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Automatic Scanning for Cameras in Theaters

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the spy-vs.-spy dept.

Movies 352

An anonymous reader writes "A Florida firm claims to have found a solution for the movie industry to prevent bootlegging in theaters. Tom's Hardware carries a story about Trakstar, which demonstrated its 'PirateEye' technology in a Hollywood movie theater to journalists and movie industry representatives: The technology uses light impulses to detect video recording devices. A second component is an audio watermarking system."

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352 comments

Camera detector (0)

mknewman (557587) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787299)

Reminds me of the Thunderbirds puppet shows, they had a Camera Detector in TB1. Red blinking light with a beep tone.

It's another case of life imitating art.

Re:Camera detector (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10787470)

Didn't Duke 3D have a camera in the theater? The first level I think. Hail to the king baby.

Re:Camera detector (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787476)

It's another case of life imitating art.

"Art"?

Re:Camera detector (1)

BabyDave (575083) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787497)

So will they machine-gun the shit out of people they catch with cameras, like Scott Tracy did to the Hood occasionally?

Bootlegging (4, Insightful)

Liselle (684663) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787300)

Ahh yes, the solution to bootlegging in theatres. How much of a problem is this anyway, though? I've seen copies of movies taken by some guy with a camcorder... the audio quality is always lousy, people chatter in the background, and there is invariably some big guy who takes a popcorn break right in the middle of the movie. We won't get into the video aspect, which is dog awful. Sounds like someone solving a non-problem, as usual.

The real issue are those screeners, which they've made some progress with (I hear), and the people who work in the theatres, which will be difficult. I doubt someone getting paid close to minimum wage is going to care about your IP. Watermarking sounds promising.

Re:Bootlegging (1)

iezhy (623955) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787356)

Ahh yes, the solution to bootlegging in theatres

Thats only for the good - this means less poor quality DivX'es on your favorite p2p network :-)

Re:Bootlegging (2, Interesting)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787391)

That's exactly what I was going to say. It's not much different from recording a song off the radio onto your cassette tape. I've actually downloaded music that was obviously recorded in this way. It's simply terrible.

They have done a lot of work to prevent abuse by screeners. As for movie theatre employees, there are a lot of the same issue with quality.

That's nothing... (1)

twoslice (457793) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787397)

...and there is invariably some big guy who takes a popcorn break right in the middle of the movie...

I watched a movie where the fat guy farted when he sat down and it wasn't of the popcorn variety...

Actually, this is meant for inside jobs too (5, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787399)

The equipment is designed to be installed by theater management, and ALWAYS be running. If it's tampered with, a call center is notified. And if any "detections" are made, the same call center is notified, and then a live person makes the decision to notify the local theater's security and management. If it's not tampered with AND a camera detection isn't made, then the audio portion has a watermark that contains the exact theater and time the recording was made. See my post here [slashdot.org] .

Re:Bootlegging (2, Interesting)

Gentoo Fan (643403) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787403)

Sounds like someone solving a non-problem, as usual.

The supposed problem is the supposed cash loss due to piracy, so naturally Hollywood will want theaters to pay for these devides (despite the fact that they could simply be turned off via a small bribe to the theater operator for a particular showing). And with the increased cost will come increased ticket prices. I wonder if movie execs do studies on just how much a movie go'er will pay for a movie. I haven't been in a theater in a few years, so I don't even know how much tickets are these days. Not to mention the price of a simple beverage...

Re:Bootlegging (4, Informative)

Tethys_was_taken (813654) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787404)

There is a very large market for these so called "camera print" movies in Eastern countries like China, Korea and Malaysia. India is just beginning to get onto this. This mostly happens because English movies used to release in these countries a couple of months after the "international" release, and also because the average cost of a VCD/DVD is unbelievably high (singe movie = almost 20% of the average monthly income).

Someone takes a video, uploads it, and soon it's being copied all over the world in tiny shops with 2-3 burners. I suppose this is one of the main problems they are trying to solve.

Re:Bootlegging (2, Funny)

nwbvt (768631) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787431)

"the audio quality is always lousy, people chatter in the background, and there is invariably some big guy who takes a popcorn break right in the middle of the movie."

I take it you have never been to a movie theater. Thats how movies there always are.

Re:Bootlegging (2, Interesting)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787600)

You must be from Oklahoma City or something. While I was stationed there, their main theater in town had the center channel cut out the first time I went there, the AC went out the second time, and the fire alarm went off the third time, cutting out a good four minutes of the movie.

Wall Street Journal: Chinese are Worst Culprits (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10787469)

This week, the "Wall Street Journal [wsj.com] " (WSJ) is making its online articles available for free. The WSJ reports that the Chinese are the worst offenders in terms of piracy of software, music, movies, etc [wsj.com] . 20% of Chinese products are pirated copies.

We should increase the reliability of the anti-bootleg system for theaters by doing nationality profiling. All Chinese nationals entering a theater should be pulled aside and strip searched for recording devices.

But! (3, Funny)

koi88 (640490) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787471)


...people chatter in the background, and there is invariably some big guy who takes a popcorn break right in the middle of the movie.

But you must admit that this gives you the real cinema feeling. If there was a smell of popcorn and artificial butter it would be undistinguishable from a real cinema...

Watermarking sounds promising.

Watermarking? Sounds like something my dog also finds interesting.

Re:Bootlegging (4, Interesting)

ajs (35943) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787489)

Seems to me that the solution is to take a bunch of these bad camcorder recordings and merge them. You should easily be able to compensate for the skew from different seating locations and jitter by comparing 3 or more recordings and establishing a sense of where the screen is in each and what how the screens map to each other.

That blurs the watermarking, can allow you to improve the image quality, remove problems like people standing up and getting in the way, etc.

Audio watermarking is also defeatable. Someone slide an engineer at this company a few k for the specs and you can just use Felton's approach.

This post is not meant to encourage anyone, I'm just trying to point out to the industry (in case they're listening) that an arms race is not a particularly wise course of action. To quote The Hunt For Red October, "this will get out of control."

Re:Bootlegging (2, Insightful)

Angstroem (692547) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787549)

I've seen copies of movies taken by some guy with a camcorder... the audio quality is always lousy [...]
Interestingly, these are -- to my limited experience -- a minority by far. Most copies were of astonishing, yet even DVD, quality which makes me wonder where they came from. The really good quality must come right from the source of distribution, not from the minimum wage guy at the theater.

Speaking of audio watermarking: until proven wrong, I do not believe in *robust inaudible* or inaudible but undetectable watermarking. If it's audible, it might be robust but will certainly spoil the fun or be easy detectable (crackles or similar).

If it's inaudible, I frankly doubt that it will survive a series of filtering and recoding -- or that it's not detectable.

After all, bootlegging cinema movies is a huge market. And they surely pay some people who will know about those techniques and be able to at least obfuscate them to a level where the source can't be tracked back.

All they achieve is getting rid of the average cam guy and the minimum wage bootlegger working at the theater. But those are not the ones who create high-quality bootlegs and also not the ones who have a severe impact on the box office numbers.

Re:Bootlegging (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787653)

I believe the real problems are these...

1. People not wanting to wait for the movie to hit t.v. or DVD.
1a. This may be a result of crowded theatres with bad food, and possibly high ticket prices for a single showing.

2. High DVD prices in some places. Some have it for like $10 each, which is a good price I believe. But when some stores sell DVDs for $20+, will a low income person be willing to pay that much to watch a movie?

This would be good on a backpack (5, Interesting)

stecoop (759508) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787301)

Let's turn this technology around for our use in civil liberties; thus, making the product a threat. I would like to have this in a backpack. Imagine if it could detect a camera from several hundred yards and direct a laser (preferably mounted on a shark) to that camera thwarting intrusive surveillance. Yeah lets see how long until the Men in Black would allow this.

But really, the issue at hand is cameras in theaters. Is the bootleg market that big? I have seen some movies that were recorded with a camcorder and they were funnier to watch the action of recording than the movie. The market has to adjust to the viewing habits; it appears people may want to watch new movies using alternative methods (aka internet). Don't most movies nowadays make more money from DVD sales then the actual movie? I wonder if the movies were released simultaneously to theaters, DVD, video on demand, video of Internet, etc if this would be an issue?

Now lets bring the two views together from paragraph 1 and 2. Just as the public sector adapt to use changing technology, the movie industry needs to adapt to the situation.

Re:This would be good on a backpack (1)

calibanDNS (32250) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787544)

Ok, well while on the point of civil liberties, how long until this is used by law enforcement to discourage video taping of "sensitive areas"? Just a few months ago, a man was arrested in Charlotte, NC [cnn.com] for video taping buildings. Authorities suspected that he was video taping them for terrorist purposes, however there is no evidence linking him to terrorist activities according to Tom Ridge (secretary of Homeland Security). How long will it be before companies are deploying these systems around their campuses? Given, there are not a lot of people walking around with recording devices right now, but in the next decade or so I expect that wearable computing will help the geek crowd slowly move to Neal Stephenson's vision of Gargolyes [amazon.com] .

Maybe I'm just too paranoid, but I'm worried that this technology could be used as a scapegoat to arrest and detain "suspected terrorists" if it catches on.

Re:This would be good on a backpack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10787562)

i agree with you on the movies released to other outlets besides the theatres, i mean i hate going to the movie theatres, the whole experience sucks, they smell odd, the people are annoying, gross, and laugh at the stupidest ass shit which always ruins any movie, and most of all i resent haveing to pay for all the above ... id probably watch more movies as soon as they came out if there were other outlets, usually i see a movie that looks good, but i lose interest and never get around to wanting to see it by the time it hits rental....

Re:This would be good on a backpack (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787602)

Over here in the UK, having something strapped to your back beeping constantly (theres LOTS of cameras over here) would probably just make everyone think your a terrorist.

The bootleg market is no bigger than it was previously, it just spreads faster nowadays.

All it takes is for word to spread about one decent rip, and its worldwide in a couple of hours.

I really like the idea of watermarking movies, random spots and blotches places in the movie appear to be usable, but I'm dubious about the audio aspect of it, audio quality is very fiddly to get right, and its easy to lose fidelity and clarity with just a minor tweak.

Compare this with changing the position of a cloud in the sky during a certain scene.
No real degrigation to the movie, noone notices its wrong, and it will carry through to virtually every dodgy tape out there, almost without caring about the resolution.

All you need is 32 such irrelivant scene modifications per movie and you have 4billion digit ID to play with.

For "inside jobs", too (5, Interesting)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787303)

Looks like it's also being promoted as a tool to prevent employees from doing the pirating themselves: the "PirateEye" camcorder detector and the "TrakStar TVS" audio watermarking system, ostensibly installed by theater management, are apparently connected, and if one is disconnected from the other, loses power, or is otherwise tampered with, TrakStar's call center (a paid service, I'm sure) is notified, which can then make an independent decision to call security: Is the movie supposed to be exhibited now? Is the anti-piracy equipment still intact and functioning? This is in addition to the tracking information that audio watermarking can provide (i.e., to certain theaters and certain times, narrowly identifying "offenders").

You can bet a company like this is angling to position itself to be EVERYWHERE, much like Macrovision - and then, one wonders if "offending" theaters will be punished by, say, having new releases withheld?

http://trakstar.net/solutions.htm [trakstar.net]

Re:For "inside jobs", too (2, Interesting)

irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787486)

Management is in on pirating too. All they have to do is turn the antipirating device off at night when they close at normal hours (incase it logs its own use), then play the movie one more time without it.

Or they can grab the reel and pop it in a telecine machine.

As for watermarking..they do that with video now and we get past it. Doing it with audio is even easier to bypass. All you need is two recordings from seperate theaters to compare against. If you're just doing audio, one can be done with a simple tape recorder plugged into the hearing impaired headphone jack.

Re:For "inside jobs", too (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787568)

Management is in on pirating too. All they have to do is turn the antipirating device off at night when they close at normal hours (incase it logs its own use), then play the movie one more time without it.

The device appears to be intended to be enabled at all times, according to the manufacturer's marketing materials. And "management" might also be at a higher level than the theater itself. Granted, if the entire theater local, regional, and corporate management is "in on it" (unlikely), you could bypass it (but then, why would they have installed it in the first place)?

The system is designed to be monitored 24/7.

Or they can grab the reel and pop it in a telecine machine.

One would presume a theater that has installed this would have a little better security, eh? (And probably wouldn't let their employees bring in telecine machines, who likely don't have them anyway, nor does the theater.)

As for watermarking..they do that with video now and we get past it. Doing it with audio is even easier to bypass. All you need is two recordings from seperate theaters to compare against. If you're just doing audio, one can be done with a simple tape recorder plugged into the hearing impaired headphone jack.

Ok, with two recordings - both needing to be from theaters that DO have the watermarks - and people absolutely dead set on pirating the movie, they'll ALWAYS be able to do it. This is intended to stop casual piracy. (And the watermark is present on the assistive hearing jack; that's the point.)

Re:For "inside jobs", too (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787617)

And the watermark is present on the assistive hearing jack; that's the point.

Yes, that was his point too - he *wants* an audio recording with the watermark present, and that's a good way of getting a good quality recording without having to film the entire movie and then split out the audio track.

Re:For "inside jobs", too (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787645)

Ahh, indeed...I see what he's getting at: making audio-only recordings (a lot easier to do than setting up a camera) so as to have multiple copies to more easily strip the watermark.

The company (naturally) seems convinced that they're immune to this; we'll see.

Re:For "inside jobs", too (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787592)

Doing it with audio is even easier to bypass. All you need is two recordings from seperate theaters to compare against.

They claim it's immune to that...

1st (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10787307)

haha!

Cameras filming cameras (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10787320)

Is this going to affect my ability to bring in and drink beer at the movie theater?

Re:Cameras filming cameras (1)

cei (107343) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787408)

Only if the optics of the bottom of your beer glass match a particular signature. Or you could just go here [drafthouse.com] .

Re:Cameras filming cameras (0)

shufler (262955) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787417)

Yes, but it shouldn't affect your ability to bring a 40 of hard liquor to pour into their multi-gallon beverage holders.

Re:Cameras filming cameras (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10787436)

A 40 of hard liquor? Don't you mean malt liquor?

Re:Cameras filming cameras (1)

shufler (262955) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787576)

No, I don't.

This might be limited to where I live, but in Canada, we can buy 40oz and 60oz hard liquor containers. After looking around, it seems you can buy some liquor in 3L containers (101.442068 US fluid ounces).

I'm not sure how this compares to the Texas Mickey, though you can imagine all the fun you'd have with one of those.

Re:Cameras filming cameras (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10787639)

You Canadians are effed up, man. 40 ouncers of hard liquor. Will wonders never cease.

ZIONIST INFIDELS POISONED ABU AMMAR (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10787325)

jihad!!

And who will pay for this? (1)

KarmaOverDogma (681451) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787336)

If and when it gets used in Theatres?

Ummmnnn.... was that a rhetorical question?

.

Re:And who will pay for this? (1)

shufler (262955) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787441)

Clearly the cost will be passed down to the movie-going public. The increased price of movie tickets and lame candy will be explained away by claiming the rich and powerful stars from Hollywood want more of your money, and for the most part, people will believe this.

Yet another reason to download the screener before the official release date. I mean, purchase the DVD.

Re:And who will pay for this? (1)

Megaweapon (25185) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787445)

Of course movie ticket buyers will pay for it, and I would think that there are still lots of people who would pay $15/ticket to see the latest pile of dung by Ben Stiller or Hugh Grant.

Cant understand (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10787339)

I really really cant understand people content with the quality of these recordings! Its absurdly bad!

Heh... (2, Funny)

krymsin01 (700838) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787340)

PirateEye(TM) detects the covert presence of camcorders in-theater and establishes their precise location without impacting the moviegoer's experience in any way. Yeah, cause you want the pirate to get the movie experience he/she deserves.

Re:Heh... (1)

meganthom (259885) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787477)

Well, first, there's no need to interrupt all the innocent movie goers' enjoyment of the movie, and second, the article pointed out that the cameras can detect cell phones with cameras. It would be possible to be identified as a bootlegger without recording anything. I'd like to think they would check to make sure you weren't just coming from Disney with the kids. But then, maybe the technology only works when the camera is recording. I didn't really understand the subtleties from the article.

Re:Heh... (2, Interesting)

krymsin01 (700838) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787515)

The impression I got was that it sends a pulse of light into the theatre, somehow picking up on the lense of the camera. I'm sure I'm missing something though, because under this model my glasses would set it off probably. Not enough information, but if they published the specs it'd most likely be easy to find holes in their system.

Re:Heh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10787608)

the cameras can detect cell phones with cameras. It would be possible to be identified as a bootlegger without recording anything

I see that as a benefit. If we can throw the morons using cell phones during the movie in jail for a few years, I'm all for it.

least of the problem (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10787343)

i thinx cameras are the lest of the movie industry's worry . try patching up the holes were the screeners are comming from first.

Something I've wanted for years ... (5, Insightful)

torpor (458) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787354)

.. is a brute-force attack against CCD's and other camera optics.

Some sort of electronic/optical flash system that, when activated, overblows CCD's, or otherwise interferes with their operation.

Then I could sell it to guys like this [cnn.com] and make a fortune...

(And before you liberties people get started, I believe I have a right to not get my picture taken, when I want not to get my picture taken..)

Re:Something I've wanted for years ... (1)

micromoog (206608) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787420)

(And before you liberties people get started, I believe I have a right to not get my picture taken, when I want not to get my picture taken..)

That's true. You can stay inside your house whenever you want.

Obligatory Star Trek reference (1)

potus98 (741836) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787458)


ST:TNG Episode 106. When Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton) and Ensign Robin (Ashley Judd [ashley-judd.net] -yummy) develop a strobe-light sequence to counteract the effects of a mind-controlling VR game.

Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10787479)

Rig a small halogen projector bulb to a make-shift heat shield on a baseball cap, and hook it up to the a properly assembled circuit and car battery you carry around in a backpack, or rolling carry-on luggage. Put the switch where you can reach it. Look like a complete freak everywhere you go, insuring everyone will remember you. Especially when you don't want to be picked up on cameras and you turn your gadget on. Remember be careful, spilling acid on yourself, or setting yourself on fire is almost always a bad idea, no matter what MTV might lead you to believe.

Re:Something I've wanted for years ... (2, Informative)

shufler (262955) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787485)

CCDs pickup infrared signals as a bright white spot. All the theaters would have to do is get the movie screen to eminate some infrared, and that's that.

Of course, in that case, there is no monthly service fee to pay Trakstar for their Alarm Force-like service.

ATTENTION MOVIE PATRONS: WE HAVE NOTICED SOMEONE IS USING A CAMERA. TRAKSTAR RECOVERY PERSONELLE HAS BEEN DISPATCHED.

Re:Something I've wanted for years ... (1)

shufler (262955) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787658)

Actually, to verify my claims about the infrared-CCD relationship, you can do this experiment at home (also, it's a good test to see if you actually have a CCD sensor in your camera, instead of a CMOS one):

Just take a TV, VCR, Stereo, or other infrared remote, and shine it at your camera while filming/photographing. If it's infrared, and your camera uas a CCD sensor, you'll see a white dot where the infrared LED is.

I can't remember if this next part is true, or I imagined it, but if room you're in is dark, the CCD will pick up the light from the LED when you shine it on things. Though, you might not notice it, as it would be similar to shining a regular LED that emits visible light around in the dark.

Re:Something I've wanted for years ... (1, Offtopic)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787566)

And before you liberties people get started, I believe I have a right to not get my picture taken, when I want not to get my picture taken.

on your own property? yes you do.

in public? Not a chance in hell.

I already had a nice fight with a jerk that though his "image" was his property in a public place.

It's sad that as a indie documentarian I have to use lawyers and courts against some idiot that saw we were recording, walked behind the subject and into frame and then tried to demand the tape we were shooting with. I was lucky that my DA was smart enough to call 911 the second the guy started talking to us... it also helped that the DP filmed this asshat threatening us.

If you see someone filming, it is YOUR responsibility to get out of the field of view and out of the way same as with someone photographing.

if you are in public, then your public image is public property.

I do not care what you believe, until there is a law that states otherwise, everyone owns your image when you are in public.

Re:Something I've wanted for years ... (1)

torpor (458) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787596)

If you see someone filming, it is YOUR responsibility to get out of the field of view and out of the way same as with someone photographing

Cool, this means that all I need is my 'camera-off' device, and its okay for me to use it any time I want against any camera I want, since I'm simply shielding myself ...

Good to know there is a defense against asshat film-makers who think they have a right to film anything they want, wherever they want..

Re:Something I've wanted for years ... (1)

RedCard (302122) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787636)


Some sort of electronic/optical flash system that ... overblows CCD's, or otherwise interferes with their operation.

So what are you waiting for? I'm pretty sure that this [thinkgeek.com] fits the bill, and it's been out for years.

...get some aluminum foil... (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787656)

...and wrap it around your head, shiny side out. That will protect you against *any* type of camera. You'll become absolutely invisible to cameras. Guaranteed.

PirateEye.... (1, Funny)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787357)

...they misspelled "infrared"

Way to market to idiots.

Re:PirateEye.... (1)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787583)

The next step of the pirate is to put an eye-patch over the lens so it won't be detected

Yarrrrrrrrr .)

It'll be on the internet anyway: Check I2P BT (2, Interesting)

ControlFreal (661231) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787365)

Once the DVD's hit the shelves in any country, the stuff will be on the net anyway.

Sharing it could become easier and safer also: I2P [i2p.net] --- an anonymous onion-routing network --- now has a functional BitTorrent client that functions completely within I2P (tracker, peer-to-peer traffic, everything).

For those on I2P, get it here: http://duck.i2p/i2p-bt/files/i2p-bt-0.1.0.tgz (this URL only works when you're running I2P).

PirateEye in Action (1)

arbi (704462) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787371)

This page [trakstar.net] shows photos of the "PirateEye in Action".

Can anyone figure out what's the deal with the "cyborg eye" man on the right?

Re:PirateEye in Action (1)

hplasm (576983) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787444)

Borg watching Startrek Insurrections.

Re:PirateEye in Action (4, Funny)

micromoog (206608) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787494)

I believe that's a monacle. The guy also has a large canvas bag with "$" marked on it in the seat next to him, under his top hat.

Re:PirateEye in Action (1)

shufler (262955) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787512)

Obviously it's his movie monocle.

That, or he's from the future, blatantly wearing a camera that cannot be detected by the system, on his face.

Re:PirateEye in Action (1)

pklinken (773410) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787542)

maybe he's wearing a monocle ? It looks quite unnatural though.. now im getting curious too

Is this similiar .. (1)

macaulay805 (823467) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787373)

to the "anti-sniper" technology Sony was selling at the DHS/AT-FP convensions? (I've been googling for the last 5 minutes, cant find a link damnit)

What it does, when the "anti-sniper" camera detects a multiple array lenses (minimum 2) the area will flash a green circle (similiar to the night vision color) around the suspected target.

From what I understand, its available to the public market as well!

Great technology. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10787376)

Now can they invent some kind of device that detects shitty movies? A shitty footage detector could be used during shooting and editing to stop shitty movies before they start.

The companion shitty dialogue filter would be indispensible as well.

It still won't work (3, Funny)

bigjnsa500 (575392) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787381)

This still won't work because all the good movies rips come from France or England.

Vive le France! (1)

twoslice (457793) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787446)

Le Halo3 beta est prés mes amis! un-deux-trois Le bittorrent!

How about... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10787384)

They move mass DVD fabrication into the US where they can really punish people for making a second run to sell on street corners for a couple bucks? Seriously, the brown dots are pretty fucking gay. They are QUITE conspicuous, and with movie prices being what they are, someone like me really needs to take a look at exactly what is to be gained from seeing a movie a week (for about 10 years). And now they want to add strobes and tones? Are they trying to get me to pirate movies, so I can have the satisfaction of putting lying painters out of work? Cause if that's they genious plan, they're pretty close to realizing their goal.

How the hell would this work. (4, Insightful)

the_weasel (323320) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787386)

Okay, reading the scanty information they provide seems to indicate that it does its trick by bathing the room with IR light.

Somehow the camera is supposed to respond to this. My knee jerk reaction was that all you needed to do was put tape over the remote control sensor and you would be good to go.

But they would undoubtedly have thought to create a system more resistant to spoofing than that. So I am stumped. I assume they are relying on some response from the lens? The feature list says it can't be fooled by pinhole cameras or even filters on the lenses, so thats what I base my guess on.

Anyone with more information care to speak up?

Which i thought was pretty funny. Read

Re:How the hell would this work. (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787519)

one is left wondering if you ever read the actual article...

Re:How the hell would this work. (1)

the_weasel (323320) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787561)

One would be right. I missed the little story link, and only saw the link to the company website.

Thanks....

Re:How the hell would this work. (1)

the_weasel (323320) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787598)

Except of course, that the article in Tom's hardware is just as useless, and only quotes the website. Smartass.

So we are back to my original post. So, how the hell does this work? Does it harness the miracle powers of Fudge?

Re:How the hell would this work. (1)

NineteenSixtyNine (775581) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787552)

Its probably looking for light frequency changes when the IR bounces off a lens, then it would be fairly simple to pinpoint the source of the bounce. To beat this system you don't need to spoof against being detected, you need to sneak in a lot of lenses to make it look like there's 50-60 cameras in the theater; that would basically make the technology useless.

Re:How the hell would this work. (1)

GrBear (63712) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787559)

IR light affects the CCD pickup, not the remote sensor.

But your welcome to tape over the lens as well, that would really foil them then.

Re:How the hell would this work. (4, Informative)

ControlFreal (661231) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787571)

Somehow the camera is supposed to respond to this. My knee jerk reaction was that all you needed to do was put tape over the remote control sensor and you would be good to go.

Apparently, the system strobes the theater with a low-intensity light (visible wavelength, it says on their page (strange)), and records images of the public in the IR range.

It seems that camera-lenses reflect that light, and that these reflections can be recorded.

Let's suppose, for the sake of argument, that you would still like to record your movie in the cinema, even though getting it through suprnova is much easier. Then the only thing you need to make sure is that your camera doesn't reflect light in the IR spectrum. A good lens-coating (having a broad stopband in IR) could do that. Using a very small lens (pin-hole camera) could do it.

Beware: They list that the system can't be fooled by, say, pin-hole cameras for two reasons: Marketing, and FUD. I don't believe, not for a moment, that one can detect a pin-hole camera like this.

What the system should do... (5, Insightful)

stubear (130454) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787423)

...if it detects a video camera in the theaters is stop the film, turn the lights on, and make an announcement that there is a person in the theater who is illegally recording the movie and this is the cause for the delay. The movie will commence once the perpetrator has been identified and leaves the theater. Come to think of it, this system should search for obnoxious kids and cell phones too.

oh no!! (1)

bizmark22 (823743) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787439)

as long as they don't find my well place toilet voyeur cams i'll be okay with this! So does this mean popcorn and soda will now be $15 a pop instead of just $5??

Rumor has it... (1)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787440)

The technology uses light impulses to detect video recording devices. A second component is an audio watermarking system.

...that the "detection mechanism" consists of a bad tempered "theater cop" who synchronizes his eye movement with the light impulses to scan the theater for cameras. When a camera is detected by the system, it triggers off a series of unique 4-letter word sequences which serves as the audio watermarking component of the mechanism.

Remember Michael's Censored Dupe! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10787450)

Fuehrer Michael forgot to censor one link to the Google Dupe story: Google Cranks Up Index [slashdot.org] . Google News has a few words: http://news.google.com/news?q=google cranks index slashdot [google.com] . People need to mirror this so that his fascism can be resisted. Here's a coral cache mirror [nyud.net] . This is a sad day for Slashdot; never before has an entire article been pulled.

Very Bad Idea™ (0, Troll)

Pan T. Hose (707794) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787451)

First of all, detection of a recording device is impossible as long as the recorder does not send anything, just like it's impossible to detect any kind of passive eavesdropping, notwithstanding the quantum cryptography where by the very definition of measurement any observation is inherently active. Second of all, I fail to see how is it going to help "scan" for cameras set by the cinema operators themselves, for no one records a movie for serious bootleg operations using his camera phone in a crowd for Christ's sake. Third of all, I refuse to go to amy cinema which "uses light impulses" which can be potentially damaging to my poor eye sight, nor will I risk an epileptic attack. In short, they propose a dangerous technical solution to the social problem addressing not the right people which they should address in the first place. In order to introduce said pointless and dumb technology, they are going to raise the proces even further, making people even less likely to pay for a movie. In other words, it's a Very Bad Idea.(TM)

PirateEye 2.0 (1)

RandoX (828285) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787455)

...will scan for people bringing outside drinks and snacks into the theater.

Re:PirateEye 2.0 (1)

tiredwired (525324) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787490)

PirateEye 3.0 will scan for bad movies and refund your money before you waste 2 hours of your life.

Re:PirateEye 2.0 (1)

Estrellita (755015) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787634)

Naw, to detect outside drinks and snacks, they will use RFID tags. Your paranoia is justified, yes, but don't discount use of multiple privacy-violating technologies at once.

light impulses (1)

ralphclark (11346) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787475)

The technology uses light impulses to detect video recording devices.

That's a coincidence. My eyes use "light impulses" to see. So do cameras. Are we going to see another stupid patent now: "a method of procuring the location of objects by sensing light impulses"?

10..9...8..7... (3, Interesting)

Manip (656104) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787484)

I am just counting down to the point when someone releases a filter to block all light on this wavelength. You might even be able to make one with stuff you can currently buy at the DIY shop. This would not effect the filming because the light it would filter is not visible. To this 'detector' the camera's lens with the filter would show as a black blob (non-detectable).

This technology will be really easy to block.

Simple solution.. (5, Interesting)

GrBear (63712) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787501)

Why don't the theater owners strategically place high output infrared (LEDs) light sources behind the screens. Since most of the screens are full of holes, it should allow enough infrared light through to severly mess up the image recorded by the camcorders.

For those that don't understand, CCD cameras are highly sensitive to infrared light and will produce a white hotspot. Try it some time with your camcorder.. press a button on a remote while holding it infront of the camera and watch the results in the viewfinder. The higher output the IR, the bigger and more pronounced the hotspot would be.

Re:Simple solution.. (4, Funny)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787633)

Huge scrolling LED sign, behind the screen, that constantly scrolls the message "TAKE YOUR FUCKING CAMERA OUT OF HERE" all through the movie.

really creative ripping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10787523)

Sure is really creative ripping or should i say to steal the layout of their page directly from macromedia, how's that for anti-piracy :)

In Soviet Russia... (-1, Troll)

MetaMarty (38276) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787536)

Theater camera's scan YOU!

Do these people still not understand P2P (1)

asv108 (141455) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787539)

Getting every movie theater in the World to install this technology, thats not going to happen anytime soon. Paying to have this installed in a couple hundred movie theaters, isn't going to make a dent in piracy.

The movie people seem to be as dumb as they music people. The way Internet file sharing works is that you only need one source. Just one person with a camera, to distribute a movie around the globe. So protecting a few movie screens with this tech will not accomplish a damn thing. Just like the music industry, who spends so much time, money, and effort on poorly securing digital files, while at the same time it releases a lossless copy of the same content on an unprotected format.

Bizarre (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787553)

So if I pay to go to a cinema, rather than download a copy of the movie from the Web, they're going to mess up the picture and mess up the audio in order to make sure I don't tape it with a camcorder?

Can someone remind me why I'd want to go to one of these cinemas?

useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10787555)

This is useless. Even if it works as advertised (doubtful), it would have to be installed in _all_ theatres. Not going to happen. And even then, nothing prevents an "inside job" involving an employee "borrowing" the film print and running it in a private home screening room (yes, private 35mm screening rooms do exist).

As for the watermarking thing, I don't see it being any more useful than the existing CAP code that is printed on film prints. Distributors are _not_ going to have separate soundtrack negatives made for each print (would more than double the cost of each print--already in the $1500 range). If it instead required inserting a device between the cinema's sound processor and the amplifiers in the house, that will also not happen, due to the wide variety of cinema sound systems in use.

Besides, no sane theatre owner would pay for this anyway. He's not the one losing out to piracy (for the most part) and theatre owners are notoriously cheap.

Ok... (1)

dark-br (473115) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787557)

I've never taped the movies i went to but now the movie theather will be taping *ME*!

Come on, no more banging on the last rows? Ok, I read Slashdot, not much banging anyway...

Why dont go further next time (0)

thrad (829144) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787586)

.. and erase the film memories from the brains of the cinema visitors when such a tech is discovered?

I think its my god-given right to 'remember' what I see, even if I use some litle gadget to 'help' myself ;)

yuo Fai7 It? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10787605)

coming A piss

mobile version? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787625)

I want a mobile detector that scans for cameras in any room. A parallax-guided laser response is left as an exercise to the reader.

In other news... (1)

Mudcathi (584851) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787650)

Network television announces a new television series: PirateEye for the Copying Guy

How I think it works. (2, Interesting)

Snaffler (311068) | more than 9 years ago | (#10787651)

First, I find it humerous that a number of the first people to post comments all mentioned that they had watched pirated movies.

Second, I have not seen a single post that adequately states how this technology really works. Given the level of technical ability /.'s readership is known for, I find that interesting.

My guess? CCD cameras almost always use an infrared filter. They have to or the color gets screwed up. This technology bathes the theater in infrared light and the camera simply picks up the reflection off of the filter. Take off the filter and you mess up the image. Keep it on, and your camera glows.
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