Sometimes you need to see it to believe it. It may take hours of listening to audio recordings in order for your espionage efforts to bear fruit.
But it might only take one fleeting image to pinpoint a thief, an adulterer, or even a disobedient dog if they are caught with video surveillance techniques. Some general questions to consider before hatching your plan:
• Do you need constant video footage to monitor a specific location? This can be more labor intensive if you are using video tape rather than digital video because you have to constantly change the tape. In both cases, if you are not monitoring in real time, recorded footage is easily time and date stamped for quicker access.
• Does the camera need to be concealed? In the case of security monitoring, the very presence of a camera can deter any criminal activity – or even a fake camera, or even a sign that says that there is a camera on the premises (but not a sign that says that there is a fake camera!). In any case, you will obviously need to position this device so that it is not easily deactivated or vandalized.
• Does the camera need to be portable? Wireless?
Sometimes concealed cameras, such as one, say, hidden in a clock, are incredibly effective surveillance devices. But you can’t keep moving the clock around to different rooms without it looking quite odd. In this case a wireless webcam might be a better option, but it is of course more difficult to conceal.
Because of its cost, it is also not something you’d want to plant anywhere that there’s a risk of losing it. The important thing to remember is that with audio, all you need to do is expose the microphone in the direction of the targeted sound source; but with video, you will need to be more precise in how you aim the eye of the camera.
Motion detection and night vision are other options you have with video surveillance. It is possible to set video recording devices to record only when motion is detected.
And, for an added cost, you can purchase an infrared camera that will help you see in the dark (by sensing radiation and turning that heat into images on your screen. Any video surveillance system will include the same basic components: a video camera, a recorder / playback device, and a monitor. For wireless devices, include a transmitter and receiver in this list, although some devices bundle these functions into one unit.
In the past, these systems were difficult and costly to install. But they are continually getting smaller and less expensive; and anyone who owns a personal computer likely already owns most of the components necessary to implement one form of video spying.