Services - Education - Tools of the Trade - Video Cameras
During investigations we videotape rooms where activity is expected to happen in order to record any paranormal events that may occur. We use Sony camcorders that have night shot capabilities; this means that we have the ability to record things clearly up to a distance of about 10 feet in complete darkness. To help get an even better picture we use an IR extender which helps to illuminate an even greater area.
Why do we film in the first place? One reason is to see what normally occurs in an area. If someone were to tell us that whenever they go to bed at night they see a shadow move across the room, filming the room would give us some insight as to what normally happens during that time frame. Perhaps, after viewing the tape, we realize that a passing car has caused a shadow to move across the room. If the house is on a noisy street, the person may have grown accustomed to the sound of the traffic and not realize that headlights are causing the shadow. We can also set up a camera in a closed room so that we are certain that no one is doing anything that might be causing an alleged paranormal event to occur.
The primary reason that we use the video camera is to try and actually capture a paranormal event on film. Hopefully, we will record an event that we can clearly determine was not being manipulated by anyone in the area. We also try and record video evidence that cannot be seen by the human eye – this is why we use IR video cameras. Our Sony camcorders have night shot capabilities – we can disengage the infrared filter that is in all cameras so that we are able to film infrared light. Using the cameras in night-shot mode gives us the ability to see clearly in complete darkness, or 0 lux. Most people have seen this type of filming, where everything has a green tint to it, on television. However, unlike what is seen on TV, our cameras are mounted on a tripod. Mounting the camera ensures that we always get the same shot, even as the film is changed throughout the night.
When filming in infrared, small IR lights illuminate the area and make visible things that wouldn’t normally show up on video, including bugs, dust and sometimes unexplainable items. This can make it challenging to review the tape, because we have to be able to accurately identify each of these items. Did we see an object that just floated across the screen? Was it moving quickly and in random directions, or did it just zip across the screen? It takes some practice and a little group discussion, but we can usually determine what it was.
If we come to the conclusion that it wasn’t something normal, we have to start thinking about what else it could have been. This is when the time and date stamps are useful, because we can cross-reference the video with what was going on in other areas of the house from investigation notes, audio files and photographs. The combination of all the evidence can help further explain if something was truly a paranormal anomaly or some other naturally occurring event.
Once again, you can see that it’s never just one thing that we look at to identify a paranormal occurrence. We always come back to looking at each event thoroughly, taking into account all of the evidence we have collected from various sources and using logic to determine what the data tells us.