouling on the rudder or prop, or searching for mermaids.

These installations aren't bank-busting, either. In combination with standard security systems, not only can you scare the bad guys off, but you can print out some mug shots for the good guys to relocate the crooks into new homes with secure settings. Without revealing any personal security details, this camera system repaid its investment in the first week of operation, and provides reassurance that I can effectively address issues involving boardings, hit and run events, and folks "checking out" my boat or my nearby neighbors at odd times of the day or night.
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Old 15-04-2009, 10:34   #14
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Roy, what is the link for Security Cameras Direct? I google it and did not find it.

Thanks
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Old 15-04-2009, 11:34   #15
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Here is another option:

M-Series Maritime Thermal Imager
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