I’m going to break away from my typical post this evening, because I’m hoping I can get some advice from techie and/or paranormal investigators out there… or maybe even a super soccer mom who has mastered modern videography. When I formed Missouri Spirit Seekers in 2010, I scrounged up whatever equipment I could afford. I even spent a few tax refunds on some of the more expensive equipment. For the size of my group and the number of investigations we are involved in, the equipment that we have tends to be just right for us. I mean don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE a thermal imaging camera or a few of those fascinating rem-pods that are gaining popularity now. But really… my major concern currently is being stuck in the 1990s with our Sony NightShot camcorders. (Click HERE for an almost current look at our equipment.)
For years, paranormal investigators everywhere have used Sony’s line of NightShot IR (infra-red) technology. Obviously there are TV production quality night vision cameras out there, but not affordable for most groups. Several years ago Sony phased out NightShot, Super NightShot, NightShot Plus, etc. I always heard rumors as to why they did this, but I’m not sure if they were true. But after doing research, I found that the Sony DCR-TRV280 with NightShot was a pretty reliable and common camera available on Amazon and Ebay, etc. I bought two of them used (for probably way too much money) and one of them immediately malfunctioned several times and so we use it strictly as a charger. I have since ordered another one and so we have two that have been working fairly well for us. I like not having to learn how to use 14 different generations of cameras, so it’s important for us to use the same kind. They come with some problems, though. They are incredibly noisy. One of them has a consistent click about every 10 seconds. Also, in this day and age, working with tapes is an outdated inconvenience. Some investigators would tell me that it is irresponsible, but I re-use my 8mm cassette tapes. Not only are they nearly impossible to find anymore, but they’re expensive, and we go through 4 or 5 tapes in one investigation. It’s just not realistic right now to use them once and have that be it.
But after nervously buying used camcorders online and not knowing how well they’re going to work, I’ve been concerned with what the common paranormal investigator was going to use for night vision in the future. These cameras aren’t going to last forever. Not only that, but I had to have someone help me to make some considerable accommodations to my computer to be able to upload the video. I’ll soon need a new computer. Will that computer have the capability to support these old cameras?
This last fall I went on a paranormal tour hosted by a local paranormal team (as I rolled my eyes), and the group members passed out a handful of newer Sony camcorders (nearly identical to the Sony HDR-CX150 Handycam Camcorder that I own) for tour goers to walk around with. Each camcorder had two smaller IR attachments, and in the dark these cameras had amazing IR technology. In my experience, IR attachments on camcorders that are not equipped with IR technology are worthless. So were these IR camcorders or just amazing attachments? I was not smart enough to take a picture of this camcorder and the attachments, or to sound like a nerd while asking the group leader about their cameras.
I will be completely honest and say that I haven’t really researched this situation in a year or so. It overwhelms me and I’m not a techie person at all. I do great with technology when I get used to it and learn to work with it. But… I don’t know what I’m looking for.
So here’s where I need help. What is out there now currently? What are you using? What do I need? What attachments and accessories are required? Someone help transport MOSS to the year 2013! 🙂