Number Plate Capture with a Trail Camera.
Using any Trail Camera effectively requires planning and consideration of the intended target and their actions, expecting to capture the number plate of a speeding car under any lighting conditions including night time AND effectively hide the camera from discovery during day and night is a VERY DIFFICULT task.
The requirements for success are consideration of the Camera Location, Vehicle Speed and Lighting.
The location needs to be selected to give a good view of the plate as “square on” to the camera as possible.
You need to attempt to have the vehicle slowed down, such as on a sharp road bend or at a “T” intersection.
Daytime captures are best with an approaching target however at night the headlights will blind the camera so a departing target (rear of vehicle) would be required.
As number plates are “retro reflective” this means the lighting needs to be reduced, this is counter intuitive but the Trail camera uses an IR Flash which makes the number plate “flare” and become unreadable. The flash can to be turned off or disconnected, if this is not possible you can cover the unit. Be aware of any camera exposure device commonly incorporated in the flash unit, these need to remain uncovered.
Some Trail Cameras allow the flash level to be adjusted, while some can be switched off completely.
Moonlight or background street lighting is often sufficient for a reasonable picture, however tail lights and number plate lights will “flare” the plate.
Using the native resolution of the sensor (normally around 5Mpix) and taking multiple pictures will give the best chance of a readable capture.
Computer software is available to adjust the picture, often converting to black and white or viewing a negative image will improve the contrast of a blurry picture. Other software allows correction of blurred photos if the direction and vehicle speed is input.
However - none of this will ever be as good as what you see on CSI !