Let me state from the start, I am not the purveyor of all knowledge when it comes to FLIR operations. There are still mysteries I’ve been unable to solve, like why Color 1 works, but here are some tips and observations that may be helpful.
Dealing with FLIR camera operations in search and rescue can be a challenging experience. It does take sometime before you can get comfortable with manipulating your camera to get the best possible results.
And it takes flight experience to best understand what is happening in your search area. For example, here in North Carolina with our suburban development, I’ve become an expert at spotting utility access covers and deer at night using FLIR.
There is seemingly no shortage of targets in our woods. Oh, what I would not give for someone to go missing in an open field.
In the video above I show the difference between some of the settings I commonly use when searching for a missing person. More information on what isotherm settings I use can be found in this post.
The primary settings I’ve found helpful are setting the isotherms on our Zenmuse XT FLIR camera and then using white hot, black hot, and color 1 palettes.
For example, here is a controller screen capture showing some targets popping out using the color 1 palette.
And here is an example of a human who does not appear on the FLIR at all. Look at the woman in the left of the visual image and she is nearly invisible in the FLIR image.
The FLIR camera is good but not perfect. It attempts to measure heat signatures of objects based on the range of temperatures you set your camera to find.
In the example above, our well bundled up dog walker doesn’t appear as a target in our heat range for two reasons.
The first is she is well bundled up and not showing much of an external heat signature.
The second is she is not active and not generating a lot of extra heat.
On a search and rescue, a person who is not generating a lot of heat, hiding under vegetation, or bundled up like this lady is, may be nearly impossible to find using the FLIR.
There is no one perfect palette to use for every situation.
While I’ve practiced and tried all of the ones available on the XT FLIR camera, the two I go to the most are black hot and white hot.
Here is an example of each palette with the black hot version on top.
And here is a version using the color 1 palette.
The color 1 palette can really make targets pop in the isotherm range you’ve set but it will not give you the range of colors you would see from light yellow to red or pink.
However, using the color 1 palette can give you a quick look at targets that you may want to take a closer look at using just the black hot or white hot palettes.
In fact here is an example of the color 1 palette in action with human targets.
Please watch the video above for a complete review of the issues I’ve raised in this quick post. I could go on for a long time on these issues but wanted to try and be as brief as possible here.
If you have any questions or feedback, please use the form below to reach me.