Simple Steps to Set Up Your Own Custom Covert Recorder
Why Hidden Cameras?
A hidden camera can be installed covertly in your home or office and will give you the evidence you need in case of theft or vandalism. And of course, nanny cams or "granny cams" can help you gather crucial information about the kind of care your child or elderly relative is getting when you're not around. Hidden cameras can be disguised as almost any common household object, from an alarm clock to a light switch. If you can imagine it, it can be a custom hidden camera. BrickHouse Security offers a huge selection of pre-made hidden cameras - and we can also teach you to build a hidden camera of your own. The first step in making a hidden camera is figuring out if a covert camera placement makes sense for your needs. If you're looking to monitor a vast area like a large warehouse, farmland or a parking lot, odds are you're going to want a more robust camera system capable of covering a wider field of view, usually from a higher, perched location. More extravagant systems allow for multi-camera setups, which allow you to take in more visual area. Multi-camera systems are great for outdoor surveillance, or when you need to monitor multiple potential entranceways to your home or business. Not only that, they also act as a visual deterrent, discouraging criminal activity by their mere presence.
Where to Place Your Hidden Camera
Once you've decided that a hidden camera meets your needs, selecting the ideal housing for it is the most important part of your installation. Are you looking to set up a hidden cam to monitor your nanny? Find an object that wouldn't be out of place in a child's room: a box of baby wipes or a tissue box, for example. While many people instantly think of stuffed animals when they think about nanny cams, those furry pals only make sense as a hidden camera if they're going to stay on a shelf in your child's room. Don't try to hide a camera in your child's favorite toy. He may pick it up and toss it around, and your babysitter or nanny may pull it off the shelf to soothe him when he's upset, thereby messing up your field of view and negating the information you're trying to gather in the first place. For a lot more tips on hidden camera placement, click here.
How to Make a Hidden Camera
Once you've selected your ideal housing, hollow out any stuffing or contents of the enclosure and cut a hole that matches up with the camera lens. Place the lens completely flush to the hole in the housing and affix it with electrical or duct tape as necessary. Don't use glue unless you're absolutely certain that you won't want to move your camera from object to object. Once you've glued it in, it can be nearly impossible to change your camera's location without damaging it.
You can choose a tissue box, a hollow plant stand, a box of cereal... you name it. Or you can get even more creative and use a common office object like a book. Hollowing out a book can be done in a few simple steps. Once you've completed those steps, use a drill to auger out a lens-sized hole in the book. Mount your hidden camera, once again with the lens flush to the hole, and set it on your shelf - it's that easy.
If you plan to use your hidden cam in a given enclosure more than once, make sure you can re-access the enclosure for multiple uses. If you've sewn the camera into a sack of potatoes or taped it inside a plant stand, you'll want to create an easy access point (or a flap of some kind) for removal and replacement. Velcro works well in many cases, as does industrial-strength double-sided tape or a needle and thread.
And make sure you test your footage in the environment where you'll be using it. If you can't easily do that, try to simulate the conditions of your shooting area as best you can. Pay particular attention to your cam's shooting angle. Nothing is more frustrating than thinking you've caught a thief in the act, only to realize that your camera was placed too high or low in the room to capture his face.
The amount of available lighting in your room is crucial, too. Test your camera in its enclosure with the room lights on and off to make sure your camera is capable of producing a satisfactory image. Some hidden cameras are designed to shoot in extremely low light; Infrared (IR) or "Night Vision" models can capture images in complete darkness.
Which Hidden Camera Works Best?
There are many small hidden cameras that will work well in a sealed enclosure. But the Camscura Micro, a revolutionary device exclusively from BrickHouse Security, is specifically designed for the purpose. Retailing for around 100 bucks, this tiny unit is only 3.5" long, 1" tall, and 1.5" wide, and can be placed in almost anything you want.
The Camscura Micro has up to 24 hours of battery life, or an astonishing 14-day battery life on standby mode. If you're leaving your home for a vacation, or leaving your child in someone else's care while you're at work, your homemade hidden camera will be your eyes while you're away. The Camscura Micro records based on motion or vibration, so it won't capture any unnecessary footage of an empty room. All of your covert video will be stored on an SD card so you can view it at your convenience on your PC.
Is This All Legal?
You may also be wondering if there are any legal restrictions to setting up a hidden camera. As long as you're not placing the camera in a bathroom, a changing room, or anywhere else where someone has a right to a "reasonable expectation of privacy," you're generally well within your legal rights. Hidden cameras also avoid breaking laws by not recording audio. For more information on hidden camera laws, click here.
Published May 9th, 2013