Video Privacy Masking is generally used to block out specific areas of a video image. This is done by changing the video image in a defined area to black out or obscured the video image. Some cameras can be purchased with built-in video privacy masks, or you can buy a stand-alone in-line video type like the VPM-1 manufactured by FM SYSTEMS, INC.

These privacy masking units are also being used for other more unique applications in the industrial marketplace. In the lumber industry at saw mills these units are being used to create a thin vertical and horizontal cross-hair video overlay pattern on the video image that is used to position logs on a saw to minimize cutting scrap. The saw operator views the log on a video monitor when it enters the saw, then with remote controls he adjusts the position of the log to line up with the cross-hairs by viewing the monitor.

Another industrial use of privacy masking is in the steel manufacturing industry. In this application the privacy mask is used to prevent the DVR connected to a camera that views highly heated steel from failing. When Steel is removed from the furnace it is extremely hot and that heat steel gives off incredible amounts of IR “Infra Red” radiation. Many video cameras are very sensitive to this frequency of light. Consequently the video signal received by the DVR is higher than the DVR can accept. Any video signal with a luminance level over 120 IRE units is likely to cause failure of the DVR. That small white hot spot on the video image will cause complete loss of the video image. Installation of the privacy mask unit between the camera and the DVR with adjustment of the masking area to cover the steel hot spot prevents the DVR from losing the video image and allows the safety personal to view the steel production at all phases of the process by video camera.

Of course the primary use of a video privacy mask is to create an electronic curtain on the video image to black out or obscure any private area and maintain the presumption of privacy within the framing of the camera. It can also be used to prevent the camera from seeing into an adjacent window or in applications such as jails and prisons it can be used to mask out the toilet area inside a holding cell while still providing the needed security in the rest of the area.

There are many other industrial applications waiting to be discovered if you put your mind to it. I’ll bet you can think of a use perhaps in an industry that would be an opportunity for you to make some money and solve a problem at the same time.