When the Tudor United SportsCar series rolled through Virginia International Raceway last fall, Ivy Tools packed up a FLIR T640 thermal camera to capture the action. The formula was perfect for great infrared footage: a muggy August day, plus cars running hot, plus human adrenaline pushing the machines to their limits.
Though you may feel like you’re watching something at night, all racing was recorded during the day. Darker scenes of the video reflect cooler areas, while yellow and white are the warmer areas. The thermal camera does not see visible light as a human or regular camera might. Instead it detects infrared radiation, emitted by everything around us every day. We usually sense this infrared light broadly as “heat,” but the camera is sensitive enough to spot slight variations in the heat pattern of a scene. These variations are then assigned a color and combined to form an image as you see in the video. You will note that the T640 camera is sensitive enough to see even the tracks of heat left by the tires in some scenes.
Many thanks to our friends over at Butler Films for their help editing the hours of video footage we recorded.