Night Vision vs. Full Spectrum

You may have heard the term ‘full spectrum’ with regard to ghost hunting cameras and video much the last few years. But you’ve had your night vision camera by your side for many years and don’t see a need to switch up. It gets a good picture and that’s all that matters, right. Well, sort of.

What is the difference? Let’s talk about what night vision is…

Night vision, in basic terms, means it sees infrared light (or IR). If you have a camera from years ago with ‘night vision’ or ‘night shot’ it may have a small infrared light on the from of it that allows you to see a few feet in the dark. You may not even see the IR light on the front because it’s invisible to the naked eye. Night vision is cool. It allows you to see in total darkness. But what are you actually seeing? Answer: infrared. That’s it. Only infrared. Most off-the-shelf infrared cams filter out all light so that it can focus on the IR light. So that’s all your getting. It’s akin to putting blinders on a horse. Though it gives you a way to see IR int he dark, it removes the ability to see other light. You do not actually see (most) visible light or ultraviolet. Heck, some night vision cameras even use such a short band of IR that you’re only seeing just a small portion of IR. Yeah, it can get confusing. But, with this, we can suffice to say that IR is very limited in your ability to document light anomalies on an investigation.

Enter: Full Spectrum

Now on to full spectrum. In simple terms, full spectrum refers to the concept of being able to see more than we can see with our naked eye. This means being able to see visible light, infrared and ultraviolet. On one end of the spectrum is Infrared (or IR). On the other side we have Ultraviolet (UV). Cameras can be modified through adjusting or removing filters to see deeper into either end of the spectrum. This conversion, allowing us to see deeper into both IR and UV, is referred to as Full Spectrum.

Camcorder-DXG-FullSpectrum-View4There are different methodologies as to what constitutes good Full Spectrum. In some cases the filter is removed entirely thus allowing all light in. Other methods involve replacing the filter with something that will see IR and UV but filter out visible. I consider the latter (where visible light is blocked) as a multi-spectrum modification, not Full Spectrum. As the term suggests, while you are allowing light outside of visible in, it is not a full spectrum if you’re filling out any potential existing light. It’s like taking off a horse’s blinders so he can see better only to replace them with another pair that blinds differently. Hope that makes sense. I like analogies. While this method may be practical for daylight uses where bright visible light can overpower the IR and UV this is not an issue when conducting low light paranormal investigations in the dark. Since ghost hunting and paranormal investigating is typically done in the dark, you need all the light you can get.

Flexibility of Full Spectrum

Here’s my favorite parts of using a full spectrum camera: you can use any light. Since a night vision camera cuts out anything other than IR the only light source you can use with that type of camera is infrared. That’s it.

With full spectrum, it sees (just about) everything. So, if you want to be covert and use infrared only. Go for it. If you want to use a bright white light. Pop it on. You’ll blind all your fellow investigators and they may unfriend you on Facebook, but it would work. Use an ultraviolet light. It’ll work too. But if you want to take full advantage of a full spectrum cam, use a light that has a full range of infrared, ultraviolet and visible light. One that switches between IR only and full spectrum is perfect so you can use what you need as you need it without swapping out lights.

Sure, there is much more to the science of light and the spectrum in which it resides. But I hope this helps illustrate what the difference is between night vision and full spectrum and how full spectrum is a far better solution for your investigations.

 

Here are a few helpful videos.

 

 

 

 

 

Shooting Ghost Videos

Individual paranormal videos can certainly be called into question, but thirty years after the introduction of the first home video cameras nearly all paranormal investigators agree that it is possible to capture images of ghosts on good video equipment. The keys to shooting a good paranormal video are proper planning, good video equipment, and a lot of persistence. Read the rest of this entry

Ghosts caught on camera - orbsThere is a huge debate amongst the skeptics and the paranormal enthusiast. Can orbs be caught on camera or are orbs actually ghosts. There has been proof that orbs that show on pictures can be nothing more than dust, air borne pollen, or bugs.

The invention of the digital camera have really introduced this into the forefront. The flash has been found to have a reaction to dust, air borne pollen and even bugs. When the picture is analyzed they appear on the picture as orbs. Read the rest of this entry

ghost hunting kitsYour ghost hunting kit can be as cheap or as expensive as your budget can bear. However, the real key is not how much you spend – it is only spending the money on items that you have a real plan of how to use.

There is a variety or analog and electronic equipment to detect or record ghostly haunting, sounds or other paranormal happenings, but you don’t have to have all of the equipment possible when you start, and, in fact, it is probably best to start you ghost hunting kit with the basics and add additional equipment after you master the equipment you already own. Read the rest of this entry

Ghost Hunting Team

Typically, a “ghost hunting team” will involve four to eight individuals who work as a team in an attempt to collect evidence of paranormal activity. Ghost hunters often employ electronic equipment of various types, such as EMF meters, digital thermometers, infrared, thermographic, and night vision cameras, handheld video cameras, digital audio recorders, and computers. Organized teams of ghost hunters are also called paranormal investigation teams.

Besides the right equipment a good ghosting hunting team needs the right organization. In fact, the organization is actually more important than the equipment if you want to have a safe, productive outing.

So, here is a suggested organization for a small team, but there are no hard and fast rules. The idea here is to get as much documentation as possible from several tools and team members. One of the most common mistakes many teams make is getting too spread out. You want to be close enough together so that each piece of equipment can scientifically substantiate the other equipment. That’s the only way that the 35mm can back up the DVR and so on.

Outdoors this is probably a radius of about 40 yards and indoor it will usually be closer. Otherwise, there will be no way for each team member to individually verify the observations of the other member. Teams tend to love to spread out, but if you are going to do that just send everyone out with a DVR. The goal of this plan is to collect good evidence of a paranormal incident from as many instruments and individuals as possible.

One key point on this system is that no one should carry more than one large piece of high tech gear, such as a night vision scope or DVR, because in certain situations the devices can interfere with one another. This breakdown is for the basic five person team, but you can certainly add up to about perhaps three or four more members each with a cameras or DVRs, but more than nine people begins to become unwieldy.

Organization

Team Leader
It’s hard for a group of friends to agree, but it’s really best for safety and efficiency to have one person that everyone agrees to stay close to and follow on each outing. The leader should carry the night vision gear and one other piece of equipment, such as a thermometer or barometer, preferably the low tech version. However, the leader’s main goal should always be looking for any safety concerns and anomalies.

In a lot of ghost hunting clubs the leader changes with each outing and the leader is which ever member took the initiative to suggest and plan the trip. So, the leader of an outing is the one that contacted the landowner or agency that controls the property and planned the agenda. That keeps it fun for everyone and means that no one gets burned out from the planning and organizing.

DVR Camera Operator
This is pretty much the only job this person can do, because they need to spend most of the night looking through the lens.

35mm Still Photographer
This person can also operate one piece of high tech gear such as the EMF detector. You can have more than one 35mm camera on a team.

Digital Still Photographer
This person should probably also have one or two pieces of low tech gear such as the thermometer and barometer. You can have more than one digital camera on a team.

Secretary
There have been ghost hunting expeditions where the secretary’s notes recorded events that no one remembered later and where not recorded on any equipment either. When that happens the white hot moment of terror on a hunt may occur hours later at a Denny’s as the team is reviewing their notes, particularly, when even the secretary does not remember writing the note.

The secretary is the one team member that should carry no electronic equipment and should not be asked to keep track of any reading, because the secretary should constantly be recording the readings of the other team member’s instruments. Also, be sure and use waterproof ink.

The idea behind this organization is to always have back up for every indicator. That’s why it is generally not good to have less than five people, but often the spirits seem spooked by too many people, so nine is about the limit. However, you can sub divide a larger team into several squads that work together.

The DVR operator and secretary should not have a lot of other functions, but the rest of the jobs can be divided up among the other team members.

Safety plan: Be sure to know the location of the nearest hospital, have a first aid kit, and it is always best to have someone stay with the cars if you are working outside where the team will be covering a lot of ground, because that can really speed up the time required to get someone medical help. This is not usually an issue on indoor hunts. Also, remember to allow the night vision person to lead the way and to move slowly and deliberately in the dark.