Video cameras and infrared lights

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Video cameras and infrared lights
From: Michael Todd <>
Date: Mon, 15 May 2006 18:33:05 +1000
Hello all,

Of late I’ve been investigating video cameras that are capable of
recording in very low light conditions or in fact in darkness by using
infra red lights, for the purpose of filming night bird behaviour. I’m
having trouble sorting through the great variety of cameras that are out
there. I'm hoping that someone ot there might have already tried this
sort of thing and can give me some advice.

I’m not really after high quality video (although I’d love to get into
that in the future) just functional. Many of the Sony videocameras have
a function they call Nightshot, Super NightShot or Super Nightshot Plus.
I gather that they produce an image by slowing down the shutter speed
which causes blur if the subject moves. I gather that these videocameras
have infrared lights which produce a wavelength of light that is
invisible to people (birds as well???).

Of a similar bent is some of the nestcams that are popular in Europe and
North America. These usually consist of a tiny monochrome (black and
white) video camera, a separate infrared LED light which are fitted
inside a nest box. Cables from these are then stretched to a VCR (video
recorder) and/or TV, or computer for the footage to be recorded.
Obviously the nest box has to be fairly close to a source of
electricity, usually a house. There are some fascinating websites out
there showing active nests- check out the following site:

This is an amazing Barn Owl nestcam. With this nestcam some very
interesting data has been collected on timing of visits to the nest by
the parents, and volume of food fed to the youngsters. Most of these
nestcams are basically a different bent on the security CCTV systems
that you see around. However, what about a nest that is away from
electricity. Can a similar system be powered by a battery?

Anyway, I’d love to hear from anyone who knows anything about this sort
of caper or who has any ideas about it. I think it has potential as a
means of collecting a lot of information on bird behaviour and diet.


Mick Todd

Michael Todd
Images & Sounds of Nature
Latest Additions: Hawaii (Big Island- Aki, Pueo, Wandering Tattler)
Toronto, NSW, Australia
0410 123715


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