As with any DIY project, we learned a lot by experimenting with our materials. Here’s what we learned.
Each point and shoot camera is made a bit differently, and some are easier to mod than others. It is best to work slowly and carefully, as a mistake can either 1) hurt the person working on it or 2) damage the camera.
- Infragram documentation should note that, if using color print film as a filter, that film needs to be exposed and developed — not just exposed.
- The first time a camera is taken apart, the screws on the exterior casing and interior plates are screwed down very tightly. Care needs to be taken to not strip the screws, or you may get stuck unable to bypass a single screw.
- The camera’s casing is made of a very soft plastic that easily bends out of shape when taking it apart. The damage is mostly aesthetic, though.
- You need to white balance the camera after removing the IR blocker, or images will have a pinkish hue.
- The “infrablue” filter for the PLOTS website comes with no directions, but is large enough for use on multiple cameras.
For a project where consistency is ideal, we severely underestimated the required materials and/or time necessary in order to remain so. If we were to do this project over, in order to remain more consistent with our photos from produce to produce and day to day, we would make several changes.
- We’d set up a lightbox for each type of produce and size the box accordingly. Having the produce remain in a box would make it so that it would not have to be moved and reset each day. This would also make post-processing easier, in particular for producing NIR photos with the color negative/no IR blocker and control cameras.
- We’d make sure to have a working tripod, ideally 4 (or have a tripod with 4 connectors that can attach to the cameras for quick release/change), that we could set the cameras on and leave alone. This would provide for better and more consistent framing.
Although we were unable to achieve ideal consistency in our photography, luckily image-editing software can help alleviate these inconsistencies. Through careful positioning, we were able to achieve remarkably sharp NDVI images. Here are a few helpful tips we figured out.
- Infrablue is easier, but not necessarily better. Even though we had to use two cameras to generate an NDVI image without using Infrablue, the results were much clearer (and more aesthetically pleasing as well).
- Do the math. If we didn’t fully understand the science and equations behind NDVI processing, we wouldn’t have been able to set up our experiment correctly or generate the NDVI images.
- Know what to cut. A significant portion of the development time of the plug-ins was wasted on attempting to implement custom gradients. Get your core functionality down first and add bonus features later (if you have time).
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