Camera and Video Systems

A researcher studies a computer display during an experiment

NEES@Nevada offers researchers a variety of options for viewing and recording tests in our Large Scale Structures Lab.


FlexTPS, or Telepresence,  is a software system designed to enable the remote viewing and robotic control of video via a web browser. You can access and login to FlexTPS@University of Nevada, Reno from any location.


Webcasting is available for both seminars and experimental tests. Webcasts of tests can include background sounds of the test and experimenter comment, via microphone. Our webcast hardware includes:

  1. Windows XP computer
  2. Two wireless crane cameras
    • Housing with hook for crane
    • PZT Camera
    • 900 MHz FM wireless 500mw A/V transmitter
    • Ultra small 900MHz receiver
    • UPS
  3. Axis PZT camera
  4. Sony camcorder
  5. AVerMedia AVerVision VP-1 document camera
  6. Four-channel AV switch
  7. AXIS 241Q 4-channel video encoder


The lab has a digital video recording system with the following components:

  1. Four Sony BRC-300 robotic color video cameras
    • Four BRBK303 optical multiplex cards
    • Four Sony BRU-300 optical multiplex units
    • One Sony RM-BR300 remote control unit
  2. Four Focus FireStore FS-2 DTE DV studio disk recorders
  3. GPS SMPTE time code generators
  4. Computer with four FireWire connections
  5. Four-feed video monitor
  6. Video Monitor with switched feeds
  7. Axis 241Q four-channel video encoder

The four Sony cameras connect via a fiber cable to the optical multiplex units. Outputs from these units provide video to the four DVRs and the Axis encoder, which feeds flexTPS. The GPS SMPTE time code generator provides time code to the DVRs and the DAS for coordinated display of data and video. The Sony remote control unit is used to control the pan, tilt and zoom of the cameras.

Time-lapse photography

In time-lapse photography a series of images, taken at regular intervals, is used to create a video showing motion faster than real time. This allows for the creation of video of long term projects, such as the construction phase of a large project.

The system components are:

  • Two Canon EOS 450D digital SLR cameras, each with a Sigma EX, 24 mm, F/1.8 wide-angle lens.
  • Twp Windows XP computers with USB port
  • Two licenses of GBTimelapse software

GBTimelapse software allows for automation of the time-lapse acquisition process, allowing configuration of daily start and stop times and sleep days, to reduce the volume of unneeded picture data.

The cameras are presently placed in the Northeast and Southeast corners of the lab to allow for full coverage of the lab and to provide redundant coverage for the main part of the lab, including the shake tables.

Other camera/video equipment

The lab also has the following equipment available:

  • Canon EOS 350D with an 18-55 mm zoom lens, saving data to a 2 GB compact flash card
  • Two Sony HDR-XR500 HD camcorders with GPS tags, saving data to an internal hard drive or Memory Stick Pro Duo. Featuring two-hour battery life and wired remote control recording.
  • Two Sony HDR-CX560 camcorders, with GPS tags saving data to an internal flash drive or SD memory card. Featuring two-hour battery life and wired remote control recording.
  • Nine GoPro HD Hero cameras. These HD camcorders were purchased for use on the shake tables, with 4 of them being modified for remote triggering. Their variety of mounts, rugged case, and wide (107 degree) viewing angle make them ideal for tight spaces or close to a sample. These cameras save data to an SD card, and have a 2 hour battery life that is extended by the auto power off feature, when not recording.

We also have four professional, two high-quality and several other assorted tripods for mounting camera and camcorders. We also have several clamp mounts for mounting lighter cameras to wall beams and other locations.