Posted by: Loren Coleman on November 17th, 2005
What might be one of the most indespensable tools for a cryptozoologist to own that is easily available to most investigators?
What are we to do about that old cliche, “Oh, if I only had a camera with me when I saw that thing.”
Mark Rollins, a New England environmental health and safety manager, has a suggestion. Rollins is the artist who did the detailed maps you will find in The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and Other Mystery Denizens of the Deep and several of the illustrations and the cover for the 2004 book Thunderbirds: America’s Living Legends of Giant Birds.
Here’s what Rollins thinks could develop into the “indespensable cryptozoologist tool.”
One of the oft-cited issues that face us is “I missed the photo” or “I couldn’t turn on my camcorder fast enough”. Even the time to take a camera out of a bag can let a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity slip by.
But of course I have a solution; actually a two-tiered solution.
CVS [Consumer Value Stores, which began as a small pharmacy chain in New England but is now nationwide] sells a small, digital camcorder. It takes about 20 minutes of medium quality (i.e. broadcast TV) video with sound, and has a backlight color screen. It is rudimentary, with no image stabilization and no zoom. However, as it is solid state, it is essentially immune to bumps and drops, and it is cheap (less than $30) so if you drop it in a stream, who cares. As there are no moving parts and it runs on AA batteries, it’s a great tool to have. You can easily (with a paperclip) pop open the case and change batteries.
The way one would use this camcorder would be to wear it around your neck while hiking, or have it in your car. Press “record” so it is CONTINUOUSLY recording video. Then if you do not see anything of note for around 20 minutes, stop recording and then delete the video you just took, then start recording again. Repeat as needed. When that Bigfoot (or even coyote) runs across the path in front of you, you can aim the already-recording camcorder and grab at least a few critical seconds of video, which is far better than none. In a vehicle you could mount it in some way, although it lacks a tripod socket.
What you are supposed to do when done with it, is to return to CVS for ‘processing’ where they keep the camcorder and give you a DVD for $12. However, there are NUMEROUS websites that show you how to make a cable and where to get free software to download the movies yourself to your Mac or PC. There are even ways to hack the video quality, so you get mini-DV quality video, albeit only about 10 minutes.
Let us know here, via a comment, if anyone is using this system and your success at “capturing” rapidly appearing images, like a coyote running across that neighborhood road or a frequently appearing Bigfoot in a hotspot.