Make an infrared webcam

IR webcam hack

First off — don’t go getting all Silence of the lambs on us, aight? But if you’ve got some legitimate, non-creepy reason you want to record video in infrared, Geoff Johnson’s gonna show you how to do it. He’s gutting a fairly generic USB camera made by Sweex, and is careful to note which steps are Sweex-specific and which are not. You should be able to get this working with any ol’ USB cam you’ve got lying around with possible slight modifications.

80 thoughts on “Make an infrared webcam

  1. For those people out there who are like me and can’t seem to find any negatives around the house, a small piece of your least-favorite vhs tape will work too. The image is very dark, though I’m not sure if that’s because of the vhs tape or the camera.

  2. Try looking on the back of the $5-$10-$20-$50-$100. Get an infrared Heat Lamp (lots of infrared)Kinda warm…..would be nice in winter :) Without infrared filter added(exposed negative)The sky and clouds look cool….colors are a mix of VISIBLE & INFRARED. Did someone mention Bikini’s (shame on you) :)

  3. If you have a Logitech Quickcam Express, as I have, there is no need to modify it, since it already shows IR light. Just point your TV remote or any kind of remote at the camera and you will see a white light that isn’t visible to our eyes. Magical!

  4. hi everyone. this is a great hack.
    before i tried removing the ir filter, i tried to catch the remote control ir light. and i was successfull.
    next i opened the camera (mustek gsmart mini 3), and checked out for the ir filter. but i didnt found that. the camera has a red lens without any green like filter. it looks like this camera hasnt the ir filter. any comment?

  5. useful application???
    I have a gas station and am trying to video license plates. the biggest problem is glare in the camera. wide dynamic camera’s are expensive and still only partially effective. if i set up an IR camera with IR lights for night and a visible light filter would this eliminate the glare problem and give a clear picture of the license plate? any help in this area would be appreciated>

  6. Sounds really cool, I tried it and I ruined one webcam I think a stupid Qcam which I found in the garbage and while trying to separate the lens and a rubber ring with a knife I cut my finger and I can see the bone…
    So I’ll call it a day and I’ll retry it tomorrow

  7. hello every one. i did this hack with a video camera and it whent really wel except its really blury and i was wondering why i mean when i zoom in its ok but i really dont want to zom in becouse then i only see really zoomed in things so please help if you know whats wrong becouse i have no clue so please help thank you :)

  8. Dave: Most digital cameras let a bit of IR through, but not very much. The idea with removing IR-blocking lens is to increase the amount of light, so you get a much better picture.

    gamex_ultra: That red lens is probably the IR filter. They’re not always blue/green. But they’re probably always something other than clear.

    john: You’re missing the point completely. Perhaps you forgot what site you were browsing?

    I took the IR-blocking filter out of my Fiji 6900z. I had to get a custom peice of glass cut to replace the filter. Most people probably will if you want correct focusing. I found the best place to get it cut was at a watch repairer.

    I have some photos in the Infra-red section of my photo gallery: http://photography.soupisgoodfood.net

  9. Errr.
    Excellent and all that.
    But im an idiot and somehow managed to do this by ACCIDENT.
    my webcams really cheap and doesnt even have the brand written on it.
    anyway, one day i was using it and noticed that half was kinda, doubled up and light in the corner. thought something was stuck behind the lense and took it off.
    the IR filter mustve fallen off because when i shoved it back on my camera is now IR all the time!
    Took me a week to figure out what happened heheh. anyone know how to get some sort of filter back on so i dont look like a scary albino all the time?
    thepirateferret(at)yahoo(dot)com
    if anyone knows.
    cheeers.

  10. Bought a cheap ClickSmart 310 dual cam just to see what it was. It worked ok with QC Express drivers – so go figure.

    But image quality was worse than expected – soft focus and flare. Disassembled and discovered that one side of the IR filter had a fine-textured pebbled surface (excess glue?) After replacing with black film squares, the images are … strange … but much sharper.

    The 310 is fixed-focus, however, it looks like the designers provided an option to assemble it as adjustable-focus. If you can break through the locking glue without damaging the lens barrel, and if you then snip off a tang and add a drop of glue to another location, it still looks stock, but is adjustable.

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