Posts Tagged ‘ covert video cameras ’

Covert Video Surveillance

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

There are basically two types of video surveillance:  1. Overt video surveillance and 2. Covert video surveillance.  Each has its own requirements and purpose and Security Camera King has the equipment you need for both types.  In this article we’ll take a look at both methods and the equipment involved.

Let’s begin with overt surveillance.  Overt video surveillance is a type of surveillance where there is no attempt to hide the fact that you are video recording something.  Generally, the camera may be exposed to the point that it is very easy to detect.

In fact, this is a secondary advantage of overt video surveillance.   Studies have been conducted that prove that visible video recording components (cameras, for example) are enough to deter acts of crime.  At any rate, overt surveillance basically means that the individual or business doing the recording doesn’t mind letting you know they are doing it.  Generally speaking, most cameras used for overt recording are box, bullet, or dome cameras.

One of the primary benefits of overt as compared to covert video surveillance is that the camera(s) can be mounted in a place that provides the best camera shot without regard to exposure of the equipment.  Covert video surveillance is usually just the opposite; the camera has to be hidden from view but still be able to get the shot you’re looking for.

Covert video surveillance on the other hand requires a bit more planning.  Speaking of which, before we go any further please take note of the following paragraph:

A word of caution.  Each state has different laws governing the use of cameras and especially audio recorders without the subject’s knowledge.  Make sure you confirm your state’s laws before attempting to record anyone covertly.  This doesn’t mean that you can’t record improper or criminal activity but planned, deliberate, covert recording may require special concessions on the part of the person recording.  If you choose to hide your cameras or if they are readily visible some states require signs be posted in plain sight such as, “This area is protected by video and audio recording devices.”

Department stores, convenience stores, gas stations, and many other businesses apply to prefer to use overt methods because of the actual benefits they realize from patrons just knowing the equipment is there.  Although obvious display of digital video recording equipment does act as an excellent deterrent it obviously isn’t 100 percent effective (i.e. people still commit acts of crime knowing full well that they are being recorded).

The premise behind covert video surveillance is of course, just the opposite.  Most covert video surveillance involves hiding the camera and equipment from plain sight or using hidden or disguised cameras.  Since modern cameras are so small, they can be built in to just about any device and they can be small.  For example take a look at Security Camera King’s Product# HC-SCREW-WC; this camera is in the shape of a Phillips head screw or Product# HC-PEN, where the camera and DVR are all within the pen and the pen actually writes too!

It’s not always necessary for the camera’s disguise to be tiny.  Large objects can disguise cameras also making it almost impossible to detect that recording is in use.  For example Security Camera King’s Product# HC-BMBOX-DVR is a fairly large boom box that works as a boom box but also contains a camera and SD card type DVR (Digital Video Recorder).

There are no specific instructions on how to conduct overt video surveillance, but there are a few general items to consider:

  • Remember that if you can’t see the camera from the area you are recording, then the camera can’t see you.  This is why disguised cameras as so useful.   Rather than hiding a fairly large and obvious box camera, you can use a disguised camera in plain sight.
  • Make sure you take environmental conditions into account.  For example, make sure there is plenty of light or make sure you use a camera that doesn’t require much light.
  • Even though the camera may be well disguised, if possible place in somewhere out of the way to increase the chance of not being discovered.

Security Camera King offers a tremendous amount of hidden or disguised cameras for covert video surveillance.  To see them click on “Security Cameras” on the left had side of the web page then check out all three categories:  1. Hidden Security Cameras; 2. Wireless Hidden Cameras; and, 3. Hidden Camera Systems.



Tiny Hidden Cameras

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Tiny hidden video cameras can provide security and surveillance monitoring for those special circumstances when it is advantageous not to expose the camera.  There are several types and varieties of tiny hidden video cameras that are designed for many different applications.  Electronic technological advances have permitted the creation of the smallest cameras, yet these cameras can still produce high quality images and some can also record audio as well.

There are several types of tiny hidden video cameras.  You can choose the type of tiny hidden video camera based on your need for covert security monitoring.  Cameras range from incredibly small in size, also known as “pin hole” cameras, to cameras disguised as other devices.

Truly hidden, disguised, or often called “covert” video cameras can be extremely small cameras that are self contained units.  These cameras are not only small enough to be hidden out of normal view, but may also contain their own power source, usually a rechargeable battery, and their own digital video recorder or DVR in the form of a compact flash memory card.  These cameras often contain built-in motion sensors that activate the camera only when motion in the target area is detected, conserving power and storage resources.  Tiny hidden cameras are often only 1 ¼ x 1 ¼ inches in size which makes them very “unnoticeable” and easy to conceal.

The technology behind these types of cameras is one of two light sensing imaging devices.  A Charged Coupled Device or CCD or Complimentary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor or CMOS.  These devices can be extremely small, as little as ¼ or 1/3 of an inch in size and provide a 420 TVL high quality video image.  CCDs benefits include extreme sensibility to even the lowest lighting conditions and inherently sensitive to infrared (IR) radiation.  CMOS benefits include an extremely low power demand making them an excellent choice for portable objects.

Disguised tiny hidden cameras are constructed in a variety of shapes and sizes.  Here are just some of the different cameras that are available:

  • Faux smoke detector complete with blinking red light.  The case is the same case used for typical ceiling type detectors.  Up to 4 cameras can be hidden inside the case.
  • Standard office type, round wall clocks.   These units appear as typical round wall clocks found in most offices, schools, and warehouses.  It contains a working clock as well as a tiny hidden camera.
  • Sunglasses.  These units use a hidden CMOS sensor and capture video at 320 x 240 resolution or greater and can record video for up to 90 minutes or more.
  • Digital picture frames.  Recently, the digital picture frame device that displays several hundred digital photographs have become a very popular desk or end table addition.  These units come with a hidden video camera embedded in the digital video frame unit.
  • Speaker cameras.  Actual operating speakers that contain a tiny hidden camera.
  • Heating and air conditioner thermostats.  A tiny hidden video camera is built into the unit.
  • Flood light or emergency lighting units.  These devices provide the lighting function as well as contain a tiny hidden camera.
  • Artificial plant and planter.  Looks just like a typical “potted” plant but contains an artificial plant and a tiny hidden video camera.
  • Other tiny hidden camera devices include belt buckles, ball point pens, pencil sharpeners, neck ties, baseball caps, electrical outlet boxes, tissue boxes, painted pictures with frames, and even coffee mugs.

WARNING:  There are state laws concerning the recording of conversations and/or video without all those participating in the conversation being aware of the recording.  Check with your own state laws to make sure you are complying with state, federal, and/or local laws if you are covertly recording conversations and video images as well.  Oddly enough, there doesn’t seem to be too many restrictions on video capture, but there are plenty that deal with audio recording.

As you can see, there is almost an infinite amount of varieties of tiny hidden vcameras.  Modern scientific advancements have allowed these cameras to be hidden almost anywhere and disguised as almost anything.

If you have any additional questions concerning tiny hidden cameras please contact any one of our security experts either via on-line “Live Chat” or by telephone at 866-573-8878 Monday through Friday from 9AM to 6 PM EST.