2002 Conference Proceedings

Go to previous article 
Go to next article 
Return to 2002 Table of Contents


Brian M. Smith, President
MagniSight Inc.
3360 Adobe Court
Colorado Springs CO 80907
Toll Free: 800-753-4767, extension 111
Fax: 719-578-9887
Email: larissas@magnisight.com


This presentation offers tried and true tips and tricks on the use and the purchase of CCTV video magnifiers. Brian will outline the golden rule of reading with a CCTV, and will share valuable tricks to maximize your machine. Brian has been a leading manufacturer and an end-user of CCTV video magnifiers for over 10 years.

I. Tips on reading with a CCTV

  1. Golden rule: The tendency is to over magnify with a CCTV. Make it big enough to where you can see it comfortably but not so small that you struggle to see it.
  2. Let the x/y table move the viewing materials back and forth under the camera instead of moving the material manually. Exception: Small items like checkbooks, or business cards can be moved by themselves, without the use of the x/y table.
  3. When a person is first starting out, have them use both hands on either side of the x/y table. After the person has become an accomplished user then they can use just one hand.
  4. Have the person use their finger when trying to locate something to view. Place your finger on the beginning of the location you want to see and then go find your finger in the image.
  5. When a person first uses the x/y table, have them use the brake and margin stops to slow or stop the table from moving. After a person becomes more advanced, they may want to use their hands to slow and stop the x/y table from moving. *Especially when writing, use one hand to steady the table while the other hand writes.

II. Tips on writing with CCTV'S

  1. If a person is a beginner, have them write in the smallest magnification, increasing the magnification as they become more accomplished.
  2. The smaller you make the image the bigger you write and the bigger you make the image the smaller you write.
  3. Always use lined paper when learning to write with a CCTV. With blank paper, it is hard to tell what is up and down.
  4. When writing, try writing a few words, then stop and move the x/y table verses trying to move the table while writing. Don't write out of your "eye" viewing area.
  5. A person needs to flip their pen around to find where the camera is viewing the paper.
  6. It is recommended that you use a normal pen when writing instead of a big felt marker.
  7. Write in positive mode verses negative mode.
  8. If a person writes at an angle, then turn the camera right or left and keep the monitor facing straight.

III. Tips on user's comfort when using CCTV'S

  1. Read in the lower half of the screen. Looking from the table to the top half of the screen for reading can cause neck strain.
  2. Use an adjustable chair to raise the person up and down to an ideal viewing position. If a person is steady on their feet, use a chair that swivels and rolls. That way you can swivel and roll the chair to get in and out of your machine.
  3. An individual can use an adjustable table to raise and lower the CCTV to a comfortable position as well.
  4. The person's head should be facing straight into the screen at the material to be read. Neck aches occur when they are looking to far up or down, or from one side to the other.
  5. If a person is using a side-by-side system, position the monitor on the person's better eye.
  6. Use an in-line system when the individual needs to be close to the screen (less than 12 inches).

IV. Tips on buying CCTV'S

  1. First evaluate how the person will use it. What do then need to accomplish with the use of a CCTV?
  2. When should you buy black and white verses color?
    1. a. Obviously first issue is what can the person afford. But money aside, if the person will be using the machine primarily to read text, then buy a black and white unit. Reading material is generally a black and white image anyway. Consider multi-color options for high contrast needs. A color system is great for looking at photos, maps, recipes, magazines, and working with crafts.
  3. What monitor size should a person use?
    1. The smaller the monitor is the higher the resolution is. However, if a person is using more then half to two third magnification then I recommend a bigger monitor. Keep in mind that the individual can make the image smaller in a larger monitor, which produces a greater field of view.
  4. Two-piece units should be used when an eye condition needs greater separation between monitor and camera. This allows them to access the x/y table while the screen is a distance away.
  5. When should options be used?
    1. Different color combinations are ideal when a person sees certain colors better, or requires high contrast.
    2. Line marking and windowing is ideal when a person needs to isolate text.
    3. Computer options are ideal when a person needs to work with a computer and a CCTV.
    4. Split screen computer systems are ideal when a person needs to transpose material.
    5. Auto Focus is ideal when a person needs to keep it as simple as possible. Manual focus override on an auto focus system allows for maximum versatility and allows complete control over unique viewing situations.

End Notes:

Brian will use the outline above to discuss, in detail, the various shortcuts and tricks he has learned over the years, both as a user of CCTV's, and also as a manufacturer. Generally, the end of the presentation allows for a question and answer session, and a discussion of what has worked and hasn't worked for others in the business.

Go to previous article 
Go to next article 
Return to 2002 Table of Contents 
Return to Table of Proceedings

Reprinted with author(s) permission. Author(s) retain copyright.