Things Ghost Hunter Should Know
The two most frequently asked questions I get about equipment at The Shadowlands website or via email/phone calls at the GhostHunter Store® are as follows:
- Can my digital camera use infrared lighting to see in the dark or why doesn’t the IR illuminator I bought let me see in the dark with my camera?
- I have an Infrared or Full Spectrum camera and I can’t see anything in the dark, why not?
No, in 90% of the cases your camera or camcorder cannot use infrared lighting or illuminators. It has to be a camera like an old Sony camcorders that can see in 0 lux (zero candlelight rated) or one of the new modified cameras that can see in infrared like the Deep or True Infrared cameras and Full Spectrum cameras like these. Even though all digital cameras are sensitive to IR light and can see illuminated LED IR light bulbs, this is different from being able to see in total darkness with the help of infrared illumination/lighting. Sony still made camcorders with the nightshot feature that allowed you to use the built in IR lighting along with external IR lights to see in total darkness. They stopped making consumer grade models and only make commercial grade models with that feature now. All other manufacturers may claim they have a nightshot feature or night mode but unless you see that it is rated at 0 Lux, it will NOT see in total darkness with IR illumination. The static (stationary) IR video cameras that are used with digital video recorders are designed to see in 0 lux and have a ring of IR LED lights around the lens that will activate when the built in light sensor detects low light conditions.
The new hand modified infrared cameras and full spectrum cameras are permanently modified to see differently that a regular camera. Without getting too technical, internal parts are removed/replaced to allow other spectrums of light which are normally blocked to be seen. With the infrared cameras, the piece that let only visible light come through the lens is replaced with a filter that now only allows infrared light to be seen. You can use these cameras to take still photos in the daylight and you will be taking straight infrared photos. In the dark you can use the cameras flash to light up the area since IR light does exist in the flash’s burst of light. This is a good time to remind everyone that we can’t see infrared light so when you turn on your IR flashlight or IR light illuminator and don’t see anything but a dim purple tint that doesn’t mean it is broken. It’s just that your eyes can’t see the light coming from it with using a modified camera or a 0 lux camera to view the lights. Now if you are going to run video with your IR cameras, you WILL need some kind of IR lighting. It amazes me that people who would not call Kodak up and tell them they took some video in a dark room using a Kodak camera and it came out all black and dark would assume that an IR camera could see in the dark without any kind of lighting. If you are going to record video with any IR camera, modified or 0 lux, you DO need a source of infrared light. There are flashlights, battery operated and plug in IR lighting available for this purpose.
Most of what applies to the IR cameras applies to the Full Spectrum cameras as well. The main difference is that Full Spectrum can see more than just infrared light. Depending on where you get you camera will dictate how much your camera can see. Some cameras claiming to be full spectrum have been modified so they see in the ultraviolet spectrum of light and the infrared spectrum of light simultaneously. This is more like an UV/IR camera than full spectrum but it is an option available out there. The Full Spectrum cameras I use can see from the ultraviolet spectrum of light, into and through visible light and then into the infrared spectrum of light simultaneously. They are taking stills or video in all three light spectrums at the same time. You can take photos with these in the day or in darkness with the flash because the flash does supply all these spectrums of light. You can also take photos with a Full Spectrum light illuminator or some kind. If you are using this in total darkness and are recording video you WILL need to use a light source just light any camera would. You can use an infrared light source but then you will only be filming in infrared. There are a variety of Full Spectrum light illuminators available and most feature IR LEDs and UV LEDS so that you are filming in both infrared and ultraviolet spectrums. There are also some that add in some other color LED bulbs like red, green or blue to let you also film in visible like to really get the full spectrum affect.
All these cameras open up new areas of research for us. We can see in the dark into spectrums of light that are not visible to our eyes. We have known for years that getting spirit photos and video does happen when using infrared capable equipment. Now we can also look into the ultraviolet spectrum and see what’s happening there as well. With the newer hand modified Infrared or Full Spectrum we can now take IR or Full Spectrum photos/video with the lights on or during that day which opens up so many places that would be off limits to us at night or after hours.
Hopefully this makes theses cameras and technologies a bit clearer but should you have any questions about this or any other equipment or aspects of ghost research feel free to give me a call at the GH Store or shoot me an email.
Founder of The Shadowlands: Ghosts and Hauntings
Director of South Jersey Ghost Research
Author of “Positive Energy for Haunted Homes”,
“Ghost Research 101: Investigating Haunted Homes” and “Armor of God”
16 Church St, Mount Holly NJ – 609-261-2361