Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Using DVR Cameras in Investigations

My group has used a DVR (digital video recorder) surveillance camera system for a year now. We have caught some interesting things on it: a chair moving and a lamp moving when no one was around. 

Another upside to these cameras is they film nicely in the dark without any additional (specialized IR lighting).

The downside is the time it takes to set up this kind of system and the hours of video you have to review on multi-screens afterwards. 

These cameras though are ideal for both indoor and outdoor filming. When we use them indoors we have all lights out—one glitch is light sources randomly leak through so you do get flashes of color so be aware of this and do not mistake it for paranormal. 

These cameras also pick up many orbs so be aware that this is just dust, dirt, pollen etc. in the air so don’t mistake this for paranormal activity.

Also keep in mind that videos copied from DVR's are much harder to transfer onto a computer. You really have to know all the ends and outs because they can be extremely frustrating to work with. 

Make sure you buy one that has an internal CD/DVD drive—one without this feature makes it even harder to transfer data to a computer. Cords to connect your DVR hard drive to your computer are available.

For many investigations we take just our camcorders (Sony Nightshots) but we always use additional IR (infrared lighting) with these camcorders (a light mount is needed for each camera). 

Keep in mind that when you use camcorders this increases the cost of rechargeable batteries for them--each costs around $90.00. You typically need more than one battery for each camera. 

Digital cameras are also easier to set up and use. 

Note: many digital cameras film really well using just their “night mode” selection indoors, use flash with this and no additional lighting. When used outdoors additional IR lights should be used.

Regardless of what cameras we use our group always mounts most of them on tripods. This provides a much more reliable, stable picture. 

But we do hand hold some of them—if you are not familiar with camcorders practice using them while you walk. In other posts I address more about photography and ghost investigations, including information about Full Spectrum Cameras and the lights that are best to use with them.

Happy Ghost Hunting!

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