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wiiawiwb

Thermal videos and buying a monocular

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wiiawiwb

I recently purchased a thermal monocular for use when I go sasquatching. Almost all of my sasquatching work is done during times and at places I backpack into. The thermal will be used for two purposes. Hopefully, to get a video of a sasquatch and also for camp security.

 

It was very difficult to buy a thermal because there was no place within a 4-hour drive (one way) from me that carried them. I spent a lot of time reading information on forums and looking at videos. I also solicited advice from users. In the end, I bought a Pulsar Helion XQ28F.

 

I thought I would post up some videos so others can see what a particular manufacturer and model can do in a wooded environment. Most of the videos I saw involved shooting hogs, fox, or rabbits in open fields. That didn't help me because I would be using it in the forest where the challenges are different than with an open field. The thermal you choose might also be different then you would get as a scanner for hunting.

 

Here are two recent videos I shot. They each captured what I think is a chipmunk and were shot in red hot mode in total darkness. The good news is I could pick them out, as small as they were, pretty quickly when I scanned the woods. Now, I am more confident that something large, like a sasquatch, that is skulking around will be much easier to detect than I thought. I will post up other videos as I make them and hopefully it can help others who are looking to buy a thermal for use in the woods.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLtaIbiS9qM  - The is video is 40 seconds long and the chipmunk is in it almost the entire time.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pbca0qjPIFY - This video is 1 minute 42 seconds long. The chipmunks are in the first 33 seconds and one is also caught at 1:04. The rest of the video is me scanning the forest, which is very dense.

 

p.s. Thanks to Gigantor for his help in figuring out how to get videos on BFF.

 

 

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TritonTr196

Glad you finally decided on one. The resolution on that model Pulsar looks really good. I like that color scheme also. Do you have a guesstimate on how far those critters were from you? I really don't need to replace my scout 3 right now but I might look into getting one of these models for the price I just found. Or I'll get one after I recover from just buying another old Gibson. If by chance you can record a larger field setting showing the resolution on the distance it can reach would be appreciated.

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Explorer
4 hours ago, wiiawiwb said:

It was very difficult to buy a thermal because there was no place within a 4-hour drive (one way) from me that carried them. I spent a lot of time reading information on forums and looking at videos. I also solicited advice from users. In the end, I bought a Pulsar Helion XQ28F.

 

Wiiawiwb,

 

Great that you got the thermal imager and thanks for posting the youtube samples.

BTW, the resolution does look very good.

 

I noticed that your Pulsar-Helion XQ28F records sounds.  That is one neat feature I miss in my FLIR.  If I want audio with my FLIR, I need to keep the audio recorder close (which is usually always on after 9 PM).

 

How is the battery life in this unit?  Can you keep it online all night long or can you keep in on standby mode? 

 

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gigantor
8 hours ago, wiiawiwb said:

In the end, I bought a Pulsar Helion XQ28F.

 

That is sweeeeeet!

 

 

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wiiawiwb

Triton - I don't know for sure but will be going back there in the next few weeks and will find out and let you know. I will also record in a more open setting and post that video as well. Thanks for your thoughtful help as well. I appreciate it.

 

Explorer - The battery that it comes with is supposed to last approximately 8 hours. I haven't fully drained mine yet and I I turn it off when not using it. I believe there is a power standby/sleep mode that awakens the unit quickly and will confirm that.  The good thing about there battery system is you can pop out thexisting one and replace it very quickly with a second battery. I bought a second one for times I would have an extended backpacking adventure. You can also buy a 16-20 battery that fits into the Helions as well. They're a little awkward to use because their larger size cause them to stick out from the camera making access to the buttons a little more difficult.

 

A few thoughts to consider when getting one:

 

1) if money is no object, consider getting a Helion XP28F. It has the 640x480 microbolometer resolution AND you can separately buy the XP50F or XP38F lens and detach the XP28F and put on a the larger lens which will provide optical magnification. That option is not available on the XQ line such as the one I bought.

2) It is important to know distance you expect your target to be. I've always known mine would be within 100 yards so getting the XQ50F model that extends the range of detection from 800 meters to 1800 meters was a waste.

3) Field of vision is important. The larger the lens the narrower the FOV. That means you need to be moving the monocular more to scan a desired area.  I opted for the XQ28F because it has a wider FOV so I could see more peripherally.

4) Native magnification. This was a difficult one for me to understand at first and helps to understand whether you want to spend extra money for a 640x480vs 384x288. Let's compare the XQ28F to the XP28F. The XQ28F native (base) magnification is 2.3 while the XP28F is 1.4.  If you were looking at an object 100 yards away, it would appear smaller with the XP than the XQ because the optical magnification is smaller.  So let's say, for whatever reason, you want the size you see the be the same size as the XQ. In order to do that, you would optically magnify the image from 1.4 to 2.3. That would serve to degrade the XP 640x480 image by 1.4/2.3. That would result in the image quality of the 640 to be no better than the 384 once the image size was the same. That's why many people will opt to spend their extra money getting the XQ50F rather than getting the XP28F.

 

The native magnification and 640 vs 384 can be seen visually here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5srQd6IuCio

 

At any distance point, look at the image at the top (XP 640) vs the bottom (XQ 384). The image with the 640 is clearer, no question about it but if it were too small and you needed to magnify it, the image would degrade and have the same clarity as the 384 image below at that size. Also, compare the XP50 on the top right to the XQ38 on the bottom left. The XP50 is ~$1,100 more than the XQ38 but will provide a clearer image at nearly the same size.

 

In the end, I was convinced that I wanted to identify something that was 8' tall from something that was a deer and I thought the XQ28F would provide a clear enough image for that to occur. Time will tell.

 

Hope this helps and I will post up videos as I take them and get those questions answered as well.

 

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SWWASAS
19 hours ago, wiiawiwb said:

I recently purchased a thermal monocular for use when I go sasquatching. Almost all of my sasquatching work is done during times and at places I backpack into. The thermal will be used for two purposes. Hopefully, to get a video of a sasquatch and also for camp security.

 

It was very difficult to buy a thermal because there was no place within a 4-hour drive (one way) from me that carried them. I spent a lot of time reading information on forums and looking at videos. I also solicited advice from users. In the end, I bought a Pulsar Helion XQ28F.

 

I thought I would post up some videos so others can see what a particular manufacturer and model can do in a wooded environment. Most of the videos I saw involved shooting hogs, fox, or rabbits in open fields. That didn't help me because I would be using it in the forest where the challenges are different than with an open field. The thermal you choose might also be different then you would get as a scanner for hunting.

 

Here are two recent videos I shot. They each captured what I think is a chipmunk and were shot in red hot mode in total darkness. The good news is I could pick them out, as small as they were, pretty quickly when I scanned the woods. Now, I am more confident that something large, like a sasquatch, that is skulking around will be much easier to detect than I thought. I will post up other videos as I make them and hopefully it can help others who are looking to buy a thermal for use in the woods.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLtaIbiS9qM  - The is video is 40 seconds long and the chipmunk is in it almost the entire time.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pbca0qjPIFY - This video is 1 minute 42 seconds long. The chipmunks are in the first 33 seconds and one is also caught at 1:04. The rest of the video is me scanning the forest, which is very dense.

 

p.s. Thanks to Gigantor for his help in figuring out how to get videos on BFF.

 

 

Looking at your videos may I make a suggestion?     One of our forum members has privately shared Plot Watcher interval pictures of a suspected BF approaching a camera.    It was near dusk.    The plot watcher of course took pictures at intervals and by looking sequentially at the pictures you could see the BF approaching the camera, most often peaking around trees,  but sometimes in the open moving between trees.   What you noticed in the images was an biped moving, framed against the background of stationary trees, appearing in some frames but not others.      By clicking through the still images,   you can pick up things different frame to frame.      Most were it peeking around trees.        If he had hand held the camera,  or panned it,  you would likely not have seen any movement because nothing was stationary.     By panning your camera,  you have created movement, and made it very difficult to pick up any movement by animals.   The small animals being the exception.      In one of your video clips I seem to see something larger moving as if it was peeking but cannot tell because you are panning at the time.     My suggestion is that instead of panning,   you hold the camera still as possible, and photograph in sectors.    Moving left to right or right to left, covering the area of interest, but holding the camera still before moving it to the next sector.    On a tripod or monopod would be even better.      Anything moving against the stationary trees will be very apparent.   If you are looking it's direction, it is unlikely you are going to see a full silhouette of a BF moving tree to tree but you might see it peeking around trees.    You might not even notice this at the time but notice it when you play back the video.       Astronomers use this technique to see objects like comets and asteroids moving against the stationary star fields.  

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wiiawiwb

Interesting. If my thermal can detect a chipmunk, shouldn't it be able to detect a sasquatch peeking around a tree if I catch it in a sweep? The scan or sweep method is how I detected the chipmunks in the first place. The red hot jumped right out.

 

Here's my concern with the still-picture method. When I'm out in the woods, a sasquatch can approach me from any direction in the 360 degrees around me. If I focus on one slice, which in my case the thermal has a 13.3% field of view, then aren't I surrendering the other 346.7 degrees of potential activity? That's purposely selecting only 3.7% of everything that's out there. It's a good idea but I'm not that lucky nor that good.

 

 

 

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Explorer

One experiment that I did in order to better understand the capabilities of my thermal imager was to video record (using regular video camera) a forested area during day time at 50 ft, 100 ft, 150 ft, etc (I used a long measuring tape to get the exact distances).

I set up the video on a tripod, and I walked to each tree at the different intervals.

Then at night, I set the thermal imager on the same tripod location, and walked to each tree distance (and hid behind the trees).  I tested the thermal imager with white hot and black hot (I don't really care much for the red hot feature).

 

I learned several things from this test:

1) That the image captured in my thermal imager appears much closer and larger than the regular video.  That was expected because my thermal has a 35 MM lens but not my video camera. 

2) I was clearly able to detect and identify anything human size up to 150 ft away in total darkness. At 200 ft away, I could detect clearly but identification was more difficult.

3) White hot setting was the best for details on clothing and trees.

 

My conclusion was that I should clearly be able to detect and identify any BF approaching my camp within 150 ft using my thermal imager, even if hiding among trees and peaking.

 

I have done tests at 2,000 - 3,000 ft (looking at cattle), and all I get is a white hot or black hot blob with 4 legs.  So, I can't reliable identify animals that far.

 

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SWWASAS
5 hours ago, wiiawiwb said:

Interesting. If my thermal can detect a chipmunk, shouldn't it be able to detect a sasquatch peeking around a tree if I catch it in a sweep? The scan or sweep method is how I detected the chipmunks in the first place. The red hot jumped right out.

 

Here's my concern with the still-picture method. When I'm out in the woods, a sasquatch can approach me from any direction in the 360 degrees around me. If I focus on one slice, which in my case the thermal has a 13.3% field of view, then aren't I surrendering the other 346.7 degrees of potential activity? That's purposely selecting only 3.7% of everything that's out there. It's a good idea but I'm not that lucky nor that good.

 

 

 

You expect to catch a peeking BF when you are sweeping in a rapid pan of the camera?    Perhaps you need to get a buddy to peek at you while you are panning  the camera and compare that to a video segment in which you hold the camera still and the buddy peeks.   I will bet you that the results of that experiment will support my suggestion.    At least give that experiment a try before rejecting my suggestion.     One commonality of most of the hoax videos is that the hoaxers keep cameras  moving constantly and you never get a good look at the guy in the costume. They do that on purpose.        I did not suggest that you never move the camera but at least hold it still long enough  (3 or 4 seconds)  to see something move as you move it from place to place.  It is pure chance anyway that you happen to be looking in the right direction when the BF peeks.   In many cases I hear them moving but never catch them peeking as they move from tree to tree.     Certainly if you do hear a low thudding movement point your camera that direction.      I got my one and only BF picture by pointing the camera at a the last noise direction and got one popping up to look at me.   They go down on all 4s too if there are no large trees to use for cover.          A chipmonk bouncing around in the foreground is way different than a large face peeking around a tree momentarily a hundred yards out.      .  

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wiiawiwb

In the end, the thermal's limiting feature is a 13 degree FOV. It is going to be pure luck that I happen to hold the thermal within that narrow FOV for some period of time and catch a peek from behind a tree.  Admittedly, my time with the thermal is limited but I would be relatively confident it would catch a sasquatch slightly peeking out. It's going to jump out in red as I sweep, pan, or scan the area.

 

In the area I go, I don't contemplate any shot at 100 yards out. The woods are simply too dense. 

 

I'll definitely give it a try but will be very surprised that a still thermal will catch more shots than one continuously scanning.

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Explorer

Attached are some of the results of my testing.  I extracted photos from the thermal imager videos to better illustrate.

 

First photo is at 150 ft comparing white hot and black hot.  You could tell that this is a person wearing clothing.

I don't show closer photos, because of privacy.

 

Second thru 4th photos were in Siskiyous.  We were testing the idea of having 2 guys at one end of the lake playing music/making lots of noise, while I sat in hiding with my FLIR at the other end of the small lake.

Distance between us was about 525 ft (based on Google Earth).  

Using black hot at that distance, the figures look human but you can't tell much.

With zoom and white hot, I can tell they are wearing clothes (jackets and pants) but I still can't tell who is Paul or Andre.

 

The last photo is the one looking down at cows in a meadow about 950 ft away (as measured in Google Earth after I took the video).  I knew they were cows (seen them before sunset) and was just testing.

My statement in my previous post was incorrect (on testing the FLIR at 2,000 to 3,000 ft away) on cows - bad memory!  The distance was only about 950 ft.

This thermal video was very disappointing, because I was getting only blobs for creatures with big thermal signatures.

You could see them moving and you could detect the 4 legs, but you could not tell what they were.

These photos show that the limit of my FLIR is somewhere between 500 ft and 950 ft for identification of type of animal. 

 

But, I agree with Wiiawiwb, my intent in using the FLIR was for closer distances to camp < 300 ft. 

 

The lake experiment is promising, and we might try it again. But we need to stay up all night.

That night, after we went to bed ~11 PM, we recorded footfalls close to camp in our audio recorder after 2 AM.

 

 

Slide1.JPG

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Slide5.JPG

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SWWASAS
14 hours ago, wiiawiwb said:

In the end, the thermal's limiting feature is a 13 degree FOV. It is going to be pure luck that I happen to hold the thermal within that narrow FOV for some period of time and catch a peek from behind a tree.  Admittedly, my time with the thermal is limited but I would be relatively confident it would catch a sasquatch slightly peeking out. It's going to jump out in red as I sweep, pan, or scan the area.

 

In the area I go, I don't contemplate any shot at 100 yards out. The woods are simply too dense. 

 

I'll definitely give it a try but will be very surprised that a still thermal will catch more shots than one continuously scanning.

My suggestions seem to be unwelcome but like Explorer perhaps you need to do some experimentation with a human subject peeking around trees.    That gives you experience using the gear on a near BF size subject and allows you to develop techniques that work for you.     I lost opportunity for some really interesting stuff because I was unfamiliar with some new gear.  I hate to see that happen to someone else.     I asked the forum member that has the plot watcher pictures if he wants to share them.   They show what I am saying better than I can explain.    They also show the peeking behavior one should expect from BF.    So far he has chosen not to release them and may not want to now.    I think they show BF behavior that has been talked about but never documented.   

Edited by SWWASAS

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Catmandoo

Explorer,  was your FLIR unit handheld or on a tripod?.

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wiiawiwb
6 hours ago, SWWASAS said:

My suggestions seem to be unwelcome but like Explorer perhaps you need to do some experimentation with a human subject peeking around trees.    That gives you experience using the gear on a near BF size subject and allows you to develop techniques that work for you.     I lost opportunity for some really interesting stuff because I was unfamiliar with some new gear.  I hate to see that happen to someone else.     I asked the forum member that has the plot watcher pictures if he wants to share them.   They show what I am saying better than I can explain.    They also show the peeking behavior one should expect from BF.    So far he has chosen not to release them and may not want to now.    I think they show BF behavior that has been talked about but never documented.   

 

Your suggestions are always welcome. Glad to have them and I said I would give them a try.

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