It can be uncomfortable for guests to see that you have a security camera in your home ... watching .... recording ... and uploading to the cloud. I’ve been in that situation, and I’m telling you, it made me feel both paranoid and vain: Watching what I said, making sure to flash my "good side", it was all too much.
At the same time, some people simply do not need to know that they're being monitored. No, not the girl you're crushing on, I’m referring to your cleaner, nanny, or other people that you hire to hang out in your home while you're not there. You want to see who they really are when they feel unmonitored, don’t you? On YouTube, you’ll see a lot of videos from Nest Cam users who have caught people doing something they shouldn’t be doing. Usually, the behavior happens because they assume no one’s watching. So how do you place your Dropcam or Nest Cam so discreetly that you turn it into a Spy Camera?
How to Turn Your Nest Cam into a Spy Camera
Creating an effectively hidden camera system is more complicated than you might think. You have to consider things like placement, heat dissipation, and power cords. In general, when looking for a way to convert your camera to a hidden camera, there are four things you should consider...
1. Design and Appearance
When turning your Nest Cam into a Spy Cam think camouflage. Many things can be used, like flower vases, tissue dispensers, wall clocks or alarm clocks.
2. Retaining Full Functionality
Next thing that you should keep in mind is the importance of maintaining your camera's functionality. Hiding your Dropcam behind the curtain is a bad plan. Don't do it. You want your Dropcam or Nest Cam to be used to its fullest potential, and your hiding place should not interfere with visibility or other features.
3. Hiding All Evidence
Unlike battery-powered cameras, Nest Cam has wires and you need to hide those too. Hiding the wires can be tricky, as is hiding the camera's lens.
4. Legal Consequences
It's your home, so you can place hidden cameras wherever the hell you want, right? Well, no. Laws governing the use of hidden cameras and recording devices vary by state, but in general, you shouldn't place cameras where one reasonably expects privacy. Skip the bedroom, bathroom, and your walk-in-closet.
Dropcessories – Turning Your Cameras into Spy Cameras
Dropcessories is one company that converts normal security cameras into spy cameras. They started off focusing on Dropcam, but have since expanded to other cameras. While they now support other camera brands, their spy cam accessories are only compatible with Dropcams and Nest Cams plus one option that works with the D-Link DCS-932L. Unfortunately, Dropcessories has also reduced the number of accessories they offer. When we first reviewed their products, they offered tissue boxes, flower vases, and more. Now, they only offer an LED alarm clock and a box LED clock.
The LED Alarm Clock works with Nest Cams and Dropcams. It's a fully functional LED clock with an alarm and a spot for your camera, which is placed behind the speaker. If you look closely, the camera's lens is noticeable in this design, but it's somewhat indistinguishable from the speaker’s round design. Plus, your camera's wires will blend in with the clock's wires, making it the perfect hiding spot.
The second accessory still offered is the Box LED Clock. It comes in two models: one that supports Nest Cams and Dropcams, and another that supports the D-Link DCS-932L. Both models are fully functional. Inconspicuously, the front side of the cube hides the camera behind a one-way mirror. The camera sees everything, but the person looking at the "clock" sees nothing.
Should You Use Hidden Cameras?
Here's a highly debated question for you: Are hidden cameras better than visible security cameras?
On the one hand, a hidden camera captures who a person truly is. If you want to see who your nanny is while you're not around, a hidden camera might help.
On the flip side, security cameras openly placed around your house can deter your nanny from doing anything stupid. Wouldn't it be better if she simply behaved versus catching her misbehaving?
As for me, I prefer mixing both solutions. I have a security camera capturing one angle, and a hidden camera facing another angle. This way, I can observe the difference between a person's behavior when he thinks he's being watched and when he thinks he's not.
5/13/2017 Updated to reflect Dropcessories' reduced product line and Nest Cam availability.