Many of our customers have also found applications for hidden cameras in both their home and business environments. Locations such as banks, for example, use a combination of wireless and wired, visible and hidden cameras. The visibly apparent surveillance cameras are used to intimidate potential criminals, while the "invisible" video surveillance cameras continue photographing them if, and when, the wired surveillance cameras are disabled. Most business owners want cameras in clear sight to discourage the "would be" culprit from doing anything illegal in their places of business. The hidden cameras, (almost always wireless so they can be placed anywhere) are the ones that, through the use of recordings from surveillance dvr's, provide the information to the police about who may have committed the crime after they've disabled the visible surveillance system cameras. To get an overview of our hidden cameras or nanny cams click here
Night Vision Terms & Frequently asked Questions
LED: Light Emitting Diode. A semiconductor source that emits light. This light can be in a range of color visible to the eye (such as the LED on a PC monitor which indicates that power is on), or can be invisible to the naked eye, such as infrared LEDs on a surveillance camera or remote control.
IR: Infrared Light which is invisible to the naked eye, with a wavelength longer than that of red light. Infrared light is used for night vision LEDs on surveillance cameras and accessories, and in remote controls.
LUX: A unit measurement of the intensity of light. For example, the light of a full moon is about 0.1 lux, while bright sunlight is about 100,000 lux. Cameras rated for 0.0 Lux are considered to be night vision cameras.
Can I see an image in pitch-black conditions?
Yes. The infrared LED illuminators act as an additional light source for the surveillance camera, giving you an image even when natural light sources are absent. The amount of light needed to see a picture is referred to as lux. The lower the lux the better the camera can see in low light. Infrared LED cameras are considered to be rated 0 lux, meaning they can see with zero light.
What is the maximum distance I can see?
The distance you can see will greatly depend on the quality of the camera lens, the lighting conditions, and the number of IR LEDs. However, the general rule of thumb for low lighting is 2 feet per infrared LED illuminator under ideal conditions. It is important to note that depending on the surveillance system application, objects at or beyond this range may be partially or completely obscured.
What is the ideal number of infrared LED illuminators?
The ideal number of infrared LEDs depends on the video surveillance application, and it is important to note that having more infrared LEDs does not mean you will receive a better image in low light. If the area you plan to monitor is open and the visual objects are at a distance, you may wish to have more LEDs. However, if the area you plan to monitor is closed and the objects appear rather close (under 15 ft.), it is recommended to have fewer infrared LEDs. If infrared LED illuminators are placed too close to an object, the object may become too bright, and it will be harder to identify the object.
Can I see an image in color or just in black and white?
This will depend on the amount of light emitted from sources other than the infrared LED illuminators. The more the surveillance camera has to depend on the infrared LED illuminators to see, the more color will be lost in the image. With most surveillance cameras, once the infrared LEDs are illuminated, the camera will automatically switch to black and white to deliver better clarity.
Why would I use infrared LED illuminators?
The human eye cannot see infrared light, but a Surveillance Camera can. The invisible light can be used to illuminate an area to allow for night surveillance without the need for additional artificial lighting. Other benefits of using infrared LED illuminators are that they have low power consumption compared to regular lighting, they are lightweight, and have a long lifespan since they only illuminate in low lighting. In general, infrared LED illuminators will increase the viewing range in areas such as warehouses, garages, hallways, entrances, etc.
Where should I place infrared LED illuminators (if not already attached to the surveillance camera)?
Infrared LED illuminators should be placed above the surveillance camera to ensure the greatest amount of illumination. It is not recommended that IRs be placed next to the camera, as it may leave one side of the image darker than the other.
Although the light emitted from the infrared LED illuminators is not visible to the human eye, the surveillance camera sees the light in much the same way as we see white light. If infrared LED illuminators are placed in the camera’s field of view, the image may not be visible or may become too bright, as this would be similar to shining a flashlight directly at the camera.
Are infrared illuminators safe?
Yes, Infrared LED illuminators are harmless.
Are infrared LED illuminators invisible?
Almost. A low red glow is visible, however most people would not notice the infrared LEDs on a surveillance camera.
What is an IR Cut Filter?
An Automatic IR Mechanical Cut Filter blocks infrared light, but allows colors visible to the naked eye to pass through. During low/no light conditions, the IR Cut Filter moves away from the lens to let in100% of the infrared light for maximum night vision performance. This results in the surveillance camera image changing to Black and White for better image quality.
NOTE: Not all Day/Night Cameras have an Auto IR Cut filter.
Surveillance System Sales on the Rise
Hidden Cameras in the Work Place
While State and Federal Government laws regarding the use of hidden cameras in the workplace are less clearly-defined than covert surveillance for home use, it’s generally acceptable to use spy cameras to record video in public places—including places of business, restaurants, hospitals, convenience stores and retail stores.
It’s also generally legal to record video at public gathering spaces, including town squares and parks, and on city streets, as well as shopping malls. However, expectation of privacy laws apply—for example, it’s illegal to use a hidden camera to record video in public bathrooms, locker rooms, hotel rooms and other private areas.
If you are an employer or small business owner, it’s generally legal to use covert cameras in the workplace, without having to legally notify employees of the presence of hidden cameras.
If you are an employer and business owner of a large enterprise that employs union workers, you can follow the guidelines established by the National Labor Relations Board, regarding using hidden cameras in the workplace. Since the State and Federal Government laws are less clearly defined, employers can work with the appropriate trade unions to establish rules governing the use of hidden security cameras at a large corporation that employs union workers.
And, similarly to placing hidden cameras for use in public places, it’s advisable to consult with a lawyer before installing the hidden cameras in your place of business.
Legality of Hidden Camera Video Surveillance in the Home
Hidden camera laws vary by state; however, it’s generally legal to record surveillance video with a spy camera, nanny cam or hidden camera in your home without consent of the person being recorded. The use of hidden cameras is generally acceptable in common areas of the home, but not acceptable where subjects have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as bathrooms and bedrooms.
To ensure your state allows the use of hidden cameras, it’s best to research the specific laws provided by your state. It’s also important to note that it is never legal in the United States to use hidden surveillance cameras to record video to be used for malicious intent or blackmail.
Recording Audio with a Hidden Camera
The laws regarding recording covert audio are much more established than the laws regarding covert video surveillance. In general, the law defines covert audio devices as anything that is intentionally designed to covertly intercept oral communication. Each state has its own laws regarding the use of covert audio. However, federal law, known as the USC (United States Code), supersedes state law.
State and federal laws state that it is currently legal for law enforcement agencies to record audio for covert surveillance applications for official duties as a government agent without the consent of the party being recorded.
If you are a business owner, using a common camcorder with a built-in microphone by itself is completely legal. However, when the camcorder is concealed in something that is designed for covert use, using the covert device to capture video and audio from a hidden location would be in violation of federal law and many state laws dealing with manufacturing and possession of covert and audio devices.
It is also currently illegal to record audio without the consent of one or both parties being recorded. Recording phone conversations is also illegal without the consent of the party being recorded. Additionally, it is legal for law enforcement agencies to record audio for covert surveillance applications for official duties as a government agent without the consent of the party being recorded.
Two-way mirror is specially treated glass that allows light to pass through in both directions, but which also reflects light back into the room. If lights are off on one side of the mirror and on in the other, those on the bright side will see a reflection and those on the dark side will see through the glass.
- Because they function as windows, two-way mirrors are generally set into the wall; they are not hung on a wall. If the mirror is not flush with the wall, it is most likely not a two-way mirror.
To test the mirror. Cup your hands around your eyes and place your face next to the mirror. If it is a two-way mirror, you will be able to see something on the other side-unless there is absolutely no light on that side.
If you can, turn out the lights. The two-way mirror only works if light is more intense on one side. With the lights off, you will see through a two-way mirror. It may take a few moments to detect the mirror as your eyes adjust.
Tap the mirror. A two-way mirror will produce a hollow sound like a window because there is no backing on the other side. A regular mirror will sound dull.
The "fingernail test," recommended by hoax emails and passed around online, does not work. In fact, it simply reveals where the reflective surface is on the mirror; some mirrors have the reflective surface placed on the surface, and some have glass laid over it.
Be ready to get strange looks if you try to detect a two-way mirror in public!
Though breaking a mirror will show you exactly what you have been looking at, it is not recommended.
Surveillance devices can be life savers. They can also be intimidating. If you are new to the world of hidden cameras, consider a built-in self- recording DVR. If you select a battery powered device, it will be as simple as plug and play. KJB’s removable SD cards make it easy to capture video and quickly retrieve it for viewing. A battery powered device with a removable SD card is a user friendly first step into the world of DIY surveillance. Here are a few popular and easily handled styles:
Smoke Dectector Camera/DVRs come in either side view of
bottome view mounts and they all feature Nivght Vision for low
The Hidden Camera Clock Radio/DVR is our most popular hidden camera. This simple
clock blends into just about any household or business setting.
Finally it's hard to know when you might need to record footage around your home or business
but having a weather resistant hidden camera means you've at least got a plan. The Hidden
Camera/DVR Rock has a heat sensor that conserves battery life and also has a quick auto start.
The biggest difference between the DVR and NVR is that the DVR records from analog streams provided from analog cameras; the NVR records video streams that have already been encoded at the cameras.
Though both are often termed digital, the DVR compresses digitally analog video feeds and stores them on a hard drive. The term digital in this case is referring to the compression and storage technology, not the transmission of the video images. The DVR therefore has to be located near the analog feeds.
In contrast, the NVR stores digital images directly from the IP-network. It records video streams that have already been encoded at the cameras. Therefore, you find no video connectors anywhere on a NVR. It’s input and output consists of compressed IP data and encoded video. This makes it possible for the NVR to be located anywhere on the network of a business enterprise– at the monitoring center, adjacent to camera clusters, on the edge of a network, collected together in a hardened environment. In addition, recordings on any one unit can be remotely viewed by a number of operators spread across the network simultaneously without affecting one another.
Selecting the Nanny Cam for Your Home
Working parents are increasingly turning towards hidden surveillance cameras within their homes to keep a watchful eye on their children and their caregivers. Surveillance cameras used for this purpose have garnered their own section of the market and are often referred to as nanny cams.
Typically, these cameras are covert in nature and come in a variety of technical platforms such as wired, wireless, and IP-based models. In addition to the various camera styles available, the hidden configuration options are virtually endless. This article acts as a guide to the leading nanny cam technology available, and provides some practical tips to consider when selecting this style of camera to install within your home.
Which technology is right for you?
We will briefly consider the two main technology formats nanny cams come in. These include wired versions, and wireless versions. We will review some of the positives and negatives that may be associated with each style to assist you in the selection process.
Wired nanny cams -- This is the oldest style of covert camera, which typically consists of a hidden spy camera concealed within an object that is connected to a nearby video recording device. This is a very reliable method of video capture and recording. However, there are drawbacks to this style of camera. Because both the camera and recording device require a direct connection and close proximity to one another, it can be difficult to conceal two units instead of one.
Wireless nanny cams -- This style is generally a more popular choice than wired versions because they are easier to conceal without wires to hinder the process. A wireless nanny cam can be set up to electronically send a signal to a video receiver or a recording unit such as a DVR or PC. Unlike the wired models, these receiving units are not required to be in the same room as the camera itself.
Older forms of wireless cameras were often plagued by interference from such things as satellite receivers or 2.4GHz cordless telephones. However, new wireless advancements have greatly improved not only the strength but also security of wireless transmissions.
Choosing the right hidden configuration for your home
A simple search on the Internet for hidden nanny cams will reveal a wide selection of configurations and choices. Once you determine which technology is most appropriate for your surveillance plans, you will need to determine the most fitting way to conceal your camera. Some important considerations include:
Stay with the practical -- You can find hidden nanny cams that come hidden behind objects as simple as a digital clock to something as bizarre as a cookie jar. When choosing which type of object to go with, it is best to stay with the practical. You want to select something that will truly blend into the surroundings, and that can realistically remain in one location without seeming out of place.
Select an object that can realistically monitor critical areas -- Another important aspect to consider is selecting an object that is capable of viewing the widest possible area. A hidden nanny cam disguised as an air freshener that is plugged into an electrical outlet near the floor may be too limiting for a larger room. Perhaps a smoke detector placed in the ceiling in the center of a large room is more appropriate.
Carefully consider placement -- Proper camera placement can be the defining difference between a successful surveillance system and an unsuccessful one. You will likely have to consider installing multiple nanny cams concealed in various locations throughout your home in order to ensure thorough monitoring. In addition, pay careful attention to camera placement to ensure all areas of interest are thoroughly covered.
Deciding to incorporate a hidden nanny cam system within your home can be a difficult decision to make. There are many practical and legal aspects to consider before moving forward with an installation. However, if you are careful to design a system with a proper purpose in mind, you can greatly benefit from utilizing this technology.