Video systems consist of three main parts. You need a fast lens, a powerful image intensifier, and a video camera. The lens projects the sky on the sensitive photocatode, and the camera records the amplified image from the intensifier's fluorescent screen.
Most important for the power of the whole video system is the image intensifier. Preferably it should have a gain >10.000, a photo cathode diameter >18 mm, and as little noise and image distortion as possible. There are different generations of intensifiers available.
To get an image intensifier at a reasonable price you chould check for military surplus devices. We made good experiences with intensifiers sold by Stano components, Dedal, Delft Photonics, Hamamatsu, and Proxitronic.
The type of observation you intend to carry out determines the lens you should use. Most important for good system performance is the f-number of the objective. The lens should be as fast as possible. The longer the focal length of the lens, the smaller the field of view and the fainter the average meteor recorded by the system. The plain number of meteors recorded per hour is often independent from the focal length, only the percentage of sporadic meteors is increasing with the limiting magnitude.
We can distinguish between three types of video systems.
There are only a few constraints for the video camera. If you do not use an integrated system with a CCD chip attached to the image intensifier, you should choose an CCD video module. Every Camcorder can be used, but also ordinary CCD video surveillance cameras do a good job. The camera does not necessarily have to record the time, but a superimposed clock in the video image makes the following analysis easier. Manual gain and brightness control may be of help under certain circumstances but is not a must either.