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Trusted Contributor
Posts: 195
Registered: ‎03-12-2012
My Device: PlayBook

Camera shutter sound

Does anyone know what constitutes a legal audible camera shutter sound?

 

I need to write a camera app that can be used in ultra-quiet settings like nature capture and classical concert use.  But if the legal requirement forbids silent operation, what is the lowest minimum sound level that the shutter sound needs to be?  What about the frequency?  (Some animals are not sensitive to certain frequencies audible to human beings.  And some noise could be filtered out in a classical concert recording.)

 

Any information is greatly appreciated.

Sucroid.com
Sweet Apps for the Fans
Developer
Posts: 6,473
Registered: ‎12-08-2010
My Device: PlayBook, Z10

Re: Camera shutter sound

Here's my suggestion: investigate non-digital cameras (i.e. the ones that actually *had* shutter sounds) and find a non-motorized one which has little more than a nice "click".

See if you can find a recording, or perhaps even make one.

Use that... make a point of saying you've used an exact copy of the sound of that particular model of camera, and see how far RIM legal gets in claiming it's not sufficient. ;-)

Alternate possibility: use a noise like a quiet sneeze (some people do have quiet sneezes, though I do not!) or burp or whatever...

This is likely one of those areas where everyone will look back in years to come and laugh at how stupid the world was back in 2012 when they had to spend time faking shutter noises. I think most such situations eventually pass, but it may help accelerate that if we all push the limits here and try to force them to define more exactly what constitutes an acceptable shutter noise.

(Or possibly there are laws which actually do that, in which case someone could research those and see what they say.)

Peter Hansen -- (BB10 and dev-related blog posts at http://peterhansen.ca.)
Author of White Noise and Battery Guru for BB10 and for PlayBook | Get more from your battery!
Developer
Posts: 1,280
Registered: ‎03-03-2011
My Device: Playbook, Z10, Q10, Z30 with Files & Folders and Orbit of course

Re: Camera shutter sound

For concert use: consider allowing the user to select a key for the shutter sound, so it blends in nicely with the music. Or monitor the mic for a loud passage, sound the shutter then, and claim it's shutter sound lag.

 

:smileywink:

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Trusted Contributor
Posts: 195
Registered: ‎03-12-2012
My Device: PlayBook

Re: Camera shutter sound

That's a nice suggestion (recording a real analog camera).  I should ask what those National Geography people use.

 

For concert use, I was just thinking of using a sound at 18kHz or 25Hz (still within audible range but hardly noticeable by anyone older than 25) at MAXIMUM volume.  This will NOT be heard in concerts but it will still be, according to measurements, louder than any shutter sound from any current camera on the market.

 

BTW, I'm surprised that my old Sony digicam has an option for turning off shutter sound.

Sucroid.com
Sweet Apps for the Fans
Developer
Posts: 6,473
Registered: ‎12-08-2010
My Device: PlayBook, Z10

Re: Camera shutter sound

Please anyone finding material on the background to this one, post links here.

 

Here are a couple:

 

http://www.techfragments.com/261/new-law-will-require-camera-phones-to-click/  (links to the Camera Phone Predator Alert Act and from there you can find the full text)

 

It also sounds like there was an impending law in South Korea in 2003, which required a "loud clicking sound" but only on phones.  Regular digital cameras were exempt.

 

Actually the text of that silly CPPA Act is short enough, assuming this is really the full thing, that it's worth posting here for laughs. As the article notes, this won't actually stop anyone who wants to take silent pictures, but it will annoy all non-criminal users of these devices... sigh.  I don't know the actual status of this particular bill... I sure hope it got shot down.

 


 

To require mobile phones containing digital cameras to make a sound when a photograph is taken.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Camera Phone Predator Alert Act'.

SEC. 2. FINDING.

    Congress finds that children and adolescents have been exploited by photographs taken in dressing rooms and public places with the use of a camera phone.

SEC. 3. AUDIBLE SOUND STANDARD.

    (a) Requirement- Beginning 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, any mobile phone containing a digital camera that is manufactured for sale in the United States shall sound a tone or other sound audible within a reasonable radius of the phone whenever a photograph is taken with the camera in such phone. A mobile phone manufactured after such date shall not be equipped with a means of disabling or silencing such tone or sound.
      (b) Enforcement by Consumer Product Safety Commission- The requirement in subsection (a) shall be treated as a consumer product safety standard promulgated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission under section 7 of the Consumer Product Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 2056). A violation of subsection (a) shall be enforced by the Commission under section 19 of such Act (15 U.S.C. 2068).

Peter Hansen -- (BB10 and dev-related blog posts at http://peterhansen.ca.)
Author of White Noise and Battery Guru for BB10 and for PlayBook | Get more from your battery!
Trusted Contributor
Posts: 195
Registered: ‎03-12-2012
My Device: PlayBook

Re: Camera shutter sound

Great news!  That means my solution of generating a click at 18kHz (or 19kHz just to be safe) at max volume will fit the bill (pun not intended) since children and adolescents with normal hearing can hear at that frequency (even 10 feet away).

Sucroid.com
Sweet Apps for the Fans
BlackBerry Development Advisor
Posts: 668
Registered: ‎11-29-2011
My Device: developer

Re: Camera shutter sound

I have not delved into the legalese myself, and do not take this as legal advice, however the particular phrase "audible within a reasonable distance" seems to be the key take-away point there.

 

I would argue that if you are using macro-focus, or are measuring focus-distance, for example, that you may be able to bend this wording to suit your use case.

 

Again, do not take this as any sort of legal advice.  For most use cases, we're hoping to be able to provide an unmutable audio channel over which you can play your custom shutter sounds.

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 195
Registered: ‎03-12-2012
My Device: PlayBook

Re: Camera shutter sound

That's the thing. What is the definition of "audible" and "reasonable distance"? The existing / proposed laws don't define these properly. 18kHz is certainly audible, just not for people who have bad hearing. Children can sometimes hear as high as 20kHz even 10 ft away.

Silly law that is practically useless. I feel sorry for device manufacturers.
Sucroid.com
Sweet Apps for the Fans
Developer
Posts: 6,473
Registered: ‎12-08-2010
My Device: PlayBook, Z10

Re: Camera shutter sound

The "reasonable" thing is generally left up to the courts, so a company like RIM is forced to take a conservative approach to this. If you make an app where typical adults basically can't hear the sound, chances are you'll see it excluded from App World, until the world rebels enough against the darned legislators who put this sort of law out there, or the courts throw it out as stepping on our rights too much.

Peter Hansen -- (BB10 and dev-related blog posts at http://peterhansen.ca.)
Author of White Noise and Battery Guru for BB10 and for PlayBook | Get more from your battery!
BlackBerry Development Advisor
Posts: 668
Registered: ‎11-29-2011
My Device: developer

Re: Camera shutter sound

laws are purposely vague so that they can be left up to interpretation by lawyers and judges.

 

My non-lawyer argument would probably extend that 'reasonable distance' to include the subject of the photograph, given that the intent of the law would be to alert the person being photographed that they are being photographed in some high degree of detail.  If the person is 100 feet away, then I would probably consider that to be beyond a 'reasonable distance' as they will only occupy a few pixels in the image anyway.  If you happen to have a telephoto lens, then you are probably not using a camera-phone and would not fall under the influence of this law.

 

Again - this is not any form of legal advice!