We have improved the sensitivity and signal-to-noise ratio of a luminescence upconversion experiment, using a charge-coupled device (CCD) as the detector. We show experimentally and numerically that the bandwidth of a 1-mm-thick beta-barium berate crystal is large enough to take full advantage of the multichannel capabilities of the CCD. The improvement is significant in a standard experiment with a single laser as well as in experiments with resonant excitation that use two synchronized femtosecond pulse sources at different wavelengths. The characteristics of the two-color scheme are discussed in detail. (C) 1998 Optical Society of America.