I am wondering how well the camera on a GoPro Hero3 would handle a 4,500 lumen spotlight, both direct and indirect beam. Basically, could you obscure the GoPro image with the spotlight? Would it be possible to hide something large behind the light? Say, 500ft wide. Would it still obscure the image out to half a mile? How about a mile?
A spotlight will certainly affect what the camera on a drone could record/view. However, if the drone is moving, or the angle from the spotlight to the drone camera isn't "right" it could be difficult to ensure the desired "blinding".
A project. Tracking the drone is not a problem. Before I test this, I need to get an idea of how the light will affect the camera image - i.e. is it feasible. Will it white it out entirely? Will it create a glare that obscures fine detail? If the camera is oriented to look at one end of an object while the light is directed from the other end of the object at the camera will it still be affected?
It will likely overload the camera's CCD and white/black out the image. I would think the spotlight and camera will have to be on the same line of sight (pointed right at each other on the same plane) to effectively block the imagine. Otherwise, I would assume portions of the object will be recognizable, at a minimum.
Tracking the drone with constant light would be close to impossible. Even an advanced system such as those used on naval defensive guns track and correct not track and lock on a small erratically moving object.
The auto-exposure on a gopro is limited. It does not have a built in ND filter and so its ability to deal with extreme light is limited. It should not damage the sensor to blow it out with 4500 lumens. The result would be too many photons hitting the sensor and the image being white. But because there is no way you will track it very well there will be intermittent frames with valid data.