Video Still Photography


Many models of modern digital camcorder provide some method of permitting the user to take still pictures too - these may be recorded to either the main media (tape or disc) or to a separate memory card. In some models this capability can also be combined with the low light ability giving the investigator a 'night vision' still camera.

To take a still image there is normally a dedicated 'Photo' button on the camcorder effectively meaning it can be used just like any other digital stills camera, in some this can be used even whilst taking video footage. This is great for the investigator who does not wish to carry around a camera and a camcorder. Even more usefully, it is possible on many models to even take stills from the previously recorded video footage as it is played back. This still taking ability means that it is easy for the investigator who wishes to obtain some stills to import into a computer for further analysis or for use on websites and investigation reports. It not necessary to download the entire video footage which can be time consuming and uses a lot of hard drive space.

There is of course a downside to all this - as mentioned earlier, the number of pixels on a video image chip does not need to very high and are often less than 1 mega pixel, this means that stills will be of low resolution even when compared to images taken on cheap dedicated digital still cameras which typically have at least 3 mega pixels or more. Some camcorders do offer larger image chips with up to 3 mega pixels, some even offer other photographic tools such as an in-built flash or the ability to add powerful flashguns to the camcorder but such abilities are not yet a proper substitute for using a proper digital camera.

Nonetheless this still taking ability should not be overlooked as a valuable tool for the paranormal investigator, providing one is aware of the limitations and works within them.