7 Spy Camera Tips You Need to Be Following
Nothing is more frustrating than having your spy camera set up in what you think is the perfect place, the perfect moment, only to find out the footage is unusable due to lighting, SD card size or speed, etc.
Sometimes you only get one chance to get the valuable footage you need, so making sure everything is set up correctly at that moment is a must.
We have put together a list of 7 tips that will help you get the most out of your covert camera, help avoid some common mistakes, and how you can use your surroundings to your advantage.
It doesn’t matter if you own a professional DSLR camera or a spy camera, one thing that all cameras need in order to produce quality shots is good lighting.
Having a basic knowledge of lighting and how it works is essential in order to produce quality footage.
You could have the best hiding spot in the room, but if the lighting is in the wrong spot in relation to your camera it will ruin your footage.
In photography, a photographer usually has 2 options when it comes to getting great lighting. They can either move the lights or reflectors to best light their subject or they can move the subject to take advantage of the lighting. Knowing what type of lighting you are dealing with is crucial when trying to set up your camera. Below are the most common types of lighting situations you will see.
Front lighting -
Front lighting is when the light source is directly in front of the subject and directly behind the camera. This means that the light source will be behind. This type of lighting is the most advantageous lighting as it provides the most detail and with fewer shadows.
Backlighting is when the light source is directly behind the subject and the lighting is shining directly into the camera lens. You want to avoid this type of lighting. This type of lighting tends to cause the subject to silhouette providing little to no detail and over expose the background.
Side Lighting –
Side lighting is when the light source hits your subject from the side. This type of lighting can cause shadows on the opposite side of the light source that can hinder some of the details on that side.
Most of the time you will not have the option of moving your light source, so you will have to ensure you place your camera in a position that uses the rooms light sources to your advantage.
Position Your Camera At a Chokepoint
When installing your camera, if possible, place your spy camera to capture an active spot or chokepoint in the room/building that the subject will have to walk in front of. Some examples of chokepoints include doorways, hallways, gates, exits or entrances.
Purchase A High Quality Micro SD Card
All Micro SD cards were not created equally. Knowing what speed and class you need based on your camera’s resolution is very important. Choosing the right SD card will ensure that it can handle the resolution of your camera and that it can save the files at a rate it can sustain.
Rated Speed (e.g. 48/mbs, 80/mbs, etc.)- This is the speed of which you can expect the SD card to write or read files on the card. The greater the mbs, the faster it can save the files and be ready to record again. It's important to have a high speed SD card with higher resolution cameras
Speed Class- This is important for because the camera is saving a steady stream of data. The resolution and format of the video will determine the amount of steady stream data. This translates to a minimum speed you need to ensure that the video captured on the cards is recorded at an even, sustained rate with no dropped frames (which would result in lost data and choppy playback).
SD card size- Before deciding on what size SD card fits into your budget you need to find out what is the max capacity that your spy camera can handle. Some spy cameras can only handle up to 32GB while others all the way to 128GB’s. If you get the wrong size chances are your video will not get saved to the drive. When purchasing an SD card speed, capacity, and class are things you need to consider.
Determine The Best Recording Mode For Your Situation
Most of our spy cameras come with the option to record in either motion detection or continuous modes.
With motion detection mode, the camera will start recording once it senses motion and after 3 mins with no movement, it will go back to standby. Most of the time this is the mode that we recommend using, simply because it saves room on your SD card and it eliminates sifting through hours of video to get the information you need.
There are however, times when continuous mode is best suited.
If you know that the subject you are trying to capture is only going to be in front of the camera for an instant, say maybe he is entering a doorway and based on your environment you can only get him as he passes by for an instant, then continuous mode would be best suited. With motion detection, it can take a second to activate the camera and if the subject is only in front of the camera for a split second you may miss him.
Even Night Vision Spy Cameras Need A Light Source
Even night vision and IR cameras spy cameras need some type of ambient light.
Most IR spy cameras or night vision spy cameras use some type of covert IR lighting that are not seen by the human eye. This is necessary to illuminate the subject you are filming, but they are limited by distance, especially if they are located on the same device as the camera. The further away the subject gets from the IR light, the less visible the subject will be. By adding some type of ambient light such as a plug-in night light, a lit up computer screen, or a cracking door to let some light in, will help provide the necessary lighting to capture quality footage.
Use Your Surroundings To Your Benefit
Sometimes the best things to help conceal or position your camera is already in the room. You can use the dark folds in drapes to hide a camera, or place the camera in a stack of laundry, hide it in an indoor plant.etc.
Our USB spy camera models are some of our most popular hidden cameras. Like a regular USB charger, the USB hidden cameras use outlet power to power the camera. By having the camera plugged into the outlet sometimes you are limited on view angle due to lack of adjustability. A great workaround is to use a surge protector or extension cord to help get the angle you need.
Every location and situation is different. If you have time, don't be afraid to experiment with different locations and angles. Sometimes you will have to get crafty in order to get the footage you need. You are only limited by your imagination!
Always Perform A Test Run
Sometimes you only get one chance to capture the vital information you need. It is always important to set up your camera in the same location and lighting environment and do a test run to ensure your field of view and lighting is adequate for what you need.