Be sure to wear proper eye protection when operating the laser.

OK, you've got everything setup and can take video with the press of a button. But don't just start taking a bunch of video. Take some time to get organized and think about the test conditions (different masks, etc.) you want to try. Make a test plan and keep a run log!

A "run" is simply the acquisition of video data for a certain set of conditions. The run can be identified with an integer number that gets incremented for each new run. The test conditions include things like the mask being tested, what speech was used, the video settings, etc. It is important to keep track of the specifics for each of these for each run. That is where a "run log" is super useful.

Run Log

A run log is used to keep track of all the important test conditions for each run. You will use this run log constantly when processing the data post-test. For example, let's say you wanted to compare Mask A to Mask D for test conditions X. You would use the run log to find the specific runs where that occurred. Then you would know you need to compare Run 23 to Run 42 (for example). And since you named your video files with run numbers, it's super easy to find the source data.

Configuration Flags

To help keep the information in the run log concise, you can use configuration flags. These are simply codes you define somewhere and then use the codes in the run log. Letter+Number combinations work well for this. For example, "masks" can be given the letter M. And then each mask is given a number.

  • M0 = no mask
  • M1 = blue surgical mask
  • M2 = fitted N95 mask
  • M3 = cotton bandana
  • etc.

You can then do something similar for the "speech" (S) that is used for a particular run. Something like:

  • S0 = silent
  • S1 = "stay healthy, people" (repeated)
  • S2 = "pppffffffttttttttt" (blow a raspberry)

And similarly for "video" (V) settings:

  • V0 = 1920x1080 @ 30fps
  • V1 = ?

and duration (D):

  • D0 = still image
  • D1 = 10 seconds


But be careful!

Don't lose the decoder ring for these configuration flags.

It's best to keep these with the run log somewhere.


Here's an example run log sheet. Keeping things to about 10 runs per sheet tends to work good. This leaves plenty of room for notes and other documentation.

The RUN column would just be the run number, like 1, 2, 3, etc. The other columns would contain the configuration flags used for that particular run. If you need to track more parameters, add more columns. Any other notes, just free text comments about anything important, can go in the NOTES column. Other notes can go in blank area at bottom.

This guide was first published on Oct 14, 2020. It was last updated on 2020-10-14 11:57:31 -0400.
This page (Conducting Test) was last updated on Oct 14, 2020.