To many ghost hunters, catching ghost evidence on video is the “holy grail” of ghost hunting. The problem is that getting advertised-IR cameras can be expensive and if you buy a cheap brand you generally get cheap results. I’m here today to share with you a small “secret” I’ve kept to myself for some time now. This secret has saved me hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars on video equipment and my fellow writer, Adam, has talked me into sharing it with our readers.
Many people don’t know that most cameras naturally see IR lighting. In fact, companies add a filter to block it out. Maybe they do this because of some hardware flaw? Or maybe they do this to be dicks? Who really knows (except for them), but IR viewing typically exist in cameras.
Before I go on, this is not a “how to” on removing the filter. This requires no modification of any device in your arsenal.
At present, I have the following IR-ready cameras:
4 camera CCTV system
2 VHSC handheld camcorders
2 Digital Video Cameras
2 Digital Camera
For many teams and people, this is actually a lot of video equipment. It isn’t even all the video equipment my team has access to. This is my personal collection and each piece sees IR lighting.
Natively, as advertised, 1 of the digital video cameras, and the CCTV system records in IR. The rest of my equipment are standard cameras that I happened to have or got from family and friends.
On a whim, some time ago, I was playing around with one of my VHSC cameras. I had gotten it from a family member because it was older technology that she no longer had a use for. My girlfriend and I have many things in our house that, one way or another, uses IR to function. In this case, it was the Nintendo Wii which allowed me to make the discovery.
I was panning around my living, testing the camera, when I noticed 2 very bright lights coming from the Wii receiver. I quickly lowered to camera to see the lights with my own eyes when I seen nothing and remembered Wii uses IR. I brought the camera back up and recorded a minute of video toward the Wii receiver… to my surprised it recorded the very lights which, as is IR, I couldn’t see with my own eyes.
I tested it further that night with my external IR lights… the same result. I was able to see in dark places using the camera, with no special features, and my IR lights.
I decided to start testing every camera, video or photo, to see if this was common. Every available camera in my home except for 2 could see IR lights. Some were strong and some were weak but the point is I could see IR lights with nearly every camera I had.
What lesson should you take away from this?
You most likely have cameras hanging around your house or that friends and family no longer want that may see IR lighting.
You could, perhaps, go to a store and buy a new camera that may see IR lighting.
No longer do you necessarily have to be stuck paying an extra $100 for a camera with IR/Night Vision available.
I have one word of warning, though. My results have varied in the sense that some cameras see IR better than others. The ones that barely pick it up would most likely have to have a lot of external IR lighting to function remotely well. Then some have nearly no issue with this and see it as brightly as if I were pointing an LED flashlight at it.
So experiment, play around, and see what you have lying around your own house.