Infrared Video

The latest craze in ghost hunting parafanalia is Infrared video. Ever since Sony introduced its first Night Shot camcorder in the late 90's, many other camcorder manufacturers have followed suit and produced some kind of 0 lux camcorder with infrared pickup. The ability to see in near total darkness used to be something only the Armed Forces and FBI could do. Now for a few hundred dollars, any one can!

This little achievment has made ghost investigations much easier, unfortunately the sad part about this whole indevor is that infrared pickup by a camcorder is not really anything new and just about any camcorder with CCD technology has the ability to pickup infrared light with a little modification and the addition of an infrared light. (more information is provided below on how to modify an older camcorder to pickup infrared).

The picture above is your basic CCD (Charge Coupled Device). You can find these in Camcorders, Digital Cameras, Web Cams and other imaging devices. Its main function is to take light reflected back from objects and turn it into an electrical signal which is then processed by a microprocessor to reproduce the image on a viewing device (computer screen, the little screen on your digital camera, recorded to a video tape, etc...).

A CCD device can see light rays outside of the human visible spectrum. The chart above will give you an idea of just how far a CCD unit can see above the visible light the human eye can see. infrared light does not reflect light the same way visible light is reflected which causes problems with color, so most camcorders have some kind of infrared filter in front of the CCD unit. Even the Sony Night shot incorporates an infrared filter. When switched to night shot mode, the filter is moved to the side to allow the infrared light to pass through to the CCD. Since infrared light reflects at a different wave length and is not refracted to the same degree visible light is, could it be possible that infrared light is reflected from spirits?

Another theory is that since the CCD works on electrical pulses that somehow the CCD is detecting the electrical disturbance being emitted by the spirit(s).

So how can an older camcorder record infrared?

The modification is actually very simple and no electronic parts need to be tampered with aside of those that will need to be removed during the modification. Please do not attempt this mod if you are unsure what you are doing. I would suggest that this mod be done to an old camcorder that is not used for general recording, this modification will not change the quality of the image, but will change the colors and viewing in ambient light will be funky, so be sure that you will be using the camera primarily for infrared recording.

The modification is simple, remove the infrared filter from in front of the CCD. If you look at the image of the CCD at the top of this page, you will see a green lens just in front of the CCD. This is what needs to be removed, unfortunately this is easier said then done. In order to retrieve this little piece of plastic, you may need to disassemble the entire camcorder before you can get to it. Unfortunately there are just to many styles of camcorder out there to give a step by step instruction on how to do the modification. Since I can not give you a step by step, I would like to offer the following tips that may help during thie modification. Once again, if you are not quite sure what you are doing, please do not attempt this mod.