Besides choosing the best locations to install a hidden camera at your business, it’s important to choose one with the right features and capabilities for your application.
These tips will help you choose the right hidden camera for the job. When choosing the right hidden camera to help secure your office, there are a few other things to consider. Assessing your needs and selecting a hidden camera with the right enclosure, features and capabilities, will ensure that you’ll end up with a camera that meets your specific surveillance requirements for your application.
1. Choose a hidden camera that blends in well in your environment
Consider where you’ll be putting your hidden camera. Is the location indoors or outdoors? Choosing a concealment that won't attract suspicion inside an office environment such as an adapter, smoke detector, picture frame, wall clock or thermostat, is key to a successful covert operation.
For tackling outdoor surveillance a floodlight or emergency light can provide the perfect covert surveillance solution to monitor loading docks, the building perimeter and other outdoor areas. Choosing a hidden camera that blends in well in your specific environment provides an additional layer of security.
People act according to their true nature when they do not know they are being watched, and a hidden camera that is well-hidden will capture those actions and provide needed video evidence of any unwanted activity or crime.
2. Capture the right level of detail
How detailed of an image do you need to capture for your surveillance needs? In order to produce detailed video that provides facial identification, you need a hidden camera that produces high-resolution images.
A hidden camera that offers at least 600 TV lines or 700 TV lines of high-resolution video will provide the level of detail needed for most surveillance applications. When considering camera resolution, it’s also necessary to consider the DVR’s recording resolution to ensure the recorded video will provide enough detail for making a positive identification.
The hidden camera’s focal length is something else to consider. Does the camera have the desired focal length to capture the right level of detail for your application? The camera’s focal length is the distance from the center of the camera lens to the subject or area being monitored.
The focal length determines the size of the image and angle of field of view seen by the camera through the lens. Choosing a hidden camera with the right focal length for producing the level of detail you need for your surveillance application is essential.
The camera’s focal length and angle of the field of view determines how much of the scene will be captured by the camera—along with how large individual elements in the scene will be. The angle of the field of view is equally important for producing the detail you need for your surveillance video.
A camera that produces a longer focal length will provide a narrow angle of view and the image produced will be larger with more detail. A hidden camera with a shorter focal length will produce a wider the angle of view and the image produced will be smaller with less detail.
3. Consider your lighting conditions
Do you need to capture images in the dark or in constantly-changing lighting conditions? Choosing a day/night hidden camera with features such as digital day/night capabilities, a built-In IR array or wide dynamic range will help you capture a clear image in various lighting conditions and environments.
For example, a hidden camera equipped with digital day/night improves the camera’s low light sensitivity to capture clear images in low light conditions. Choosing a hidden camera with digital day/night will enable you to capture video in low light environments.
Another feature that improves image quality is wide dynamic range. Choosing a hidden camera with WDR will enable the camera to produce clear images in diverse lighting conditions. WDR balances the contrast of light and shadow and enables the camera to deliver clear video with near perfect exposure in harsh lighting conditions such as in extremely bright, dark or backlit areas within a scene, including doorways.
If you need to capture high quality images at night, a night vision hidden camera with Smart IR or built-in IR LEDs is the ideal choice. The camera’s smart IR or built-in IR LEDs will offer an IR range specific to the camera (anywhere from a 30 ft. IR range or longer).
The IR camera will provide nighttime surveillance, along with the level of detail needed for capturing clear images at night and in total darkness.
4. Choose your video recording solution
If you want to record video with your hidden camera, there are several options:
- Connect your hidden camera to a compatible security system DVR for recording video.
- Purchase a separate DVR or micro DVR that is compatible with the hidden camera.
- Purchase a hidden camera with a built-in DVR.
If you have a video security system already in place that include a DVR, then all you need is to add a hidden camera that is compatible with your system to provide covert surveillance.
If the hidden camera you purchase does not come with a built-in DVR, you can purchase a separate compatible DVR or a micro DVR to record video. Micro DVRs are about the size of a pocket camera and are easy to conceal.
Finally, purchasing a hidden camera with a built-in DVR provides an all-in-one solution for covert surveillance. With a built-in DVR you don’t have to worry about camera compatibility, and you are ensured that video recording will be seamless for your application.
5. Select your power source
When choosing a hidden camera for your covert surveillance application, don’t forget about power. You can choose from a wired or wireless hidden camera that is powered by an AC power cable or battery-powered.
For non-permanent surveillance applications, wireless battery-powered covert cameras are ideal for providing the flexibility needed to move your hidden camera to another location. A wireless battery-powered solution provides the flexibility needed. A battery-powered hidden camera with motion detection recording will provide recording based on motion, which will prolong battery life.
For permanent covert installations, a wired hidden camera with a constant supply of power (from an AC power cable) is a good choice. A covert camera with a constant power supply ensures you have constant power and eliminates the problem of having to worry about changing the battery.