Full Spectrum Videography

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What exactly is Full Spectrum Videography?

Most paranormal investigations today are completed using Thermal and/or Infra-red video camera technology, whether it’s with video camera Night Vision or a thermal imaging device used to detect temperature variances that are quite expensive. Withing the last few years what has been heralded as “Full spectrum” imaging has emerged.

Ash plumes on Kamchatka Peninsula – Wikipedia  Two-dimensional projection – NASA

Full Spectrum ” videography uses a form of imaging spectroscopy that utilizes a very wide band of light intensity data from the three normal spectrum’s of light (red, green and blue) that we as humans can see (also known as “visible light”). “Spectral imaging divides these three bands into a more visible (to the human eye) bands of light, much like what Doppler does for reading storm clouds. Much like its successor, the techniques is known as Hyper-spectral imaging, which was designed to collect a lot more information from the available data to processes it across the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Thus dividing the images taken into bands of color that can be extended well beyond what is normally visible to the human eye.

Full Spectral Imaging (FSI) was developed by scientists to improve capabilities of Earth’s remote sensing satellites with “Hyperspectral Imaging” that basically acquires data as many contiguous spectral bands from infrared to ultraviolet.

Wavelength & Frequency

The wavelength is the distance between individual waves (e.g. from one peak to another). The wavelengths of visible light range between 400 to 700 billionths (see chart above) of a meter. But the entire electromagnetic spectrum extends from one billionth of a meter (for gamma rays) to meters (for some radio waves) and are quite dangerous for humans and life as we know it. The frequency is the number of waves that pass a point in space each given second of travel. Visible light frequencies range between 430 trillion waves per second (red) and 750 trillion waves per second (violet). The entire electromagnetic spectrum has frequencies between less than 1 billion waves per second (radio) and greater than 3 billion waves per second (gamma rays). Light waves are waves of energy and the amount of energy in a wave is proportional to its frequency. Wavelength increases, while frequency and energy decreases as we go from gamma rays to radio waves.

All electromagnetic radiation travels at the speed of light (186,000 miles or 300,000,000 meters per second in a vacuum). Objects in space send out electromagnetic radiation at all wavelengths – from gamma rays to radio waves. Each type of radiation (or light) brings us unique information so, to get a complete picture of the Universe, we need to study it in all of its light, using each part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Almost everything we know about the Universe comes from the study of the electromagnetic radiation emitted or reflected by objects in space.

Full Spectrum 1080P Full HD 3.0″ touch LCD Video Camera

We own two of the Full Spectrum, 1080 High Definition (plus 3 other HD settings), 3 inch touch screen video camera, and modified by Phantom Lites. To be honest, we have to admit that we were totally surprised how good this equipment really is. The video cameras are super high quality with top notch features that even the most name brand video cameras don’t have, and at a price everyone can afford…so much so, we purchased two.

The Full Spectrum Camera has been modified, which means they are only meant to record in infrared or full spectrum fields. Included in the package deal we got, which include the Phantom Lite FSX Full Spectrum Illuminator (although the Phantom Lite Infrared Illuminator was also available, we opted for the full gambit as we already had a couple of Sony video camcorders with Night Vision). Our object was to experiment in the Ultraviolet wave lengths of the Electromagnetic Spectrum.

The Illuminator offers the infrared spectrum, as does the Sony Night Shot, and the newer high-end Canon, or other custom IR cameras, as well as most of the DVR/ security cameras everyone seems to be using. However, unlike the Full Spectrum from Phantom Lites, the other camcorders gather the back light from other available light sources to brighten up the image being recorded, and are NOT night vision equipped as they still block all Infrared light. The Phantom Lite FSX Illuminator has 30 LEDs; 5 Infrared LEDS, 5 Red LEDS, 5 Blue LEDS, 5 Green LEDS, and 5 Ultraviolet LEDS, with an additional 5 Infrared LEDs that can be used on all night vision equipped camera/camcorders. Works great with the SVP Full Spectrum camcorder with a distance of 45 feet and run on a 9v battery. Our kit also included a tripod adapter included and the specially designed FSX/Camcorder hand-held adapter.

The Ultraviolet Electromagnetic Side of the Spectrum

Seeing the Invisible

In order to answer that, we need to better understand what Ultraviolet light vs. Infrared light (to read more about the infrared spectrum click here) and what it brings to the table for paranormal research.

Ultraviolet (UV) light is electromagnetic radiation that has a wavelength shorter than that of visible light, but longer than that of X-rays (refer to image above), which puts it in the range of between 400 nm (nano-meters) and 10 nm. It is called Ultraviolet because the spectrum consists of electromagnetic waves with frequencies higher than a humans can identify since these frequencies are invisible to humans. Yet some insects and several species of birds can see them.

Ultraviolet light is broken down into many sub-categories, The ISO standard on determining solar radiance:

Abbrev. Wavelength range  Notes / alternative names
(in nanometres
Ultraviolet UV 400 – 100 nm
Ultraviolet A UVA 400 – 315 nm “Long wave, black light”
Ultraviolet B UVB 315 – 280 nm “Medium wave”
Ultraviolet C UVC 280 – 100 nm “Short wave, germicidal”
Near Ultraviolet NUV 400 – 300 nm “Visible to birds, insects and fish”
Middle Ultraviolet MUV 300 – 200 nm
Far Ultraviolet FUV 200 – 122 nm
Hydrogen Lyman-alpha H LYMAN 122 – 121 nm
Extreme Ultraviolet EUV 121 –  10 nm
Vacuum Ultraviolet VUV 200 –  10 nm

Ultraviolet (UV) light has a shorter wavelengths than visible light. We have already discussed that they are virtually invisible to the human eye, but some insects, like bumblebees, and birds can see them.

Based on the scientific breakdown of the ultraviolet spectrum into three regions: the near ultraviolet, the far ultraviolet, and the extreme ultraviolet, they all react differently distinguished by the ultraviolet radiation they generate, as well as the “wavelength” of that ultraviolet light in relation to the energy generated.

The near ultraviolet (NUV), is by far the light closest to be optically visible (visible light 400-100 nm). The extreme ultraviolet (EUV), is light closest to X-rays and is by far the most energetic of the three types, with the far ultraviolet (FUV), lying between the near and extreme ultraviolet regions, is also the least explored. Our Sun, for example, emits light at all the different wavelengths within the electromagnetic spectrum. But the one responsible for causing sunburns on humans are the ultraviolet waves.

Not all ultraviolet light waves emanating from the Sun penetrate Earth’s atmosphere, most are blocked by Ozone Layer of the Earth, and other gases, from even entering our atmosphere. However, there are regions on the planet, and some days where more ultraviolet waves get through our atmosphere than normal, which is why scientists have developed a UV index to help people sensitive to UV light to protect themselves from these harmful ultraviolet waves, making them more susceptible to cancer and other conditions.

What Do We Expect to “See” By Using Ultraviolet Light?

A full-disk extreme ultraviolet image of the Sun taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory’s Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) instrument, showing the temperatures of gases on the solar surface and in the solar atmosphere on March 30, 2010. Red gases are cooler (around 60,000 degrees Celsius), blue and green are warmer (more than 1 million degrees). A solar flare is seen at upper left. – Picture: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / NASA / BARCROFT MEDIA

It is our thought that if astronomers can use ultraviolet sensitive telescopes on satellites to measure ultraviolet light emitted from distant stars and galaxies (even from our own Sun), why not give it a try in our research? Who knows what we might be able to see if we could photograph or video a wider range of visible and near visible light in our research. So it’s our intention to use not only Infrared, but extend our light sources to include the  Ultraviolet spectrum from 400 to 100 nm.

There are many different satellites that study ultraviolet astronomy, why not the paranormal. For example, the Hubble Space Telescope observes stars and galaxies within the near ultraviolet light range, while NASA’s Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer satellite is currently off exploring the universe, and the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE) satellite has been observing in the far and near ultraviolet regions for over 17 years now with great results that offer us a new view of the cosmos.

What Will Ultraviolet Videography Reveal?

Who can say for sure…but it’s certainly worth a try. This question all depends on the wavelength range of Ultraviolet light that is used, what equipment, what exposure, and so on. Most images of entities captured on video or film photography using infra-red are rare at best and at times impressive, but rarely offer empirical evidence that is objective. The question is why is that? Why aren’t these entities (ghosts, spirits, dimensional beings, E.T.s, and the like) seen more often with infra-red? We have for some time now believed that perhaps more to the particular wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation. After all it is beyond our human ability to see into those spectrum’s, yet we do get lucky at times when the conditions are just right.

We believe on the opposite side of the electromagnetic spectrum, within ultraviolet wavelengths between 400 nm & 100 nm, where the energy is much higher than infrared, things could get interesting. But as of yet there is not really much available (regarding specific equipment, experience in UV/IR photography or videography in the field of paranormal research, nor anyone who has actually documented the processes used, much less demonstrated any success with UV photography/videography. To date has anyone actually captured anything that goes bump in the night, or possibly glows in a photo using this part of the electromagnetic spectrum energy on film. Or for that matter; What type of film should be used? What about DSLR? Flash? Filters? Light sources? Is IR contamination possible? Is it harmful to the living? And the list goes on…

UV photography provides physicians with an effective way to show patients the full extent of the sun’s impact on their skin. The selective absorption of UV light by epidermal melanin makes it easy to capture an image of the mottled hyperpigmentation that is characteristic of photo damage. The results can often be quite shocking for patients, heightening their awareness of the need for sun protection and raising a desire for treatment. A post-treatment UV photo compared to pre-treatment shows the patient what’s been accomplished. – Copyright ©2003 Canfield Scientific, Inc.

UV Light Sources and Radiation

Looking at the chart above, you can see within the 400 nm – 100 nm, UV light is divided into three basic categories: UVA, UVB and UVC. The researchers tested several UV Fluorescent light bulbs for UVA and UVC emissions. In human skin cells, UVA radiation creates a reactive oxygen that can damage the function of how human skin normally functions by penetrating further into the skin. Many sun worshipers who enjoy being outdoors in the sun for example are typically exposed to UVA and UVB radiation. While on the other hand, UVC radiation is usually scattered by our atmosphere (with much of it blocked by the Ozone Layer of the earth), so we are therefor not usually exposed to these damaging rays in sunlight. However, getting closer to the source of our exposure to UV radiation, like a Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs, the UVC radiation emitted can damage DNA.

Determining what type of bulb (LED, Florescent, incandescent, etc) would best be used, without causing harmful radiation to the Desert Highlands research team will have to be given grave consideration…however we believe that our effort would be well rewarded, because it could be that we’ve all been using the wrong end of the electromagnetic spectrum. The results could prove to be interesting…if not profound.


The Infrared Electromagnetic Side of the Spectrum

Seeing the World in a Different Light

We learn much about the world around us by using our eyes. Think about all of the information you obtain and process by simply looking at the world around you. Our eyes are sophisticated detectors that have biologically evolved to ‘see’ visible (or optical) light. There are, however, many other types of light, or radiation, which we cannot see without the aid of high-technology equipment. The human eye’s sensitivity is just a small sliver from the full range of radiation, called the electromagnetic spectrum. To fully appreciate the beauty and complexity of the world around us, we need to rely on man-made devices to provide a view into the ‘invisible’ world. Physicians use x-rays and computed tomography scans (often referred to as CT scan or ‘cat’ scan) to create full 3D images of the human body for diagnoses and air-traffic controllers use it as radar to safely guide aircraft. These are only a few examples of how the study of invisible ‘light’ has contributed to our world.

Infrared (IR) light is primarily thermal radiation, a measure of temperature. To the left is a thermal IR image of a person holding a burning match. In this false color image, the white regions are the hottest, the red depicts warm areas, and the coldest portions appear as blue. Note the contrast between the very hot flame and the relatively cool eyeglasses, which do not emit significant amounts of IR radiation. The image to the right is an infrared view of a cat. In this image, the yellow regions are the warmest and the purple areas are cool. Here you can see that the warmest parts of the cat’s head are the ears and the eyes, while the coldest region is the kitty’s nose. If you have a cat at home, gently feel his/her ear lobes and note the contrast with the cat’s nose.

These images give an idea of how different the world around us would appear if we had infrared eyes, and begin to reveal the additional information we could not obtain by simply relying on our eyes. Any object with a temperature above absolute zero (-459.67 degrees Fahrenheit, or -273.15 degrees Celsius, or 0 degrees Kelvin), radiates in the infrared. Even objects that we think of as being very cold, such as an ice cube, emit infrared light.

Using What We’ve Learned That Works

Most of what we see with our eyes is the result of indirect (or reflected) radiation, provided by the Sun or by artificial lights. The person sitting across your dinner table is visible because of reflected light provided by another radiation source (typically, artificial lighting). However, if your eyes were capable of seeing infrared radiation, that person would be visible to you even in a completely dark room. Why? Because your dinner companion is presumably alive (.), and hence warm, thereby producing infrared radiation. In general, the warmer that an object becomes, the greater the IR radiation it produces.

The development, testing, and improvement of infrared detectors has resulted from a productive collaboration between aerospace and industrial firms (primarily funded by the military) and university researchers (funded primarily through NASA). These research efforts into infrared detector technologies have led to many useful applications, apart from defense and space science purposes.

We use infrared technology everyday whenever we ‘click’ the television on, or switch channels using a TV remote control. In computers, infrared light is used to read CD-ROM disks. Cashiers use infrared scanners to read standardized bar codes on products, expediting the check-out process. Infrared technology is also used in car locking systems, home security systems, environmental control systems and hand-held temperature monitors. When used as a diagnostic probe — such as measuring ocean temperature from orbiting satellites, measuring the heat from a person lost in the nighttime wilderness, or detecting structural weaknesses in electrical and mechanical systems — infrared light permits us to make measurements remotely and to draw factual conclusions without having to touch the objects being measured.

In this web module, we explore some of the common and clever uses of infrared light – in science and art, in industry, and for medical and safety diagnostic studies.

Not Forgetting the Electromagnetic Spectrum

Electromagnetic fields are energy waves with frequencies below 300 hertz or cycles per second. The electromagnetic fields we encounter daily come from every day things such as power lines, radar and microwave towers, television and computer screens, motors, fluorescent lights, microwave ovens, cell phones, electric blankets, house wiring and hundreds of other common electrical devices.

When we look at the world around us we are seeing visible light waves (or visible radiation). However, there are many other forms of radiation that we cannot see with our eyes. These types include gamma rays, x-rays, ultraviolet, infrared, microwaves and radio waves. Together with visible light, all these types of radiation make up what we call the electromagnetic spectrum – the complete spectrum of radiation. Light (or radiation) is made up of vibrating waves of electrical and magnetic fields. This is where the term electromagnetic radiation comes from. Electromagnetic radiation travels in waves which have different wavelengths, energies and frequencies.

SONY HDR SR1 – Camcorder

When we first got the SONY, it was the first time, a camcorder was able to ro record high-definition video directly to a hard disk drive within a HDR camera. The HDR-SR1 Handycam camcorder allowed us to capture images in total darkness with Sony’s Nightshot® system Infrared technology and has been a tool of choice when surveillance systems are not necessary, or too cumbersome for the size of the investigation.

The only major problem with the unit is that Sony as a proprietary design, and only saves the files in H.264 format, forcing us to use a conversion software for posting our discoveries into standard file types, such as WMF, WAV, AVI etc. This is time-consuming but with today’s software it loses none of its quality.

Another drawback, is that we cannot connect this unit via firewire to the PC directly for broadcasting live over the Internet. Other than that, it’s an excellent camera, with superb stereo sound quality and a generous size LCD display to review what’s been recorded.

Boasting a generous 3.5″ Wide (16:9) Hybrid Touch Panel Clear Photo LCD screen and multiple connectivity options, the HDR-SR1 Handycam camcorder gives you complete control from capture to cut. For the first time ever, you can record high-definition video directly to a Hard Disk Drive (HDD). Plus, with the dual HD/SD format, you can record in standard definition as well. You can also freeze time in flawless detail with a 4.0 Megapixel still-capture feature to the HDD or Memory Stick Duo Media.

IR NightVision Camera Boosters
Sony HVL-IRM – Extends the range of the Sony Nightshot® system Infrared emission to shooting in total darkness and extending it from 10 feet to 100 ft. This attachment works on any camera equipped for infrared photography, digital or film. Unfortunately Sony discontinued this item and they are extremely difficult to find today. We are very fortunate to have 2 of them.

Boosting the range of Sony’s Nightshot® by allowing us get a strong high-definition over a much greater distance to deliver terrific video footage. Recommended shooting range (3-20m) and can be powered by either InfoLITHIUM M series battery or two AA (R6) size alkaline batteries. Includes an accessory shoe adapter (VCT-S30L).

850nm Infrared Illuminator

Our infrared emitters or illuminators can add lighting to an existing surveillance camera if the camera is infrared sensitive or compatible. Not all cameras are. If your cameras already have infrared LEDs and you wish to add more lighting, then these will work for you. Most IR cameras are only compatible with 850nm. If your camera does not have any LEDs, these may still work for you if your camera is infrared compatible or sensitive.

Infrared illuminators only require power and can be powered off 8 D cell batteries for upto 10 hours. You may place them next to your existing infrared camera or place them somewhere more ideal for you specific application such as closer to your target viewing area. These illuminators are completely weatherproof and can be used indoors or outdoors. The 940nm infrared illuminators are virtually invisible to the naked eye. We offer a 24 led, 56 led, and a 104 led illuminator. The built-in CDS sensor turns on illuminator at night and off during the daytime.

These illuminators have a 30 degree dispersion angle and are 12 volts DC operation. Mounting bracket and AC power adapter included. One year warranty.

140 LED 850nm Infrared Illuminator

This infrared emitters (illuminator) can add enough lighting to any existing surveillance camera system. Two of these 140 LED emitter is enough power to light up an entire football field when placed goalpost to goalpost. And is totally undetectable except to infrared sensitive or compatible equipment. Not all cameras are powerful enough to light up large areas, and if you need coverage, this is the illuminator you want in your toy box. Most IR cameras are only compatible with 850nm. If your camera does not have any LEDs around the lens, these may still work for you as long as your camera is infrared sensitive.

The IR140-850 illuminator has 140 LED placed at a 40 degree dispersion angle. It is 12 volts DC operation and we include a 2 amp 12 volt power supply for up to 10 hours of infrared light in an area where no AC power outlets are available. A Mounting bracket is also included. Plus a one year warranty.

Desert Highlands Paranormal Research uses these illuminators on almost all of our investigations and they’re perfect for fully batter operated environment with an array of 12v batteries. Use them to extend the IR light into a backyard, parking-lot, driveway, or basement. Most IR is limited to small cameras for approximately 10-20 feet coverage and can also be used with an AC Adapter.

31 LED Infrared MAG Light

This 31 LED MAG-light offers a bright spot for pointing our IR Cameras and Video Recorders at. With its easy fail-safe on/off switch is virtual indestructible, and there are many more reasons than the switch to rave about with high-tech instrument flashlight from MAG Light. It goes without saying that a flashlight defeats its own purpose if it can’t be trusted, which is why so many people spend a little extra for this 4 D-cell LED IR Mag-Lite. We’ve dropped it, kicked it, and abused it countless ways while working in the dark – it literally takes a beating and continues to lights up faithfully every time without fail.

The on/off switch is one of the first things to fail on most generic flashlights, but Mag-Lite’s switch is rubber coated and weather protected; frankly, it seems incapable of ever wearing out, even after thousands of clicks. Twisting the flashlight’s head also gives us the option of a tight beam or wide floodlight, but more importantly, the 31 super tough 850nm Infrared LEDs give us a dependable high-quality performance with a flood of infrared light that does not disappoint us.

This Mag Light is virtually indestructible, and a great selling point. Mag Instrument builds its flashlights with an ultra-strong aluminum alloy cases that has been anodized both inside and out to resist rust and high-quality O-rings on both openings keep water away from the batteries. It’s hard to imagine damaging this flashlight/torch as in the world of flashlights, Mag-Lite was by far, our best choice and has never disappointed us.


Williams, R. & Williams, G. (2002) —Reflected Ultraviolet Photography” Medical and scientific photography. 

 Wikipedia — UV Light

Scientific American — Can Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs Damage Skin?

Canadian Conservation Institute — Light, Ultraviolet and Infrared” by Stefan Michalski