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Ghost Hunting VHS Video Recorder System

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VHS Video Recorder System- So why do we have this item of antiquated technology on our ghost hunting list?  Well honestly when we started in this field it wasn't antiquated.  Now, you can maybe stumble upon one in your parents attic or at the neighbors garage sale for $5.  If that is your ghost hunting budget, then pull the trigger on it as in this case, something may be better than nothing.


This particular videoVHS video camera for ghost hunting camcorder uses the full size VHS tape used in your VCR, making it larger in size and heavier in weight.  The VHS video camera is normally used on a tri-pod or while resting on a shoulder.  This type of video camera offers 240 vertical lines of resolution compared to modern digital video cameras that may offer 500 vertical lines of resolution.  The vertical lines of resolution can be simply put by saying the more vertical lines of resolution offered the better the picture.  This information is sometimes now labeled as the maximum CCD (charge coupled device) resolution.  When using a camera on a ghost hunt that gives the higher number of vertical lines of resolution the picture you record will be able to contain more detail at higher zooms, giving you an all around clear, crisp image. 


When most of us started ghost hunting here at this VHS model was cutting edge!


Using the same VCR sized tape it also has the capability of recording at least two hours of images at the higher but more quality speed setting.  This is an older model and many new technologies have been introduced and implemented to the new video cameras of today.  That being said lets face it something is better than nothing and one may be able to come across a great deal on one of these models.  It still records video and audio pictures for your ghost hunts.  An ideal model will be compact enough to fit in a small pack or waist belt as well as light enough to carry all night with out getting a heavy cramp.


Ideally were looking for a unit with 3 CCD’s or charged couple device.  The separating of the image for quality purposes also allows the image to be formatted in the way the camera was designed to.  In this section we are discussing the VHS video camera.  What this allows for is the image to be broken down into the three colors that camera’s use to reproduce a picture in whatever format the camera is designed to use, digitally in this case.  Instead of having one CCD you have three independent microchips working on there own part of the color spectrum red, green and blue.  This gives you a noticeably clearer sharper image comparable to professional camera’s used in television studios and creating Hollywood films. Once you’ve found a model with CCD it should be noted that there are different types of them.  Some of the video cameras that had the original CCD technology took in the picture and separated it further by reading only portions of the picture with what is called an interlacing method.  The newer technology is referred to as progressive scan CCD.  This allows the CCD microchips to read every part of the image being taken giving better true-ness to your recorded image.  In our line of work a night vision feature is ideal and expands your repertoire of data recording for that elusive clue.  The level of night vision quality or capability is measured in lux.   


This measurement tells how much light or lux is needed for the camera to pick up images clearly when in night vision mode.  For an example of this measurement an object 12 feet from one 60-watt light bulb is reflecting 10 lux.  A night vision capability of 0 lux is ideal for ghost hunting.  As for trusting and comparing the lux rating between brands make sure it is EIA certified or using that scale as the standard.  The aperture rating may be listed as “f/1.4”.  The smaller the “f/stop number” is the larger the aperture (lens opening) and the more light that can be taken in by the camera giving you a more versatile camera.  The better this rating is the more the lens is able to move giving you a greater zoom capability and allowing more light in giving a higher quality night shot. 


One must also consider battery life since you may be in the middle of nowhere for some time and not be able to recharge.  For the most part there are two types of battery lithium-ion and NiCad (nickel-metal hydrid).  The Lithium Ion batteries are lighter in weight and not subject to the memory charge syndrome that ruined many a NiCad battery.  That is the NiCad battery must be totally drained before recharging or risk having it not recharge fully.  The Lithium Ion batteries normally come in a one and two hour charge length.  What’s the point of having a camcorder and recording things if you’re not able to see them clearly?  Magnification is an important feature and probably the one that you will notice the most if you don’t get an appropriate level of it.  Magnification as stated on a camcorder can get a bit confusing.  What you may want to look for is the actual “optical zoom” not the magnification.  The magnification on the side of the camera may boast a 700x zoom however the true zoom may only be 4x.  What this means for us is that the camera can only zoom 4 times the normal power but then makes up the extra zoom by digitally enhancing the image.  What can happen then is a larger but blurry and undefined picture.  Remember that the camera can’t make up what it can’t see it just enlarges the pixels and spreads it evenly as possible giving you a larger but less quality of a picture.  Not exactly what we may want when were trying to convince a skeptical society that the little black smudge dancing around the viewfinder is a true UFO even when zoomed in to show a big black smudge.  Most cameras today have backlight compensation or white balance and some sort of image stabilization.  The backlight compensation is a great feature if you’re doing news cast and want the newscasters face to be visible when stage lighting is coming from behind.  However you may want to be aware of this feature taking over while on an investigation when you're not expecting it or the results it may bring to your images.  Be aware that turning this feature off can produce a more pinkish or blueish picture than normal. 


The image stabilizer helps the image from appearing bouncy from a shaky hand during a ghost hunt and is a necessity if using a high zoom.  This feature on some cameras is a digital electronic system that actually can fuzzy the image to give the appearance of a stable picture.  An optical image stabilizer gives the clearest result while still stabilizing the picture and is best for our field of use.  This type of image stabilization actually moves the lens of the camera to compensate for motion.  I feel compelled to mention the high-speed shutter options due to the nature of our use for the camcorders.  Normal cameras come with a standard shutter speed range of 1/ 60 second too 1/ 4,000 second.  On the higher end of shutter speed ranges you will find 1/ 40,000 second which is ideal for fast moving images in your ghost hunting location when trying to view something that is not always viewable to the unaided eye. 


There are other features ghost hunters may want to be aware of like an accessory shoe with jacks, which allows you to connect accessories that you may purchase later like an external light or microphone.  First and foremost LEAVE IT ON AT ALL TIMES you never know what’s going to happen and when.


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We will continually be adding information to the above item as resources permit.  We have started creating some additional knowledge centers on paranormal investigating equipment in general and for the EMF meter.  We have included some links below to start you on your way.  The EMF topic is just to big to capsulate into one single page.  Below are some editorials that range from our personal rants on industry issues, to more scholarly scientific journal type entries, to that of a simple opinion editorial.  We highly recommend that you start at the top and finish in that order at the bottom!  Enjoy:


Complete List of Articles

Paranormal Investigating Equipment 101

EMF Meters 101


Paranormal Investigating Equipment 102


'Electromagnetic field' meter Comparison Table


EMF Meters 102


EMF Meters 103


The Magnetic Anomaly Detection System

Many more to come


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