Homemade Spy Cameras

by Rianne Hill Soriano

Given the many kinds of cameras you can buy in most electronic stores these days, making homemade spy cameras is easy for anyone who wants to add security to the home. For a reasonable cost, you can now use ordinary materials to build your own miniature cameras to monitor activities and even conversations inside and outside your house.

Choosing Your Cameras

Get the best miniature cameras you can afford for the areas inside and/or outside your house where you want to put them. Consider the power source, connection and kind of recording and recording storage for every camera you choose. Spy cameras using AC or DC power are good for indoor use, so you don't have to worry about running out of power, except if there's a blackout. Spy cameras that are battery-powered are good for outdoor use because they are safer and more resistant to different types of weather conditions. You may also prefer cameras with audio recording capability. Ideally, small cameras producing higher quality footages and providing more functionality and reliability cost more. Keep in mind that allotting a budget for your spy camera(s) is a good investment that should be considered for long-term use. Even web cameras these days can provide good quality footage, and for a reasonable additional cost, they can be made into IR (infrared) cameras to make your homemade spy cameras more functional in more compromised situations. Remember, thieves and burglars usually roam around their targeted house when the lights are off during the wee hours of the night. And you need an IR camera to record a usable video for this.

Finalizing Your Locations

Decide on which areas of the house you want to put your cameras. Don't make them conspicuous, because the bad guys can easily remove or destroy them to avoid getting caught. The best locations to place spy cameras are the front door entrance, the living room and any other areas where a person from outside can gain access to your home. Your backdoor and backyard, and also the hallways, are possible access points for criminals, so you may want to consider putting spy cameras there too.

Setting Up Your Cameras

Consider the best function and system for your spy cameras according to your needs and preferences. If you don't plan to change the position of your cameras every so often, use wired cameras. If you want wireless cameras, invest in quality ones because you need stronger transmitter and receiver functions to get crisp videos. Make sure that when you build your homemade cameras, you're aware of the software packages and drivers needed, and the recording requirements of the cameras you use. Ideally, your computer (and your Internet connection for those who want to record footage over a network) should be properly linked to your cameras. Spy cameras are most effective when hidden in ordinary objects such as cans, picture frames, stuffed toys, mirrors and wall decors. You should safely secure them to avoid connection problems and showing off your camera to just about every person who enters your house. Determine the range of your camera's signal and adjust the cameras accordingly. Make sure there is a clear reception when doing a test run for both the video and the audio captured. You may also want to turn your camera into a motion-detecting unit that can automatically upload captured images or videos to a remote server. This is very helpful, so you don't have to always watch all the footage for a security check given your hundreds of hours of videos produced every week. This feature is usually created by connecting your homemade spy camera to computer software with sensitivity to motion. You choose the percentage of sensitivity you want, then a captured image from the video will alert you via email.

Making Your Recording Preferences

There are many ways to record audio and video data from homemade security cameras. The process depends on your kind of camera, your connections and your software preferences. You can record directly to an SD card. You can simply record to your computer's hard drive. You can also create a space for a remote surveillance system in a server via your Internet connection.

About the Author

Rianne Hill Soriano is a freelance artist/writer/educator. Her diverse work experiences include projects in the Philippines, Korea and United States. For more than six years she has written about films, travel, food, fashion, culture and other topics on websites including Yahoo!, Yehey! and Herword. She also co-wrote a book about Asian cinema.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera cctv security camera. image by wrangler from Fotolia.com