FLIR Energy Depends on Thermal Camera

When you hear the term infrared, what do you think of?


Infrared or IR is all of these and more. 

Operations benefiting from infrared technology will fall into one of these 3 categories: NIR, SWIR or FLIR. What you use depends on your job criteria. 

First of all, the naked eye is blind to this infrared energy. Without a complex infrared camera, you simply won’t see it. The IR energy is invisible. 

Infrared cameras are your superman eyes because they make the invisible visible.

Unfortunately, one camera does not work for all 3 categories. NIR, SWIR, and FLIR energy depend on different technology to make them visible. 

In this article, we are focusing on how FLIR energy works with a FLIR camera and the benefits of a Thermal Film partnership. 

Thermal (FLIR) Cameras captures FLIR energy


Thermal imaging cameras or FLIR cameras provide the ability to view the FLIR energy in a scene. You are most familiar with this infrared energy in the form of heat.  

Your FLIR camera will distinguish people, animals, and vehicles from its surroundings by sensing the different temperatures (heat) and contrasting them from one another. 

Depending on the settings on your FLIR camera, the scene will appear “white hot” or “black hot”

The white/black contrast paints the scene and shows you the energy emitted from the people, animals or vehicles. 

Therefore, you can watch the movement of people, animals or vehicles and locate them in reference to your location.   

The downside to the FLIR scene is that the specific features of the people, animal or vehicle is difficult to identify. For instance, you can see a person wearing a jacket, but facial details and the jacket color is unknown.  You will detect an animal in the bush but is it a dog or a coyote? You see a vehicle driving down Main St. but is it a police cruiser or owned by John Citizen?


FLIR Camera for your FLIR operations

Thermal Film Bridges the Info Gap


How do you bridge the information gap between the thermal contrast and details of the scene? 

Thermal film patches and markers bridge this gap. 

A thermal film marker attached to the people, animals, vehicles, or landscape provides the critical information needed to successfully navigate the scene. 

For example:

  • A thermal patch on a  K9 is detected by your FLIR camera indicating the animal is indeed your K9 and not a coyote. 
  • A thermal alpha-numeric digit on the top of a vehicle indicates the vehicle is part of your unit and is not John Citizen’s vehicle. 
  • A thermal patch on a person identifies the police officer from the suspect. 
  • A thermal marker on the ground, indicates your ground reference point for distance and location data.

In short, a thermal film marker provides an HD vision for your operation.  

No guessing. 

The information the film relays to you leads to safer, decisive actions. 

Ultimately, fewer errors results in more rescues, captures and overall operational successes.


3 Thermal Films for Safer FLIR Operations

1. High Contrast Thermal Film 

High Contrast has an emissivity of 10-20%, which translates into the absolute best contrast image. The film pops a crisp contrast for quick identification.    

This film is available in tan, green and brown. 


FLIR energy in the form of thermal target training

Who Uses the Film?

The military has deployed the High Contrast film in a vast array of applications for years. They primarily use the film for training targets,  4’ x 4’ TIP (Thermal Identification Panels) panels and identification of vehicles (tanks, humvee, jeeps).  

Sportsmen are discovering the benefits of the high contrast film for zeroing their advanced scopes, hunting and personal identification. Also, hunters secure the film on themselves to prevent being shot. Hunters locate and identify each other from the hogs or predators they are hunting.

Best Feature

#1 reason to choose this film is the high contrast. You have great contrast but the film will not last forever.  Chemicals and harsh weather will wear down the outer coating. Therefore, a 3-6 mo. life is a practical expectation. 

2. Extreme Thermal Film

The extreme thermal film has an emissivity of 30-40%, which is slightly higher than the high contrast film. Higher emissivity results in a slightly lower contrast. 

This film is built for your rough and tumble outside operations. The film is available in black.


Who Uses This Film?

Law Enforcement agencies are discovering the benefits of Extreme thermal film. Police, Sheriffs, FBI, Secret Service are using this film for search and rescue, SWAT, and K9 operations. Most common uses are personnel and vehicle ID.  The thermal marker is attached to a vehicle or officer for communication with UAS or Airborne units. Water patrols are successfully engaging the film also.

On the rise is the use of Extreme film for ground control points.  Ground control points provide critical data such as location, behavior patterns, and safe landing zones.  Research and Development facilities and University students find the film invaluable for their projects. 

Best Feature

#1 reason to choose this film is the extreme durability (thus the name). Primarily for operations outside or harsh environments.  Trading lower contrast for longevity is worth considering.  A 3 yrs. lifetime expectation.

3. Clear Thermal Film

Clear thermal film has an emissivity of 40-50%. 

This film provides half the contrast of our best film.

The clear appearance prevents naked eye detection. 


Who Uses This Film?

Law Enforcement find Clear film is best for dangerous covert undercover operations. Marking a suspect vehicle, or undercover vehicle to covertly track its movement.

Best Feature

#1 reason to choose this film is the difficulty to see with the naked eye. A vehicle or personnel is marked and  goes undetected by the naked eye.  A 1 year lifetime expectation. 

In conclusion, FLIR energy (Far Looking Infrared) impacts our lives daily.

Thankfully we have the technology to advance it to prevent and solve crimes, protect soldiers and officers and save lives.

Do you need some help implementing FLIR into your operation or project?

Contact me or schedule an appointment.

If I can’t answer your question, I will help you find what you are looking for. 

Stay safe.

 The Author

Tom Boyer profile picture

Tom founded IR.Tools™ in 2006. He has embraced manufacturing premium IR patches, panels, thermal markers, and thermal targets to better protect and train the military and law enforcement communities. Always the innovator, he is always thinking out of the box. Currently he has 21 awarded patents, and 14 patents pending. Tom received his BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from the Univ. of MD, College Park and his MBA from Regents Univ.