Easy-Radio Modules For Remote Camera Control

Low Power Radio Solutions (LPRS) has provided ITV Technical Services with Easy-Radio wireless modules to connect remote television cameras used to film wild leopards in Namibia, Africa. ITV Technical Services has previously used LPRS Easy-Radio modules to control an unattended camera on a farm in Scotland for a documentary studying the psychology of cats. As with this new application, the 'cat cam' camera had to be set up and left unattended for many hours and a system was required to maximise usage of the camera's onboard video storage.

This original system was triggered by an infrared beam detector and used the LPRS wireless link to remove the problems of running connecting cables in such a difficult environment. The designers at ITV Technical Services decided to increase the capability of the wireless communication system to control multiple cameras. Having additional cameras would allow filmmakers to cover more angles in the field and allow them to make cutaway shots and cross-fades between cameras.

The end result is a new system comprised of a base unit fitted with the infrared trigger beam and four slave units, each with a day/night camera connected and a 50W infrared flood lamp to light the night scenes. The system uses the LPRS ER400TRS-02 module for communication between the master and slave units. Jeff Bird, designer at ITV Technical Services, said: 'The LPRS wireless modules have proved to be transparent in use, making the additional wireless connectivity simple to implement.

'All the hard work is already done in the LPRS modules, leaving me with a small amount of software required to control the VTRs and simple interfacing of the Easy-Radio module to the microcontroller. 'One of the best things about Easy-Radio is that all data received is good data or there is just no data at all, and then you know to send the message again. 'I designed the system to be polled every 20mS to ensure good responsiveness. 'The most recent modification to the ITV wireless camera control system has been to include a GSM modem in the base unit.

'This makes it possible to leave the system unattended for days on end and send it a text message from a mobile phone to discover how many times the system has been activated and collect system data such as the state of the batteries, and so on. 'When a text message is received by the base unit, each slave is contacted via the Easy-Radio link to establish the battery state. 'A reply is sent back via the radio link - the information is collated, formed into a text and automatically sent back to the mobile phone user.


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