The first thing that we think about when it comes to spy cameras is that they’re high-tech, discreet, and used by highly-trained professionals to secretly record discreet and important information. In a way, it’s true, but spy cameras are also used by a variety of different people. Whether you’re a police officer that needs a camera for law enforcement, a teacher recording their students, or you just want to mess around with one, spy cameras are one of the best ways in recording events discreetly.
But how do we operate a spy camera? What are some features that you should look out for? No worries, we got you covered on that.
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Compared to other mini cameras, spy cameras are much smaller and more discreet than smaller cameras that are used for sports or for certain law enforcement agencies. One of the key features of a spy camera is that it’s able to record conversations and small details without being too obvious.
Spy Camera Features
Before we get into how you’ll operate your spy camera, we’ll have to look into the features that you have to take into account.
First things first, we have to ensure that the quality of our spy camera is good. Having a crystal-clear video output can help discern important details that you are trying to record. You should also test out your camera on a variety of different lighting. Almost all cameras work well in ambient lighting, but most will struggle in low-light conditions. Ensuring that your camera will be able to work well on both conditions will yield better results.
You’ll also need to make sure that the screen resolution of the output is clear enough. Naturally, most spy cameras will have a screen resolution of 720p for the video output. You’ll be able to adjust the size of the screen resolution depending on how much available memory space that you have left. (1
Next, you’ll need to check on the sound quality of your spy camera. You can start by doing a sound test. You can do the following practices to determine the quality of the audio:
1. Stand in a room and speak. How well does it pick up your voice?
2. Put it on your shirt and start whispering. Will it be able to pick up your whispering?
3. Go outdoors and speak in a conversational tone. How well will it pick up your voice?
A spy camera should be able to pick up almost all of these conversations since it’s designed to pick up minute details that will be paramount in whatever you’re doing.
If a spy camera is big enough, it will give you a choice to record videos or just audio. Naturally, if you’re only recording audio files, you’ll take up less space since there’s less footage to work with.
Knowing the battery life of your device is paramount on how long your device will be able to last when recording. If you’re going to be covertly recording something from work, chances are you won’t be able to get to a power source in the span of 8 - 10 hours. That said, you’ll need a spy camera that has a lifespan of 8 - 10 hours. The last thing that you want when you’re recording important details is when your camera will suddenly turn off.
Moreover, users have to be aware of how your spy camera is going to be charged. In most cases, newer cameras will use USB chargers since AAA batteries will make the device too bulky. (2
SD Card Slot
Even for something as small as a spy camera, it will still be able to have an SD slot port. Whether your spy camera has built-in internal storage or not, having an SD card slot is paramount when recording hours of footage. It’s recommended that you get a 32 GB SD card. Most cameras that record in high definition will take up around 1 - 2 GB depending on how long the video is.
You’ll need to be aware of the video output format of your camera. Will it save videos in an .MP4 format? Will the format give it a workable condition? There are certain video formats that work better in post-processing and discerning important details when looking through your photos and videos. (3
Another key feature among newer high-tech spy cameras is that you will be able to send life and real-time feed to a certain device or your phone through your camera. You can either pair this with your device through Wifi or Bluetooth. There are also certain cameras that will transfer the photo or video towards your device.
How To Use a Spy Camera?
Now that you’re aware of the features of a spy camera, you’ll need to run through your camera through these simple steps.
Setting It Up
Firstly, you’ll need to set up your spy cam even before you turn it on. If you can tweak with the screen resolution, the video quality, and how sensitive the sound is, then you should. Moreover, since a spy camera is meant to be discreet, you’ll need to mount it to your professional apparel.
Turning It On And Recording
Some spy cameras will have a light indicator that will tell you when it’s on and recording. However, there are also some manufacturers who opt not to place a light indicator since it’s counter-intuitive for a device that’s supposed to be discreet. If you are not aware that your spy camera is on or there’s no way of telling you that it is on, then you can always keep it in a state that it is recording everything throughout the whole operation. You can go to a secure location and check on your spy camera from time-to-time.
Once you have successfully recorded what you need to record, you can extract the files from your SD card to your laptop or any device that you’re going to use for processing. In most cases, users will use the .MP4 format when processing videos and images.
You may also want to check the learning guide on how to hide a camera in plain sight
(1) Scharon Harding, What Is 720p? HD Resolution Explained, https://www.tomshardware.com/
(2) Marshall Brain, Charles W. Bryant & Clint Pumphrey, How Batteries Work, https://electronics.howstuffworks.com/everyday-tech/battery.htm
(3) Brady Gavin, What is an MP4 file (and How Do I Open One)?, https://www.howtogeek.com/365037/what-is-an-mp4-file-and-how-do-i-open-one/