Security Articles

How to Install a Hidden Camera in a Home


Damon Delcoro


October 2, 2012


Incognito…. Hidden…. Inconspicuous….Covert.

These words aren’t just exclusive adjectives belonging to a spy or special CIA field agents anymore. They are also active descriptors for our beloved security elements. From safes, to personal protection and audio/video surveillance; making James Bond no longer the only person with cool gadgets. For those who are unaware of its existence, they are invisible. So what are the reasoning’s to incorporate such a delusive device? Whether for peace of mind, precautionary or preventive measures; understanding your reasons will aide in chose actions on how to implement these elements of undercover.

Hidden Security Cameras

With traits such as convenience, advance and affordable, the security camera has become more prevalent in homes. Those seeking confirmation from undignified acts from their trusted individuals would choose a more discrete way of monitoring. The sad truth is our babysitters, lovers, and employees (along with strangers) do have the potential of hurting us. By neglecting their entrusted duties or lack of appropriate decisions can cost us financially and the wellbeing of our beloveds. The process of choosing the right camera may seem a daunting experience, especially if this is your first security camera venture. Fear not, with a little bit of research this process can be quite painless.

If you have come to the conclusion to install a hidden camera in your residence or business, ask yourself what is the most discretionary way to implement this camera? You can find ease of introducing hidden cameras in home applications with options like mirrors, alarm clocks, smoke detectors and motion sensors. Have no trouble deciding where to conceal hidden cameras in a business environment with these clever and fully functional exit signs, emergency lighting, safety mirrors, and sprinkler heads (the sprinkler head is the only non-functional acting item, all the previous are).

Purchasing a Hidden Camera (or any security camera for that matter)

The first step to installing a covert camera in your establishment is purchasing the right hidden camera for your needs. As with most items, there are tons of choices out there all featuring different options and specs, thus making the selection process complex. To decipher useless & garbage from adequate and efficient, lets first figure what type of environment you’ll be monitoring.

  • Lightning – This is a big factor and can render a camera useless with little to no light. For darker conditions look for a cameras LUX rating. The lower the LUX rating of a security camera the less light is needed for the camera to produce an adequate picture. For example a 1 (or 1.0) lux is higher than a 0.03 lux, making the latter more efficient in dimmer areas.
  • Resolution – As with any camera, the ability to capture footage in an identifiable snapshot or recording is a necessity, not a novelty. Look for the TVL resolution capability of the camera as well as the recorded resolution value. If the recording format is inadequate, the camera is rendered useless. (For more on resolutions click here)

v Lens size – The lens cut will decipher what your viewing angle and depth will entail. Check and verify the lens aperture for a field of view for your desired needs. (For more on understanding lenses click here or calculate if your camera lens will work for you, click here)

v Inconspicuous – Introducing new items can lead to weary travellers which defeat the whole purpose you were trying to accomplish. To keep the cameras as imperceptible as possible choose ones that will compliment an area or discretely transfix into an environments setting.

v Durability – Depending on the style and design of the camera, is it capable of performing in its context. Checking an items IP rating will distinguish its reliability in certain conditions. Reading reviews (if any) can help in choosing especially with covert options that pose as workable items like pens, CD players, speakers, etc.

v Accessibility and convenience – Determine the method of retrieval of footage and what does it involve. Does the camera pose convenient features such as microSD cards or USB pluggable? Does the covert camera pose a threat of being exposed in pursuit of retrieving said footage? Is it network accessible or work with a DVR?

v Wired, wireless and stand-alone – This is a crucial aspect in your selection of hidden camera selections. Where there are pros and cons to each making one above the other seem more appealing based on your criteria.

  • Wired (my preference) Pros- Can utilize a DVRs full capabilities including but not limited to: remote access, OSD features, recording capabilities and capacity, multiple accessibility to recordings via network, email, FTP, DVR, etc.
    • Wired Cons – Limited to certain surroundings/situations to be concealed due to certain requirements such as a DVR, NVR, network apparatus or monitor.
  • Wireless Pros- Hidden wireless cameras eliminate the requirement of running cables for transmission.
    • Wireless Cons – They may eliminate cables for transmission but still need to be powered, meaning you’re either still subjected to wires for power or rely on a short life span based on the battery. They are also vulnerable to interference which results in poor video quality. Things such as microwaves, TVs and radios can interfere with your wireless covert camera.
  • Stand-alone Pros – Self-sufficient unit acting as camera and DVR.
    • Cons – Subjected to battery life and memory capacity. May be vulnerable to discovery depending on your need to access unit for footage.

When choosing a hidden camera, look for a unit that will be easy to conceal, accessible based on your needs, and reliable in its environment conditions. With devices that are replicated to act and/or look like everyday items such as thermostats, air purifiers, and clocks that hang right on the wall.

You get what you paid for

This old cliché saying holds true, as enticing it might be to invest in the cheapest advertised cameras could prove disastrous. As with almost every product, there are reasons why some security cameras seem cheaper than others. With doing the little bit of research I suggested above, you’ll see why. From inferior chipsets, inadequate TVL resolutions, and cheap flimsy housings to OSD and limited/nonexistent functional features, can depict a security cameras true worth. However, a cheaply priced camera is certainly a better choice than no security camera at all, I simply suggest to purchase the best unit that fits into your budget.

Batteries not included

When purchasing your hidden CCTV cameras be sure all the necessary equipment comes with it. Items such as mounts, batteries, micro SD cards, wiring, etc, can keep you from successfully setting up your project. Find out all the necessary steps and correlated items you will need to wholly complete your hidden camera layout.


Location, Location, Location

Before purchasing, research. As you research you’ll see the many creative solutions available. Use this for inspiration on possible placement locations. As you research more be sure to note if these solutions can be implemented in the fashion you need. For hidden/covert security camera solutions click here. Regardless of where you decide to hide your hidden camera, make sure that it is not easily seen. If your camera is easily detected, it will completely defeat the purpose of the unit, so make sure that you invest a bit of time into hiding your camera. Don’t forget to choose a room that you feel is the most appropriate to be under surveillance. Whether you are concerned about how your nanny is treating your child or if you are worried about guests who might tend to have sticky fingers, it is important to place your hidden camera in an area where it will catch any suspicious, harmful or illegal activity.

Finding the Perfect Angle

Cameras have been chosen and installed. Now were down to finding the perfect angle for our elusive recording eye. As we learned above, the lens will detail the aperture of our view. Based on the cameras limits you may want to record a simulated offense, in the desired room, that may take place for your test review. During the review make sure you captured the (you) perpetrator and what he did. If your missing any detail that will hold credibility (entry points, inventory, facial shots, etc.) for your occurrence. After all, this is to protect your interests and loved ones. This process will also help you make any adjustments (if any) to recording properties such as motion and resolution.

Keeping up with the Kardashians, er…I mean footage

A common mistake done from consumer to consumer is becoming too lax after the install of there camera(s). Routine backups and review ensures your equipment works efficiently and effectively. Even in the absence of any captured negative incidents, always utilize your camera. You never know what may take place. Backup or make a copy of footage of the things that seemed suspicious, what seemed inconspicuous at first could end up causing problems later.

In your venture you may notice things in your surveillance footage that you weren’t expecting to see. If this is the case, consider installing additional surveillance cameras in your home. Either covert or traditional, there’s no reason to feel guilty when comes to your safety. In the animal kingdom a lot of species use camouflage to hide and escape from predators. Unfortunately gene splicing technology isn’t readily available for us to take certain chameleon properties in becoming covert. There are other ways to secure and protect yourself though. Let me introduce you to:

Diversion Safes

Unlike traditional safes, diversion safes are designed with chartestics such as weight, shape and labeling that coincide an actually household product. Imagine storing your cash and jewelry in an electrical outlet or hiding important items inside a Coke can. Inconspicuous homes for your valued items.

Stranger Danger and Personal Security

Stranger danger isn’t only a crime slogan addressed to our children. The same predators exist for all unsuspecting victims. Police and security presence aren’t always available in places we roam and the idea of a whistle around our necks or extremity of a gun doesn’t suite us all. Just as with our hidden security cameras and diversion safes, personal protection can be covertly waiting when needed. Now I always liked the Penguins crafty designs with umbrellas. The umbrella gun, umbrella helicopter wings, umbrella taser but umbrellas aren’t the most comfortable convenient item to carry. Lipstick stun guns, cell phone tasers and key chain alarms make a great arsenal, well concealed, in the event of an attack. You can explore more of these options here.