How to Add Night Vision to a Flip Camera

“I want to buy a Flip camera, but I’m not sure if there is night vision for the Flip. Is there a Flip night vision camera or do I need to buy something else?”

Flip cameras don’t include a night vision setting, however, any Flip camera can record in night vision mode as long as you have the right light. Almost any video camera or digital camera has the potential to record night vision. In addition to visible light, camcorder sensors can also record infrared light, which means they can record in what we think of as the dark. There is one setup in particular I find useful for configuring night vision on any camcorder.

Any infrared light source will provide night vision capability to your Flip camera, but the one I like in particular is the Sima SL-20IR infrared light. In addition to providing infrared light, the lighting unit includes a couple of handy features. One helpful component of the SL-20IR is the inclusion of a mounting bracket. The other useful feature of the SL-20IR is easy expansion to more lights.

Sima SL-20IR mounting bracket

Sima makes a variety of LED light solutions besides the infrared light discussed here. Many of their lights come with a mounting bracket giving you more control over light placement. The bracket attaches to the tripod mount on the bottom of the Flip camera, with a shoe for mounting the light. If you connect two of these brackets to a camera, you can get a light source from both sides of the camera lens, which helps reduce shadows and dark spots with both infrared and visible light.

image of a night vision light connected to a portable video camera

Sima infrared light expansion

Each of the Sima lights includes a slot on three sides, allowing you to effectively utilize multiple lights to get far more light than using only one light. A second infrared light helps you get brighter lighting, adding a third or fourth light might be useful for some lighting situations. Because each of the lights has the three mounting slots, you could theoretically combine hundreds of these lights together, although if you plan to regularly use a larger light source, you might want to get a bigger light to start with.

The video below provides a demo of the Sima infrared lighting and a quick sample of what the video looks like when using infrared.