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Night Vision Explained

Spy movies are often the first thing that comes to mind when people think about or discuss night vision technology. Do they actually work, or are they another form of moviemaking magic? In case you were wondering, the technology is very real and very effective. The standard set of night vision goggles will allow you to see a person standing 200 yards away on a cloudy, moonless night. Impressive, isn?t it?

There are two different types of night vision technology. The first works on the principle of image enhancement. It works by collecting the minute amount of light contained in darkness, and amplifying it to the point where objects can be viewed. It even collects light from the lower end of the infrared light spectrum, which is generally imperceptible to the human eye.

The other way that night vision technology works is through a process known as thermal imaging. This process works by capturing the upper end of the infrared light spectrum. This part of the light spectrum is emitted in the form of heat, as opposed to light as we might recognize it. The warmer an object is the higher amount of this light is emitted.

There are some similar components in both night vision systems. Each of these systems is comprised of optics, some form of signal processing, and a viewing monitor. Image enhancement seems to be the prevailing technology contained in modern night vision systems. Both systems were developed, originally, for military use. In the United States, there are two classifications for night vision devices. The first is called MILSPEC, which refers to military specifications. The other is COMSPEC, which refers to commercial specifications.

This technology has been incorporated into a number of popular products, and put to use is many different ways. They are generally contained in three distinct categories; scopes, goggles, and cameras. Scopes are generally handheld or mounted on weapons, and are monocular. These are good for short-term viewing from a stationary position. Goggles are worn by the user and are binocular. As they are worn by the user, they are ideal for use over a longer period and during movement. Cameras are ideal for surveillance, as the images captured can be saved to a recording device or viewed on a remote monitor. This category also includes video imaging.

Night vision systems have come a long way since their early days of development. They are now used by law enforcement agencies and private investigators on a daily basis. They are also used by civilians for wildlife observation, security, surveillance, and personal entertainment. Night vision devices have become an integral part of the modern arsenal. Remember, not everything you see in the movies is make-believe.

This article was posted on November 14, 2005

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Free video manual-Nightvision Infrared hidden Spy cam clock 1280×720 HD Wireless W/ remote KL216

This is the video to show how to use the record, set time and date and use it plugged into the wall outlett. $.99 GET IT HERE in Ebay…


Nicolas asked Which is the best IP camera? How can i do this?

I want to know which is the best IP Camera. It must be wireless, high resolution (or average), and with Night Vision (if its a spy cam better). The price doesn’t matter. I know how to install the camera but i want to know how i can access to the cameras from another location. For example: I have 2 houses. I put 2 cameras in , one house while im away, how i can access the cameras while being in the other house? Do i need VPN? or by public IP i can access? This i need to figure out. Help please

And got the following answer:

There are several different versions of IP cameras or cameras you can view online from another location. How you access your video feed depends on the type of unit you choose. In any case it’s as simple is logging into a specific url and entering a password. Accessing the feed is simple. Setting up the device is a little more tricky. What kind of device you need depends on your situation. I’d suggest calling a spy shop and telling them what you are trying to do. They would be able to recommend you a product based on your needs…. ie: internet connection availability, recording and viewing capabilities, ease of use… etc.

Below I have listed several types of internet view cameras and described how they work, where they record and how you view them. (in simple speak lol) I have also attached links so you can see an example. It’s important to note that while some internet cameras may allow you to view LIVE footage from another location, you may not be able to access the footage that is RECORDED from another location.

1. Wireless – Internet – USB
This unit would come with a receiver and a camera. The receiver would connect to your computer via a usb port. The camera would transmit footage to the receiver. The receiver would relay that footage through your computer to a software program you have installed on your PC. (soft ware is usually included with the purchase of the camera) The program would allow you to record video directly to the hard drive in the computer the receiver is connected to. You can set the settings in the program to allow your live video feed to be viewable online. Generally you are not able to view “recorded videos” remotely. So you would be able to view the LIVE footage from another house but not the recorded footage. The recorded footage would be saved on the hard drive of the computer in the house where the camera is located. (there are a few units that can allow you to access recorded footage so you’ll want to make sure you read the specs of the device)

2. Wireless Wi-Fi
This camera does not need a receiver. Instead it transmits video directly through a wireless router located in the home where the camera is installed. Videos are available online by logging into your feed. Videos can be recorded FROM THE INTERNET to any computer in the world. This is a better option if you wish to view recorded videos from another location. You can install the software on a PC that allows you to record your live feed from the internet.

3. 3G OR 4G Wireless
These cameras communicate with the internet through a wireless network similar to your cellphone. You don’t need a receiver, router or internet connection at the home where they are installed. Instead the camera transmits video to the internet by a cellular network. Generally there is a fee for the continued operation of this type of unit (the same as you pay a fee for the continued operation of your cell phone. Depending on the unit you choose recording may or may not be an option.

Hope this helps. Good luck!

Samuel F asked Where to locate a special webcam?

I am looking for a specific webcam. I have doubts as to how my nanny is treating my child, so I plan on doing a little covert spying to make sure she is honest.

The camera has to be small, can be hidden well, wireless, have night vision and connect to a computer not a TV

I have searched all over the internet and cant seem to find one. Can someone point me in the right direction?


And got the following answer:

That is a tall order for a camera. It will be almost impossible to get something exactly like that, but here is what you can do. You can get a wireless covert camera. You then take the receiver and connect the video to a webserver which then connects to the internet. You can view it that way. I would recommend getting a covert camera and mini DVR so the it will record everything and you can review it after you come back. Also if possible don’t go with wireless they are subject to any kind of interferrance. Here is a link to Security Cameras Direct. They have all the items you will need to complete this task. They are about the lowest price I know.

daxmin asked Remote control aircraft,more like a unmanned aerial vehicle(UAV)?

i was planning to make a remote aircraft which length is about 1.5-1.8 metre.But i have problems regarding where and how to get a powerful electric motor which capable or moving my 12kg aircraft.And worst still,i dont know where to get those wireless camera with zoom,and nightvision capable.Im also still thinking on where to get the radio receiver and transmitter capable of streaming videos up in the air to my laptop.Could you guys help me find the engines and where to get the wireless camera?Giv me the url link.Im planning to make this aircraft cum uav to fly abt 70km in the air with an altitude of less than 1000ft.Do i need to get cleareance to fly Rc plane?

And got the following answer:

Here’s a company that sells not only electric motors but also complete kits of planes such as you describe:

There’s also a magazine, “Backyard Flyer”, that you can research for both articles and tons of supplier ads.

Remote cameras are plentiful and it should only take a search on your terms (wireless camera “night vision”, etc.) to find lots of sources.

The other question I can answer. Even at your intended limit of 70 km altitude (presumably AGL), you might well have a problem with FAA permission to fly this craft in certain controlled airspaces such as airport approaches. The question won’t be what altitude you do fly it, but what altitude the aircraft could possibly achieve (for instance, if you were to lose control over it while it’s in an ascending control configuration). Even the Border Patrol is having trouble with this little item as a number of recent articles have reported, and if they’re having trouble with the FAA you can imagine what trouble you’ll have! In any case, be *sure* you contact the FAA or an aviation attorney with your question directly.

You’ll have another problem as well. This sounds like a “surveillance” or “spy” plane to me. Even if your purposes are “legitimate”…such as security, landscape photography, etc….you will likely have privacy issues (liability!) to deal with so be sure to get a qualified legal opinion on this as well. You can’t peek over your neighbor’s fence and photograph his activities…whether it’s with a plane or a stepladder…without running afoul of privacy laws.

Finally, there may be local laws and regulations to contend with. For instance, even an electric aircraft makes noise, and it sounds like you want to fly this at night. Check with your local city/county government – usually there will be something called a “Code Enforcement” department where you can check this out.

David H asked what kind of signal does a BNC camera output?

A security camera outputs a high resolution image through a BNC connector. What kind of signal is it? What can read that signal? Using an adapter to make the BNC into an RCA jack won’t work will it?

And got the following answer:

I would suggest going direct to a DVR or monitor.

but you can buy adapters but like all adapters you will lose image quality.

If you are looking at CCTV equipment here is an earlier post.

These brand manufacturers also have a complete line of CCTV cameras and DVR for any application from residential to military and stand behind there warranties. (Recommend)

Ascendent Technology Group ‘s has a really good 4 camera package for around $500.00 and will sell direct if they don’t have a dealer in your area.…

Not all CCTV equipment is created equal, in fact there are many options that offer varying performance take cars for example. In the world of CCTV you can find the equivalent of a $2,000 golf cart and a $350,000 Ferrari and everything in between. Both have 4 wheels but that’s where the similarities end, it’s under the hood that counts.

95% of all wireless cameras are compete junk and any wireless camera under $400 run on 1.2, 2.4GHZ or 5.8GHZ and wont offer encryption. This is bad for 2 reasons one the signal can easy be jammed, with a laptop you can actually hacked video feeds so a criminal can use it to spy and know a good time to target your business or home.

Just like any other consumer electronic in the end you get what you pay for. Most retailers and sellers make about a 40-80% profit margin, this is after costs like shipping and overhead. That means when you buy a product that costs $100.00 the manufacturer usually has only spent $30 to build it which simply means it’s not a good product and will probably have a working life of about 2 months. There is a reason these products are 1/10 of the price of good and reliable DVR brand names. The type of seller these products attract are online sellers (ebay) and will make profits margins as low as 3% which means they can’t afford to offer good service or allow for RMAs (returns). Cheap products are like disposable razors they are NOT designed to last for a long time and you will end up replacing them every 2 months.

Now some products can be made cheaply like ipod cases, screen protectors, and other simple products with no moving parts or electronics. DVRs need to be good quality as they run 24/7 (20X more than the average electronic device) and process anywhere from 30-480 frames per second which in a year is over 15 billion images, and a good DVR should last 3-5 years.

A true DVR and camera require years of research and development to facilitate the seamless integration of both the hardware and software. DVRs are highly complex systems that must run 24/7, processing millions of images per day and are one of the few products that can’t be made both well and cheaply. Cheap and inexpensive products like Q-see, X10, Swan, Lorex, and other low grade DVR’s and cameras sold by Tiger Direct, Newegg, radio shack Sams Club, are not used by any security professional and should only be used by hobbyists.

To be honest the “frys” productsare Garbage and are not used by anyone who has worked with CCTV or security products. I They are poor quality especially for IR cameras, due to low quality material, low S/N ratio, and low grade CCD image chips.

Also as far as night vision or IR cameras go most do not give good images in the dark. Many companies claim good night vision but there are only a handful of brands who give night vision over 30 feet out doors. normally if a cameras is rated 150 feet of IR it will give you ok images at 30 feet at night and good images at about 20 if rated for 60 feet you might get 15 indoors and will be useless outdoors.

Now one option for wireless is using commercial IP radios which are basically wireless routers on steroids and can offer distances up to 40km of wireless with military encryption, this is not a cheap solution but neither is digging a trench. using these radios not only give you a security infrastructure but also communications infrastructures as well for internet and other purposes (LAN network)

Good radio company

now in order to use this wireless network to distribute video you need to buy IP cameras which are similar to IP cameras only they transmit video over networks instead of a cable.

The company I recommend for CCTV products is Ascendent Technology Group they have a large product line and offer better products then Pelco Honeywell and Bosch and are about %20 cheaper and in my opinion have the best IR outdoor camera line up.

For an IP I recommend uses Ascendent`s IP servers that have a hard rive built in which does 3 things. Allows you use any analog camera and convert it into an IP addressable server. Allows you to distribute video over the network and has an HDD in it so that if the network goes don’t or your NRV (network video recorder) goes down or gets stolen you have data redundancy. some companies use SD