Get In, Get Out

The QuickView pole-mounted inspection camera with Haloptic technology from Envirosight enables fast inspections while yielding high-quality images
Get In, Get Out
The QuickView camera with Haloptic technology is connected to the upLink via a cable that runs through the positioning pole. The camera itself is connected by a lever-lock to the pole. (Photography by Gil Longwell)

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As budgets make it necessary to do more with less, many municipalities are seeking ways to increase efficiency and reduce cost in sewer inspections. One solution is to replace some crawler-based inspections by using pole-mounted zoom cameras, which make it possible to look deep inside pipelines from the nearest manhole.

These inspections save time and enable assessment of infrastructure condition in a way that helps managers make sound maintenance decisions. While zoom inspection does not replace crawler technology, it helps to identify maintenance priorities and inspect hard-to-reach infrastructure without confined-space entry.

A new entry to the zoom inspection camera market is the QuickView camera with Haloptic technology from Envirosight. Haloptic technology differs from traditional zoom inspection cameras, which use offset lamps with diverging reflectors and require continuous adjustment in viewing the full length of a pipe. Instead, Haloptic technology casts illumination axially aligned with the camera view and focuses it into a column to maintain intensity over long distances and allow inspection of the entire line without adjustment. Illumination is directed where it is needed most: along the pipe walls and on targets at the center of vision.

Mike Vislay, Envirosight regional sales manager, demonstrated the technology on a blustery spring day at the Derry Township Municipal Authority in Hershey, Pa. Observing were DTMA collection system technicians Don Fuller, Daryl Godwin, Rick Wilhelm and Scott Winters, and their supervisor Jeff Mylet.



A hard-shelled, wheeled plastic case with telescopic handle stores all system components, including the one-piece bidirectional camera and lights, data recorder, control box, wireless monitors, cables and safety-yellow operator’s vest with built-in battery pack (battery life four to six hours). The case has room for additional monitors, batteries, Micro SD cards and other items.

The system’s 24-foot carbon fiber telescoping positioning pole is securely clipped to the outside of the case. The integrated camera and light are fabricated in a single housing, pressurized with carbon dioxide to prevent internal condensation. The camera offers 36:1 optical zoom, 12:1 digital zoom, and 432:1 total zoom.

Resembling the hole in a doughnut, the camera is mounted in the center of 5-inch-diameter parabolic reflector that emits a focused beam of light. The reflector consolidates the beam from a single high-intensity discharge (HID) bulb so that at 1,000 feet, the beam is confined to a 6-inch-diameter pool of light. The lighting system can fully illuminate a 60-inch pipe at distances up to 400 feet.

The model demonstrated came with a wide-angle, backward-looking camera with its own light system that lets users inspect manholes and similar structures without changing cameras or lenses, saving time and enabling near and far viewing at the flip of a switch.

The upLink digital viewing and recording system can capture JPEG and MPEG images on a standard Micro SDHC memory card. This device, clipped to the telescoping rod, includes a base station wired to the control unit via a BNC video cable and a portable wireless monitor that can work mounted on the pole or away from the base station in wireless mode.

No other cables are needed as the operator’s video monitor is directly secured via slide-clip connections to the upLink. Up to five remote monitors can display the camera’s images at the same time via wireless connections to the upLink.

The operator typically uses a thumb to manipulate a mini-joystick to control camera zoom and focus. The joystick and all other controls are on an armored box that slips into a pouch in the safety vest. The box is roughly positioned above the wearer’s right hip pocket. An on-off toggle switch activates the entire system. The unit also has switches to turn the fixed-focus on or off, engage the image stabilization, and bring up common menu functions.

Still and video images captured present the same visual picture that a crawler camera delivers. Auto-imposed text may be selected; this displays time and date.

The system can be deployed by car, van or pickup truck or from a dedicated inspection vehicle. Although it requires no supporting power or control systems beyond those on the operator’s vest-pack, the data stream can be shared with a support vehicle. Everything a single operator needs for a day in the field is in the package.



The demonstration began in a storage bay at the DTMA treatment plant. That environment enabled Vislay to show how the Haloptic reflector keeps the light beam tightly focused.

When focused on a close target, the beam’s halo-like pattern and dark center spot were clearly apparent. In the equipment bay, at a distance of about 40 feet, the beam did not noticeably increase in diameter, but the “doughnut hole” was filled in with light.

After explaining each component’s capability, Vislay repacked the case and moved the demonstration to an opened manhole on the plant grounds. It took about five minutes to unpack the case, connect the five system components, put on the operator’s vest, and record the first images. Once the camera was in position in the manhole, Vislay demonstrated the find-and-capture routine that technicians quickly fall into. Using the upLink, the crew took turns watching on a second wireless monitor as the inspection progressed.

Using the camera’s zoom capability to look down the pipe, Vislay first found a defect. Operators have two Record options:

• Individual JPEG snapshots that capture details of each defect for later study.

• A comprehensive MPEG video recording of the entire pipe run.

During an inspection, an operator may encounter a pipe blockage or have the view to the next manhole otherwise unobstructed. In that event, whether starting at the next manhole or at a blockage, the operator uses the find-and-capture steps to capture information from that point back to the introduction manhole.

While users can select the capture method in advance, they can also instantly switch from video to still and back almost on the fly. This helps them quickly adjust to field conditions.

At the end of the shift, the upLink can transfer the day’s data to a computer, from which it can be emailed to the client or to a pipe-condition analysis service provider, or simply saved to a hard drive. Using a separate software package, recipients can evaluate the electronic data in the same manner as data captured by a crawler-mounted system. Users can select evaluations compliant with the NASSCO Pipeline Assessment Certification Program (PACP) defect coding.

Breakdown and repacking of the equipment was as straightforward as setup. The spring-loaded pole-stabilizing fixture (or foot) is likely the only item that needs disinfection, and it never contacts the case interior.


Observer comments

The QuickView camera with Haloptic technology can be introduced to almost any access point to which the operator can walk. Derry Township already owns an older-model camera and recording system. The new Haloptic cameras interact with the older Sony GV-D1000 recorder, reducing the cost of upgrading.

Inspections with the system can be performed so quickly that setting up and removing traffic control and gaining access to the pipe may take more time than the actual surveying and documenting procedure.


Manufacturer comments

“The individual monitors incorporate a glare-reduction technology that delivers brighter images with 75 percent less glare,” Vislay observed. “The image seen on the monitor and on a computer monitor is rock-steady, thanks to image stabilization technology employed in the image-capturing and processing systems.”

He noted that small vibrations introduced by the operator’s hand on the positioning pole can be multiplied and degrade picture clarity. The software eliminates that issue.

He also stated that the upLink can receive and process any analog video feed, making it a versatile tool for receiving, storing and transferring inspection images. Vislay noted, “The Micro SD card is the smallest data storage device available anywhere.”


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