Selecting the Proper Telescoping Pole Camera Design

An integral part of all ZistosHD portable video systems is the telescoping pole on which our cameras are fastened.  Our poles are offered in two styles  – manual positioning and motorized positioning:

Manual Positioning:

Our “Friction Hinge” design provides for the end of the pole to be positioned manually at an angle of +/- 120 degrees. While easily bent, the hinge maintains the desired angle with a holding force that is strong enough to maintain the camera position, but it still allows the position of the camera to be adjusted by “nudging” the assembly against a stationary object or structure. The entire pole can be rotated to allow the camera to pan 360 degrees around an area. The friction hinge is protected with a rubber boot that prevents dirt and debris from entering the assembly. This design is best suited for an open environment, or when the access / entry point of the area to be inspected is large enough to accommodate the size of the camera assembly. It is also best used where the camera tilt position does not need to be continually adjusted. The advantages of this pole design are that it is usually lower in cost, uses less battery power, and is lighter in weight than the motorized poles.

Motorized Positioning:

The camera angle of our motorized pole is controlled remotely using the keypad on the pole handle or using the touchscreen display on the included tablet. The camera can be positioned at an angle of +/- 120 degrees at a speed of articulation controlled by the user.  The gearhead motor is designed with a special slip-clutch that protects the motor against mechanical shock, if the motor is back driven by a camera head being pushed back when mounted to the motorized assembly. Like the above friction hinge pole, the motorized pole can be rotated to allow the camera to pan 360 degrees. The advantages of this design are that it allows inspection of areas with narrow openings that only allow the camera to be inserted in its smallest footprint orientation (usually 0 degrees, positioned straight); or when the application requires inspection of a broad area and constant adjustments to the camera position are required.

Problems with 360 Degree Video Pole Cameras:

There are some systems that are available from other manufacturers, which use poles that offer no articulation. The reason for this is that they use cameras that provide 360-degree imaging and claim that no panning of the camera is required. This in practice is problematic because of several issues that impact image quality to a significant extent. One of the main problems is that generating even illumination in a dark area is not easily achieved. This creates dark areas in the inspection location and limits the image details that can be observed by the inspector. The ZistosHD product line uses traditional camera optics on their cameras. The traditional video cameras used in the ZistosHD system produce a bright beam of light that is bore-sighted with the field of view of the camera and will always produce a usable image regardless of orientation. The other issue has to do with image resolution and zoom capabilities. The 360-degree cameras are limited to using only digital zoom using software processing. Digital zoom reduces the resolution of an image when you zoom in. This means that the bigger the image gets on your screen; the less detail is observable. The ZistosHD systems have optical zoom cameras available that allow the user to zoom into image details without losing any image resolution. In addition, ZistosHD offers thermal imaging options, which are not available with 360 degree systems.

ZistosHD poles are lightweight, carbon fiber and are available in lengths from 2’ to 30’. The sections that telescope in and out can be locked into position with collars that are turned by hand. All ZistosHD camera heads and pole are interchangeable, so a system can be equipped with different add-ons and attachments to address varied application needs.

Whatever your application – tactical surveillance, urban search and rescue, vehicle/cargo search, or industrial inspection – please call us for more information or to set up a no-obligation in-person or virtual product demonstration.

5 ways ZistosHD Industrial Inspection Systems Make Confined Space Operations Safer and More Efficient

ZistosHD Industrial Inspection equipment is designed to help make confined space entries safer and more efficient. This is accomplished by allowing a single individual to perform a visual inspection of a confined space, without the need to perform a potentially dangerous confined space entry that would require a second worker to fill the role of attendant. If, upon completing a confined space inspection it is determined that a confined space entry is required, these systems can also be used to increase safety. The system can be used by the OSHA mandated, confined space entry attendant who remains outside of the space, to visually observe the confined space entrant.

ZistosHD blends in wireless, high definition (1080P) video, with a system configuration that facilitates remote access into difficult to access or dangerous locations. High capacity, extended life, rechargeable batteries will keep the system operational for up to 10 hours. When power is drained, a battery can easily be switched out. Also available are optional, specialty cameras with thermal imaging and optical zoom capabilities.

Features and Benefits of ZistosHD Industrial Inspection Systems:

1) It is not necessary to enter a confined space in order to do a visual inspection of conditions.

The first step of any maintenance/repair operation is a visual inspection of the environment and conditions of a space. With a ZistosHD Industrial Inspection System you are able to inspect interior conditions of a confined space – from outside the space. Whether the confined space is a tanker truck, rail tanker, storage vessel, or underground vault, these systems keep workers away from many of the confined space hazards that can cause injury and death. With the use of 1080p, 10X and 30X Optical Zoom HD Cameras these kits can help pick out any hazards, structural issues, cracks, corrosion, delamination, contaminants or foreign objects that may be present.

2) If an entry is necessary, advance intelligence has been provided about conditions and hazards. 

If a confined space entry is required to remedy a problem, the entrant has advanced knowledge to potential hazards and conditions in the space. In addition, the entrant will know in advance of entry, what materials and tools may be required to attend to the issue. This allows for a faster, more efficient maintenance/repair operation reducing time in the confined space as much as possible and potentially reducing the number of times a confined space entry needs to be conducted.

3) The same ZistosHD system can then be used to monitor the entrant.

If the confined space entry is necessary, you can use the same ZistosHD to visually assess the wellbeing and progress of the entrant.

Many confined space accidents occur when an entrant is injured or overcome by hazards such as a toxic atmosphere. In many instances, additional injuries and fatalities occur from would be rescuers who fall victim to the same hazard after going into the space to investigate. Individuals tasked with monitoring the wellbeing of the entrant can respond quickly to visual conditions, such as an entrant collapsing or becoming non-responsive. In addition to the video monitoring, the system is also equipped with audio capabilities.

4) The wireless video images can be viewed by others. 

The digital video signal that is produced by the ZistosHD system can be viewed by the operator as well as other work associates. These other viewers would need to be in proximity to the wireless signal and be equipped with their own display system. In addition, the system can be configured with a wireless bridge option that allows the real-time video to be streamed onto a company wide network, or even a cellular connection. This allows an individual anywhere in the world to view real-time inspection video on a computer system or mobile device that has internet access.

5) Cloud Based Storage is available for archival purposes as well as instant sharing, no matter the physical location of the viewer. 

Captured images and video clips can automatically be uploaded to cloud based storage for later review, or for archival purposes. The system display can be configured to transition to a secondary network with internet access when the camera system is turned off. The system will then automatically upload any newly acquired video images, with a time and date stamp, to a cloud storage resource. This allows the inspection images to be reviewed by anyone, anywhere, as long as they have the cloud storage account login information. These images can be downloaded at a later time for inclusion in reports, or other documentation. 

ZistosHD Specialty Tactical Cameras

ZistosHD Tactical Cameras have been designed with the dangers of law enforcement operations in mind. These cameras allow law enforcement to establish “visual dominance”, it allows tactical teams to see their subjects without being seen themselves. This ability gives them a distinct advantage in any tactical mission.

All ZistosHD cameras are modular with all ZistosHD kits and components. This allows the system to be dynamically configured in different ways and allows the systems to be used to maximum benefit in many different tactical situations and environments. They also feature encrypted wireless video streaming. This enables the video to be shared in real-time amongst other team members, or with a command location. If needed, the system can also be used in a wired video mode with the transmitters disabled. The system batteries are rechargeable and have a battery life of up to 10 hours, depending on configuration and use, allowing the system to be used during lengthy missions without the need to worry about system power issues.

Some of the uniquely designed cameras and their capabilities are listed below:

Under Door:

The ZistosHD Under Door Camera (ZDV-HD) is designed to slip under a door and give operators both visual and audio (can be disabled) surveillance into a room during a tactical mission. If the door doesn’t have the necessary quarter inch of door to floor clearance, an air jack is provided in the system to lift the door enough to slip the camera underneath. This special camera actually has 2 cameras recessed within its tongue. One looks forward into the room for a subject and one looks up to check for booby traps or barricades on the back of the door. These two cameras are easily switched between with the push of a button. This camera has IR LEDs to covertly light up a room without being visible to the human eye. The specially designed telescoping pole for this camera facilitates horizontal panning of a room, while the operator remains out of the fatal funnel of the doorway. For long term surveillance operations a cable can be used, allowing the operator to set the camera and view the image from a safer location. This tool is excellent to support jobs that involve a barricaded subject, or to help minimize collateral damage when explosive breaching techniques are utilized. 

Ultra Low-Light:

The ZistosHD Ultra Low-Light Camera (ULC-2.0IR-HD) is a high-definition, 1080P camera. It can see in complete darkness for distances that surpass the range of most other low-light tactical video cameras.  The camera’s IR LEDs are completely invisible to the human eye and allow for team members to covertly search for a hidden subject in potentially dangerous & dark environments. The camera’s internal high gain microphone can be used to listen for the subtle sounds emanating from subjects that are trying to remain hidden. This microphone can be capped using the supplied mic screw when audio surveillance is forbidden. The Ultra Low-Light Camera can be used in any weather event due to its weatherproof housing. With the mic screw installed this camera can be complete submerged in water.

Dual Mode Thermal:

ZistosHD Dual Mode Thermal Camera in Thermal Mode (Left), B&W IR Mode (Right)

The Dual Mode Thermal Camera (THC-51D-HD) is a single camera module that has 2 cameras within. Not only is there a thermal camera to look for heat signatures, but there is also a black & white IR camera to gain more detail. This is an important capability because thermal images are great at detecting the presence of individuals in dark environments, but the images can sometimes be ambiguous. The dual mode video capability gives you the best of both worlds. The operator can switch between the two modes by changing the illumination levels of the camera without the need to change any components. This dual camera is ideally suited to look for subjects in wooded areas, bushes, attics, crawl spaces and other dangerous, dark or unknown environments. The thermal resolution for this camera is 320×256, which generates a meaningful thermal image. This is unlike than most thermal fusion cameras on the market today that offer very limited thermal resolutions and are ineffective when used in thermal only mode. The Dual Mode Thermal like most ZistosHD cameras has an internal microphone for audio surveillance and can be turned off by installing the provided mic screw when audio surveillance is forbidden.

IR Zoom:

ZistosHD 10X IR Zoom Camera – Same Scene – 1X Zoom on Left, 10X Zoom on Right

The 10X IR Optical Zoom Camera (WPC-2.5ZIR-HD) is a high resolution, 1080P camera with the ability to zoom in, optically, 10 times without losing ANY resolution (which would be the case for digital zoom cameras). This allows the operator to see greater detail, at greater distances. It is ideally suited for looking down from high rises, viewing large void spaces for subjects or and more distant surveillance operations. The IR Zoom is also provided with self-illuminating IR LEDs but isn’t a strictly black and white camera. This camera operates as a color camera until the IR illuminators are turned on. At that point, the picture transitions to a low-light sensitive, black and white image. This camera housing is weatherproof and submersible up to the ZistosHD handle. This camera is also audio capable and is provided with the mic screw when audio surveillance is forbidden.