"Ride Camera" system
Okay, I don't have any pictures set up yet, so I'll try to be simple about my explanation of what I'm planning to do...
First, this idea started a few years ago when one of the hometown reporters came and did an article on us, complete with a photo of customers getting scared, right on the front page of the Community section. It got me thinking about putting in a camera and taking photos for people to purchase after they exit the house.
I looked around at getting a used system from an amusement park that closed near me, but couldn't get through to anyone who would know about it. I looked for used systems online, new systems, just about anything I could think of. EXPENSIVE was not even close to describing it.
So, here's what I've done to make my own:
Bought a DSLR (canon) camera on craigslist for about 100 dollars. it's 5 years old, but it's REALLY nice, and the guy kept it in great condition.
I went with a Canon because they have a utility to see the pictures on a computer screen, and to even take the pictures through the computer, so no need to hotwire the camera shutter button :-)
Quality printer and photo paper, also from Craigslist, for about $150
Two old computers, win2K and NICs were free, cause I'm a packrat and never throw old and outdated stuff away.
a relay to a sensor that's already in the House. That's pretty much the main stuff. THere's also mounting bracket for the camera, a little cart/Kiosk for one of the computers and monitor, where the customer gets to see their picture and decide if they wanna buy it.
Okay, here's how I've got it set up(well, still setting it up atm..) first, the relay will trigger one computer to click the shutter on the camera. THis is done by a weird concoction that's simpler to show with a picture, so we'll skip ahead.
The camera takes the picture, and via usb it sends the info back to the first computer, which is located around siix feet away from the camera, hidden... NOW, THE TRICKY PART. I have to network the two computers so that I can get the distance to the Kiosk, since usb has a max distance of a few meters without a hub or repeater. With the network, and ethernet, I get a LOT more distance for no extra cost. But since I'm using two old computers(read: single core cpu's), the constant writing of the image files to one computer, and trying to access it from another becomes a hassle.
To ease the stress off of one computer, I'm saving the files to the second computer, in the kiosk,via the network. The kiosk computer has a better processor, but it's still not the greatest, so I may even go so far as to use one of my own dual core pcs for that. This way, I have the computeing power to show the pictures to th customer and print them out, while the data is being transmitted to the kiosk from the House.
It's not pretty, it's not the best way, but it's something affordable and easy enough to set up.
Sounds like a great idea... you may want to look into getting a USB over Cat5 product like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16812156020
Not sure if these products will work with the canon software so you may want to check that out first but it could save you the trouble of having to network into the computer that is closer to the camera due to the limitations of USB.
Just a thought!
The tricky part is going to be getting faces on paper. With a ride, it's easy. The car comes around a corner or out of a tunnel, everyone is looking forward, and there's your camera pointed at them. This is interactive and many people will have different reactions. Practice this lots. Have people who haven't seen the scare before go through and closely watch where their face points after the scare. You will need to place the camera very carefully.
No one really wants to buy a photo of the back of their head. And be prepared for red eyes, since it will probably be dark.
Originally Posted by beardedbil
I looked into cat5 usb adapters, and I wasn't about to spend over $50 for a decent one, but you've linked to the cheapest one(that won't break in about a day) yet! Good find!
Originally Posted by shawnc
Very true, that was one of the biggest hurdles, the free movement of the customer, completely different from being strapped in to a rollercoaster seat.
We have a scare set up so that it comes from the right side of the customer, it's a basic pop-style scare, loud noise and bright lights, nothing too fancy, yet the scare is at a precise moment. Hopefully, this will help with the timing, plus, with the sensor in set in place and the trigger happening at the same point in time for each group, we'll be able to tweak the photo snaps effectively.
With the scare coming from the side, I figured that at the very least, we'd have a photo of someone mid-air, if they don't turn their head towards the bright lights. And, from the little I do know about how the human eye works(as well as the "redeye reduction" tech), I'm hoping the delay we get from the time the bright lights turn on to the shutter snap will work in our favor.
Here's an idea to help prevent redeye: In the scene right before the one where you're going to take the photo, do something with bright lights. This will cause the pupils to contract. That's the basic problem; when you're in the dark, you have trouble seeing so your pupils get bigger to compensate. That's the biggest cause of redeye. That's why you see some cameras that have what they call a pre-flash. It causes the pupils to involuntarily contract right before the real flash and the photo is taken.