View Full Version : Scare Shots

07-08-2012, 12:10 PM
I've been thinking about implementing a "scare shot" system similar to the cameras on roller coasters for a year or so now. At a certain place during the attraction, a photo would be taken of each group right as the scare was happening, and then they'd be displayed and for sale at the end of the haunt. Has anyone here done anything like this? I know that Nightmares Fear Factory in Niagra Falls does this and has a huge gallery online: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nightmaresfearfactory/. Some of the shots are priceless!

Anyways, if anyone has done something similar, do you have any suggestions for the type of equipment to use, etc? Also, I'm trying to decide if I should go through the hassle of trying to print photos on site or just sell a digital copy for a few bucks (give them a card with their unique photo ID so that they can download from our website, email the picture to them, etc). I would make sure our logo is in the corner of each picture. Then if customers would upload the photo to Facebook, it could act as another form of advertising, so that's another advantage of going digital. I just wouldn't want the lack of a printing option to turn anyone away.

Lastly, do you think that these would be popular and sell, especially if they were pretty cheap? I guess it's hard to tell until we try, but I'd like to hear other opinions. Thanks!

07-08-2012, 12:22 PM
I brought up the very same idea years ago. As a frequent haunt visitor, I would have loved something like this, and wondered why no one really does it.

The general consensus was that it was cost prohibitive for one, and two, would be hard to execute.

Although I can agree with the first part, I find the second part to be a lot of bologna. For as crafty and ingenious as so many haunters here are, I'm sure they could rig something up to get the picture at the right moment.

07-08-2012, 12:52 PM
Yeah, I wouldn't expect this to bring in a huge profit. I'd be happy as long as I'd break even or fairly close. I think it's just another cool thing that adds a bit more to the haunt - even if it just makes people laugh at themselves when they exit, it still leaves them with a good impression even if they don't buy it. It's kind of similar to selling concessions; we make a little bit of profit doing this, but it's mostly for making the wait more enjoyable. Plus, like I mentioned, the photos could act as an additional form of advertising...

I have the spot in the haunt chosen, and the entire scene is already automated by an electronic controller. As long as I can somehow tie the camera's trigger to the controller, then I can mess with the timing until it's just right. I also found an SD card online ($40) that has built-in wifi, so it can automatically upload the photos to a computer at the end of the haunt as they are taken.

The only other expense that I see is the actual camera itself, especially if I'm not printing on site. I'm not sure what quality camera would be best, but I'm thinking it would definitely have to be DSLR, even on the low-end, which can run around $600. If anyone has any expertise on cameras, that'd be helpful too, haha...

And finally, what would you personally pay for a full-size digital copy of the photo? $5 would be easiest... do you think that's too high / low?

07-08-2012, 01:46 PM
We did it years ago and the problem we faced at the time was lighting and reunioning a scare its something i would like to revisit but not right now

07-08-2012, 02:21 PM
What do you mean by reunioning a scare, like matching the photos with the people? What kind of camera did you use, and how much did you charge per photo?

07-08-2012, 03:56 PM
It seams like you could rig up a web cam to a computer and sync the flash some how. show them on a screen at the exit of the attraction and print the ones that people buy. has anyone researched a camera with a built-in flash that can be hooked to a computer? just an idea.

07-08-2012, 05:32 PM
has anyone researched a camera with a built-in flash that can be hooked to a computer? just an idea.

Yes, a camera that could be hooked up to a computer and automatically upload photos would work, but I almost think that the wifi SD would work just as well if not better, because then the camera doesn't need to be too near the computer, just within range. It's called Eye-Fi: http://www.eye.fi/products/connectx2 - it's only $40 and works with pretty much any camera since it acts like a normal SD card. As soon as the photo is taken, it will immediately be uploaded to the computer at the exit of the haunt, nothing else to it. At our haunt, customers go through in groups and don't run into or pass ahead of any other groups. Therefore, the order that the pictures are taken is the order that the groups will exit the haunt, so it will be really easy to match the pictures up with the groups - they're already in order.

The problem that I'm running into is choosing the camera. Anyone familiar with cameras here? Like I said, I would think it should be a DSLR camera and not just a point-and-shoot. The camera needs to be really quick and responsive - no shutter lag. As soon as the camera is triggered, the picture needs to be taken or else it'll miss the scare. I think DSLR cameras are usually pretty good with this, right? I also need to decide if I should get a camera that works well in low-light (the room is dimly lit) or just accept that I'll need a flash to go off as the picture is taken. Finally, the camera must come with (or allow the purchase of) an AC adapter, because replacing batteries would become a hassle. I think nearly all DSLR cameras have one available, but I don't think that's always the case with point-and-shoot.

show them on a screen at the exit of the attraction and print the ones that people buy.

If I would decide to print photos at all, yes, I'd only print those that are being bought. However, I'm considering not allowing the option to print at all, only buying the digital photo. If I do print, it adds more complication - buying a good photo printer, ink, photo paper, etc.

So anyways, do you guys think it'd be alright that we don't offer printed photos? How much would you charge (printed vs just digital)? And any help choosing a camera would be appreciated (maybe I'll need to go to a photography forum for this...lol). Thanks guys!

07-08-2012, 09:04 PM
Here is an idea... this will take some trial an error experimenting.

Take a webcam (none night vision, NO IR Led's, they cause colors to change when used with a light source) and hook it up to a computer. The quality vs cost of webcams has changed so much over the last few years, youcan ge good quality from a cost effective unit now a days. Turn out the lights and see if a strobe light will give you enough light to capture video. If it does, then you can capture still shots from the video file. Windows movie maker that comes with most versions of the Windows operating system has a still shot function that allows you to import a video file and save still shots from any point in the video.

Save the still shots to an SD card and show them in a slide show so your customers can find themslves.

If the strobe light doesnt work, you could always use a 500w quarts light, although it may interfear with the scare you're doing to get the scare shot.

If I we're working for some one to develope this process on a professional level, I'd recomend a high res color fixed CCD digital camera that could be hard wired with a flash that was triggered by a IR sensor or trigger mat. the camera would capture countious video and the flash would highlight the customers. The rest could be done with software.

If you're looking for a much simpler idea... get a few SD cards, or the WiFi one and have an actor snap shots of them while they are being scared.

Remember, necessity is the mother of invention! If you want or need it bad enough, you'll find a way to make it work.

Just my 2 cents....

freak 'n' stein
07-08-2012, 10:21 PM
I got an email from Transworld a few weeks ago: http://www.picturemarketing.com/

Granted the company does more than haunts, the email was targeted directly at the haunt industry and featured Netherworld. It's still the same idea...snap a photo, issue bar-coded card, customer receives photos.

I've too wondered how simple it would be to link a camera and more or less DIY. I found some arduino controlled solutions but auto-uploading is what I can't find!! I did a quick google search, so I'm sure if I invested more time then I could find some solution!!

As far as the scare timing, I'd think a REALLY simple set up like an air cannon timed to the camera shot would get a great reaction from most if not all people! A local amusement park actually set up the camera scenario as the first room. We all stood in the room to "take a picture". The first snap was a legit picture and the second shot was an air cannon and they snapped the photo. At the end customers opted to purchase the photos in standard sizes or keychains. Best of luck! Let us know your progress!!

07-09-2012, 12:30 PM
I have been looking into this as well. There is a company out there that provides everything you need for this project, including teh camera, but i dont think they include a printer. The photos get uploaded to their website and customers access the photos using thier unique identiifier.

I will be selling pictures this year outside my queue line. It worked really well last year using a DSLR with a dye sublimation printer. Each photo post card costs me .20 and I sell them for $2 each. Last year about 60% of my attendees purchased a picture, and that was without any dedicated backdrop or anything else.

This year I am creating a little photo=op area where they can pose with one of our staple characters, in the graveyard so that should boost the sales! I am also installing a digital video camero (one of those new action video cams that mounts on helmets and stuff) to capture video inside for website use. I may play with that next year to see if I can get it to work for selling scare shots.

07-09-2012, 12:43 PM
rfsystems, that is an interesting idea to take video and then take a snapshot of the best frame. However, when you take video, isn't it usually always a lower resolution than taking still photos? I think it'd have the same effect as continuous shooting on a DSLR, which would provide a number of frames to choose from but still be at high resolution.

freak 'n' stean, that's interesting... the way the company distributes the photos is almost exactly what I want, but I'm not sure how good the FotoZap camera is. I've looked into arduino also, not specifically for this, but decided to stick with the good old Boo Boxes through FrightProps because they're already more tailored for a haunt (120v relays, sound, etc) without having to add too much else. I'm not sure about this situation, though.

BigT, what company is that? And wow, 60% of attendees is pretty good!

07-09-2012, 06:32 PM
However, when you take video, isn't it usually always a lower resolution than taking still photos? I think it'd have the same effect as continuous shooting on a DSLR, which would provide a number of frames to choose from but still be at high resolution.

Just like any camera, the quality of the video is all in the camera and the lens. This is the initial source of the image. You can always down-sample an image from a higher resolution to a lower resolution. But you can never increase the resolution of a low res image, when you do you get pixelation and the images starts breaking up or looking bad.

A decent high res fixed camera will run $100 and up depending on its specs and where you buy it. Most photo and video software is set for optimization, not quality. You should be able to capture a photo quality video and save photo quality still shots from it with little or no issues. If you're only printing post card size photos them you really shouldn't have any problems.

I did forget to mention in my earlier post that you'd have to have a video capture card for the computer you hook the fixed camera to.