infra red light to video badgers?

  keef66 15:10 16 Apr 2007

tenuous link to computing I know, but I like it in here, and you're all so knowledgeable.
I have a consumer sony mini dv camcorder which allegedly shoots in very low light and I thought it would be useful for badger watching. However, sitting in the gloom the other night it became apparent that it's Super Night Shot ability extends only about 2 metres, which unless the stripy boys become very very friendly, is useless for filming anything other than my own feet.

I think it works by sending I.R. light; there's a red light at the front when I turn on super night shot, so I was wondering if I could use a portable external I.R. light to film them from a practical distance.

  Diemmess 15:19 16 Apr 2007

If you are sure it is INFRAred that the camera is responding to, then have a look at this link.
click here

  €dstowe 15:28 16 Apr 2007

I remember some infra red filters that you could get to apply to the front of the portable (on-camcorder) lights to filter out the visible light.

The biggest problem is always that you have to take on trust what you are videoing as you won't be able to see it on the finder screen. Is the CCD sensor sensitive to IR? If not, you're wasting your time as it won't pick anything up.

The cameras they use on the BBC Spring (or Autumn) Watch programmes are designed for the purpose, not just any old camcorder with a filter stuck on the lens (and light).

I've not done any IR movie work but I have done some IR still photography. It ain't easy! Coupled with not being able to see what you're doing, the different wavelength of IR compared with visible light makes the focussing different and unless your lenses have an IR adjustment point, again you are wasting your time.

  keef66 16:37 16 Apr 2007

I'm not sure it is infra-red, just guessing. I can see very clear close-up images in the viewfinder which are that kind of night vision greenish colour, but beyond a few feet eveything's dark, which suggests it's relying on some kind of illumination from the camcorder, rather than amplifying what little natural light there is.
Maybe as I am clearly out of my depth I'll wait till later in the year when they emerge with their cubs before dusk.

Interesting link Diemmess; I'll have a look tonight from home, they actually mention badgers!

  Diemmess 16:48 16 Apr 2007

My most recent camera uses a strong beam of red for focussing in poor light.
It is automatic, dependant on lighting conditions, but I don't think there is much Infra about it nor does it affect the resulting picture, so I guess it has a focus-only function and cancels at the moment of taking the shot.

  The Brigadier 16:50 16 Apr 2007

Be carefull if filming Badgers they can attack and have VERY sharp teeth.
The are also protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981.

  Belatucadrus 16:52 16 Apr 2007

If light pollution for the neighbours isn't a problem, ordinary lights may work, the badgers around our place are completely unperturbed by house lights, auto security lights or camera flash. They are however sensitive to movement and if they see you move generally vacate the area sharpish.

  keef66 17:04 16 Apr 2007

Mindful of The Brigadier's comments about the badger's protected status I don't want to risk disturbing them. They are in woodland and would have to travel quite a way to experience artificial light, so I imagine they would be suspicious of visible lighting.

I'll tick as resolved for now and wait for the lighter evenings / more adventurous badger cubs

  Belatucadrus 11:55 17 Apr 2007

On the matter of attack by badgers, I've always found them timid and most likely to run for it if you get near them. But as there is a local documented case of a badger attacking somebody click here I thought I'd see what else there was. I could only find one other incidence and that was of one near Plymouth click here that while clearly aggressive it didn't press home the attacks.
So while attempting to cuddle one isn't recommended, I don't think the chances of being mauled by one can actually be calculated.

  keef66 12:43 17 Apr 2007

I'm not worried about being gnawed by one; I've done a lot of badger watching over the years and always found them inquisitive but nervous.

If I want bite marks I'll have another go at cleaning the dog's teeth.

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