For nighttime surveillance, it’s difficult for an ordinary IR illuminator (which has a fixed light intensity) to generate a one-size-fits-all light condition for objects at different distances. Often, we will get overexposed (underexposed) image for an object which is too close to (too far from) the illuminator/camera in the nighttime. To partly resolve such problems, a multi-intensity IR illuminator was proposed which can emit periodically varying intensities of IR light toward an object. However, two major problems remain to be resolved when using such an illuminator, i.e., the “synchronization issue” for background modeling and the “viewing issue” for manual monitoring. In this paper, we propose a novel synchronous multi-intensity infrared (SMIIR) illuminator hardware design to help address these two issues. Hopefully this innovation will open the door to a new era of nighttime surveillance.