Help me buy a hidden camera
July 25, 2006 11:34 AM   Subscribe

Hiddencamerafilter. Help me find an affordable camera that can be used as a hidden camera.

I am looking for a hidden camera/small camera to use while my house is being shown (similar to what is done on the show Sell This House) to record comments and impressions about the house.

Obviously the camera should be small and discreet. Bonus points if it can later be used as a webcam to spy on my cats when I'm not home.

Googling seems to turn up a lot of spammy results. Because the camera will be used only a handful of times, price is important.

Just to get it out of the way, I'm not planning on breaking any laws or stalking anyone.

Thanks in advance!
posted by Sheppagus to Technology (8 answers total)
There seem to be a few low-cost options at I can't vouch on the quality/utility of any of tese items, but I've been happy with my fifthunit purchases in the past. Shipping takes ages, though. (About 3-4 weeks to receive your items seems to be par.)
posted by JMOZ at 11:50 AM on July 25, 2006

I've installed a few web cams behind a drive blanking plate in computers, they only require a 1/4" or so hole. The only drawback is you need a computer in the room.

If you only want to hear comments a simple cassette recorder taped to the bottom of a table or chair in each room would do the trick.

"I'm not planning on breaking any laws"
Many places taping a person where they have an expectation of privacy is illegal. It varies by jurisdiction and whether you are recording voice or video or both.
posted by Mitheral at 11:59 AM on July 25, 2006

If your home is furnished while being shown, simply setup a semi-crappy computer in the desired area and attach a cheap webcam to it. All you have to do is lay one or two "For Dummies" books next to the computer, and it'll look legit.

Otherwise, I'd suggest following Mitheral's advice and strategically place a tape recorder.
posted by terpia at 12:43 PM on July 25, 2006 sells a number of covert video cameras of different types and pricepoints. You can also find some stuff on eBay, though I'm not sure what quality it will be.

Look for "nanny cam"
posted by baylink at 12:55 PM on July 25, 2006

FifthUnit for sure! I've bought for or five items from them and have never been dissatisfied. Expect delivery to take about 2 weeks.
posted by drkrdglo at 3:01 PM on July 25, 2006

This may also qualify as a form of invasion of privacy, intrusion upon seclusion.
posted by MrZero at 4:22 PM on July 25, 2006

Yeah, I'd recommend getting some legal advice about what you can record -- the rules vary depending on your location. For example, you might be allowed to take video footage, but not audio, which would ruin your plan. Just because you saw someone do it on telly doesn't mean it's legal where you are, and you didn't see the behind-the-scenes stuff. The visitors probably signed release forms to allow themselves to be recorded and broadcast.
posted by robcorr at 10:50 PM on July 25, 2006

Response by poster: I mentioned that I'm not going to be breaking any laws to avoid an extensive discussion on whether I will be breaking any laws.

This type of taping will be not illegal, and I would therefore appreciate specific product recommendations instead of incorrect legal advice.

Thank you.
posted by Sheppagus at 7:50 AM on July 26, 2006

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