Lights, camera, action…

Jan. 15, 2014
Last month, my brother-in-law told me that his daughter was about to embark on a degree course in photography.

Last month, my brother-in-law told me that his daughter was about to embark on a degree course in photography. Being the kind soul that I am, I decided that by way of inspiring her, I would give the young lady a year's subscription toAmerican Cinematographer magazine.

For those of you unfamiliar with this publication, the magazine is directed towards those involved in the film industry. Inside the publication, numerous articles are devoted towards how one particular has lit and filmed some of Hollywood's latest motion pictures. As well as being entertaining, each article provides insightful information about the best lenses, cameras and types of lighting required to create a specific on-screen ambiance.

LikeAmerican Cinematographer, Vision Systems Design also aims to educate our audience. In each issue, we feature many articles on how systems integrators have used OEM components to build automated machine vision systems. To develop these articles, our editorial team often visits and interviews designers to gain insight into how such systems have been implemented.

On one such visit, our European Editor, Dave Wilson visited a company in England in the hopes of developing such a story. After interviewing many of the engineers at the plant, scribbling furiously, our Editor was rather pleased. Just before leaving, however, the Managing Director (MD) of the company approached our Editor with some news.

"I really did not like the last article you ran in the magazine," he espoused. Somewhat taken aback, Dave asked the MD about the article to which he referred. After the MD highlighted the article in question, Dave was even more horrified. It was one that he had written! In fact, the magazine containing the article in question had been passed around to everyone in the engineering department all of whom agreed with the MD.

Being the ultimate professional, Dave just had to know what was wrong with the article. "This," the MD pointed out, "is the worst way to light such a product to gain the best feature contrast. How can anyone expect to light a system like this and obtain a correct result after processing the image?"

Designing the system in such a manner could not be blamed on our poor reporter and neither could his correct reporting of the system's design. Needless to say the article in question was not liked because of incorrect technical reporting, but the implementation of the solution.

Upon hearing this news, I was overjoyed! The magazine had been passed around the engineering department for all to read. UnlikeAmerican Cinematographer, however, you can subscribe to our magazine free of charge at

Of course, you can always write to me if you have any comments with any tips or tricks or comments on any design implementations you feel could be improved. Just do not blame our editors or myself in the way they have been implemented!

About the Author

Andy Wilson | Founding Editor

Founding editor of Vision Systems Design. Industry authority and author of thousands of technical articles on image processing, machine vision, and computer science.

B.Sc., Warwick University

Tel: 603-891-9115
Fax: 603-891-9297

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