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CCTV Security Camera Ghost: Real or Fake? Scientific Explanation Here

Jenny Hu3/23/2022
CCTV Security Camera Ghost: Real or Fake? Scientific Explanation Here

Have you ever read the CCTV camera ghost stories online or watched the videos of ghosts captured on CCTV cameras?

How do you feel then?

Funny? Creepy? Or scared but love watching ghost related movies?

It is natural that the CCTV camera ghost videos might spark your curiosity about whether the security camera ghosts are fake or authentic.

So with this post today, we’ll examine the surveillance camera ghosts from a scientific point of view and offer the best explanations.

If you still have any questions about the CCTV camera ghosts after your reading, please kindly leave your comments below.

Ghosts Captured on CCTV Cameras - Fake or Real

School CCTV camera caught a ghost slamming doors and rocking lockers at night.

Graveyard CCTV security camera captures ghost videos.

From the security camera ghost at Disneyland to the ghost caught on CCTV cameras in India, London, or British pub, there are numerous reports and videos of alleged ghost traces online.

Sometimes, the security camera ghost footage appears to be so real that it’s hard to tell the authenticity.

Truth is, however, the ghosts caught on CCTV cameras from Youtube, instead of being the evidence of apparition presence, are merely the results of good editing with graphics or animation software.

The purpose, as we’ve discovered, is easy to understand – the unscrupulous photographers are keen to grab your eyeballs and bring a viral hit for more profit.

Or in some cases, the CCTV camera ghost video is just a prank or hoax for fun. After all, almost everyone loves a good ghost story.

Similarly, some local and small-sized media would also exploit the CCTV camera ghost stories as their marketing strategy to drive traffic and draw more readers in.

Though these tricks may increase thousands of visitors within a certain period of time, say, in one day, on the other hand, the websites are also misleading their readers deliberately and harming their credibility.

And that’s also why such “security cameras catch ghosts” stories seldom appear on the mainstream media.

History of CCTV Camera Ghost Hunters & What Devices Do They Use

So who are the ones that capture the CCTV camera real ghosts?

Actually, claims of catching a spirit in a photograph were made as early as the 1860s, when an amateur photographer, William Mumler alleged to have caught the apparition of his dead cousin in the image.

With the accessibility of cameras growing, it turns out the ghost-like apparitions are actually produced by exploiting techniques like compositing images and double exposures.

Even now, such tricks are still being utilized by the scheming persons for their profit. And so-called CCTV camera ghost hunters, are basically amateurs or part-time hobbyists with little science background and training.

Believe it or not, some ghost hunters are still using the 720p (or even lower resolution) security cameras and DVRs to capture and save CCTV camera ghosting images.

One of the common devices surveillance camera ghost hunters use is the infrared security cameras, which work by detecting variations in heat rather than light.

As the heat is far less transient than light, it will still remain when the source of heat is removed.

So, if someone enters a room and then leave, a heat signature can be captured by the infrared security cameras, which are often over-interpreted as CCTV camera ghosts by the hunters, who fail to adequately factor in alternative explanations.

Editor’s Tip: The CCTV camera ghosts, rather than being as a supernatural phenomenon, are often the products of skillful scammers by exploiting the photography tricks or utilizing low-quality devices.

Scientific Explanation: What Causes Ghosting on a CCTV Camera

But what if your own CCTV camera catches “ghost” or something paranormal?

Actually, even a high resolution security camera is also likely to (much less odds compared with low-resolution ones) capture ghost-like images due to other factors like unnoticed shadows or reflections.

Now read through the following scientific explanations to figure out what might also causes ghosting on a CCTV camera as well.

1. Lens Flare

Normally, the light doesn’t directly go into the security camera sensor. Instead, it would hit the lens surface.

As the lens glass is not optically neutral, it results in the light becoming visible on the lens and the sensor as well, producing an undesirable artifact, like CCTV camera ghost within the image.

2. Glare from Dirt, Shadows, Smudges, Bugs, etc.

More often than not, the ghost caught on surveillance cameras turns out to be the merely flash reflections of dust, insects, bugs, mist, smudges, unnoticed shadow, etc.

In such cases, it will appear out of focus blob, and move somewhat erratically.

Watch the video of a “ghost” caught on Reolink RLC-410, which is much likely to be a part of a spider's web.

3. Improper Camera Settings

Ghost on CCTV cameras can also be caused by slow shutter speed, high gain, high DNR, high DWDR and smoothing settings.

Taking the noise reduction for example, the higher the noise reduction is, the worse the CCTV camera ghosting effect becomes.

Usually around 35-40 noise reduction is a decent balance between less noise and too much security IP camera ghosting.

Fact Check: How to Fix the CCTV Camera Ghosting Problems

Based on the possible causes of ghosts on CCTV cameras above, here we’ve rounded up some practical methods to solve the CCTV surveillance camera ghosting problems.

Solution 1: Get a lens hood to eliminate the ghost in security cameras resulting from lens flare.

Solution 2: Clean your security camera lens on a regular basis to get rid of the possible smudges, bugs, fingerprints, dust, etc., thus removing the possible CCTV camera ghost effect.

Solution 3: You may disable the shutter speed, DNR, DWDR first, and start increasing each one at a time to strike a balance between them and too much security camera ghosting.

Solution 4: Choose higher resolution security cameras, like 5MP security cameras to obtain more image details. And this will help you pinpoint things often mistaken for surveillance camera ghosts, such as reflections and video artifacts.

Solution 5: Make sure the video cable is of good quality and is not coiled in a large number of loops.

Solution 6: Ghost on CCTV surveillance cameras could also be the result of bad connections or a ground loop. If so, you may get a ground loop isolator to remove the security IP camera ghost effect.

Wrap Up

Now with the video editing software widely available, almost everyone can make a CCTV camera ghost video in a breeze.

Just like the tricky hotel security camera ghost footage and the Disney security camera ghost video, they are merely what the video makers expect you to see and to believe in virtue of the light, shooting angles or other techniques.

In case you want to try it on your own – to capture CCTV camera “ghosts” (or bugs in fact), Reolink can also offer you a wide range of choices.

With any luck, your CCTV camera ghost videos might be a huge hit on Youtube. And if you really make it in the future, don’t forget to share with us here!


All Comments Are Welcome

Jenny is an editor from Reolink. Her posts are helpful for homeowners, undergraduates, small business owners, and pretty much anyone who needs security tips for a worry-free world. If you want to say hi, you can email her at (replace # with @) to connect!