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Flash Damper

Remove camera flashes from TV footage
  (+24, -1)(+24, -1)(+24, -1)
(+24, -1)
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I just watched a BBC World News segment which the announcer gave the barest of warnings beforehand about it containing camera flashes. That was an understatement - the camera flashes were going off so frequently that every second frame appeared to be a flash - and it was altogether obnoxious.

My guess is that the warning was for the epileptics in the audience, but I was thinking that, if someone had problems with epilepsy and flashes, the warning was way too inadequate: no sooner had the announcer finished speaking than the flashes launched - you would need hair trigger responses and a remote in your hand to react in time. Moreover, surely we have the technology to remove those flashes from the footage, making everyone happy?

So, this is a product for news services: a video filter that would spot frames washed out by camera flashes, then interpolate the frames either side to remove the flash. I don't know if it could be applied to live footage, but it would certainly work on time-delayed or archival footage of the type being presented on most news shows.

And, for those epileptics whose seizures can be induced by strobes, perhaps we can make a filter on the TV that does the same thing, damping out all flashes, repeating or not, just to be on the safe side.

DrCurry, Oct 01 2007

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       I like the idea of implementing this in the television itself. How many milliseconds are most flashes illuminated for?
ed, Oct 01 2007
  

       Electronically, it would be easy to include a circuit inside the TV that keeps the overall brightness at a nearly-constant level. It could be switched on as an option for epileptic owners.   

       Come to think of it, it'd be easier to just install such a circuit in the cameras or the TV station. It'd make a better picture for us all.
baconbrain, Oct 01 2007
  

       /then extrapolate the frames either side to remove the flash/   

       <pedant>sp: interpolate </pedant>
Texticle, Oct 01 2007
  

       As a means of removing distracting and annoying flashes, [+].   

       I'd be interested to know whether the irregular and brief flashes of that sort are liable to trigger epilepsy in susceptible people. I'd always assumed that the worst trigger was a more regular flash - I guess I figured that there was something about setting up resonances with some neuronal circuit or other. Anyone know?
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 01 2007
  

       Texticle: corrected, thank you!
MB: A quick Google suggests that camera and lightning flashes can indeed induce epileptic fits in sufferers, but I'm far from expert on the subject.
DrCurry, Oct 01 2007
  

       I was under the impression it was a repeated frequency issue, also possible with sound.
normzone, Oct 01 2007
  

       Not to detract from the main point, which is good (bun!) - you say the viewer would have required hair trigger responses and a remote in hand to respond in time to the warning given. Surely all the viewer needs to do is close his eyes?
Steve Adams, Oct 02 2007
  

       Absolutely delightful idea. In fact, although I do not suffer from epileptic fits, I would use this myself to sanitise some of our more recent commericals.   

       If it could turn all sudden changes of brightness and sound into slow fades, I'm sure you could strike a deal with TV manufacturers to have them in every single new unit. Let's have calm back on the box!
vincevincevince, Oct 02 2007
  

       Once upon a time, I prepared a an unleavened dough of water, milk, sour cream and stone ground organic wholemeal flour, olives, Worcestershire sauce, sundried tomatoes, pepitas and sunflower seeds, which I then rolled into a ball and baked slowly in the embers of a campfire.   

       Now _that_ was a flash damper. Mate.
BunsenHoneydew, Oct 03 2007
  

       //just install such a circuit in the cameras or the TV station//   

       As long as you keep that to just the ones at the TV station. Dynamic range is a good thing.   

       [+] for the idea. I wish movie theaters did this so you didn't get that damn bight white flash after the previews are over.
bleh, Oct 03 2007
  

       [+] pretty sure this would be easy to implement, the way video technology is going anyway.
theleopard, Oct 03 2007
  

       Excellent.   

       Yesterday my son was watching the news with me; his remark while watching footage of one of the ubiquitous starlets, "That's the fastest picture-taking I've ever seen."   

       "More than one camera, son." The young lady appeared to be caught in God's Own Lightning Storm.   

       "Oh." Pause. "Lots more."
elhigh, Oct 10 2007
  
      
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