Wi-Fi cameras rely on infrared (IR) for night vision. But IR comes across glass so, if you use the camera behind a window, you see only a blurred reflection at night. Here's how to get a clear picture.
Night vision and window panes Do not mix
Night vision on most Wi-Fi cameras uses a relatively simple trick physics. One or more IR lamps blast as much light as possible and act as a headlight. Since infrared is not visible to the human eye, you do not even notice, and your camera can use this IR light to record video at night.
If you've ever tried to point out your Wi-Fi camera out of a window, you've probably found it to work perfectly during the day. But at night it is a blurry mess of video, which mostly shows only the camera's reflection and the light's radiation.
This completely eliminates having a security camera. If the camera saw someone outside, you never knew how they looked or what they did.
If you want the camera's night vision to work through glass, you want to provide external lighting. You can use either traditional outdoor lighting or infrared lighting. You also need to turn off or cover the camera's built-in IR lighting. Finally, you must either move the camera as close as possible to the window or tilt it slightly instead of using a direct angle.
It is best to use an outdoor camera. An outdoor camera will bypass problems with glass and take advantage of most of these suggestions. But if you can't use an outdoor camera for any reason, consider these options to improve the video you get from your indoor camera.
Keep in mind that you leave the porch light
The first goal of getting a better picture is to bring in the built-in IR lamps from the equation. Traditional light is the easiest way to reach that goal. If you have a porch light, leave it on. You can then turn off night mode on your camera.
The options here vary from camera to camera. Some cameras, like the Wyze Cam, let you just shut everything down. When the night mode is off, the IR lights will not light. Depending on the camera, your video may be in color. As you can see above, the picture is clear enough that you should see the face of everyone who approached you at the door at night.
But this has an obvious disadvantage: You use electricity all night and potentially irritate your neighbors. Motion-activated lamps are a better solution. You can find battery-powered lights that are easy to attach to your door or wall, like over-lighting. Or you could consider a powerful solution with headlights. A headlamp on its own can be more effective than a porch light. Combined, they can make crystal clear video.
Turn the IR lights off or cover
In the above example, the camera's video is still in color, resulting in less detail. If you want less sound and clarity, you want to keep the video monochrome. Some cameras let you turn off IR lights while staying in black and white, but others like Wyze Cam are all or nothing. If so, a small electrical band will do the trick.
Your outdoor lighting is still useful with IR lighting, but you get some better details in monochrome video, especially if you use multiple outdoor lights. The superfluous light also pulls out the camera's reflection.