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Home / Tips and Tricks / How to use a security camera's night vision through a window

How to use a security camera's night vision through a window



  Viewing a camera behind a window at night with night vision on

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

  WyzeCam with IR lights lit
Josh Hendrickson

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.

  Wyze Cam with night-vision LED lights lit, most of the picture is hidden by bright lights
This is a Wyze Cam with NightVision on and exterior lights off.

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

  View of the garden in color with porch lights on

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.

  Destroyed night view with porch and Garage headlights on.
Here is the porch light and the movement that detects the headlight above the garage. 19659023] Either turn the camera a little or move it closer

The reflection of your camera in the window is a problem you will still run into. Darker cameras, like the SimplifSafe camera, are better than the bright white Wyze Cam. Putting on the lights in the room will help you, but you should move the camera as close to the window as possible for the greatest improvement.

The picture above shows a worst case scenario where the IR lamps are still active even though the porch light is on, but you can see accuracy to get rid of. Turning off the IR lights improves the image even more.

If you cannot push the camera on the glass, try to angle it to compensate for the reflection. Even an angle of five degrees helps. Moving the reflection out of the field of view will clean up the image carefully so that you can cope.

Instead of traditional lamps, use an IR lighting

Traditional lamps are not always the best options. Depending on where your camera wants to record, your neighbors can't appreciate the headlights that light their house at night – or it may even burst into your own home.

And while traditional headlights will work, an IR lighting is an even more effective solution. Think of it as a headlight – but instead of using light from the visible spectrum, it bursts infrared light. The picture above shows the IR lighting switched on. But when you look at the device in person, all you see is dima purple light.

  Camera behind the glass at night with clear view of the porch
The only light on the picture is from the IR illumination.

The idea here is to replace the built-in IR lights on your security camera. Turn them off or cover them (you want to be in black and white mode) and mount the lights on the outside of your home. For your camera, you have efficiently mounted an extremely powerful headlight. To the human eye there may be a curious set of dimlilish purple lights. Noticeable but easy to ignore.

In the picture above, the infrared lighting on the pavement points to the brightest point. You should test the exact location and positioning before mounting the unit permanently in your house.

  Very clear view of the outer court of a security camera behind glass.
In this picture, both the IR illumination lighting and the garage flow are on. [19659010] IR lighting devices can work in tandem with traditional lamps, and if you want the clearest picture that the road should go. The above photo uses all the methods discussed above. Wyze Cam is as close to the glass as possible, with the IR lamps covered. The IR lighting is aimed at the pavement, and something triggered the motion-seeking headlight above the garage.

Check your camera for pixel-based motion detection

Day or night, not all Wi-Fi cameras support alert detection alerts through Windows. Wi-Fi cameras rely on one of two methods for detecting motion: Either they use their IR sensors to identify changes in heat, like a neighbor, or they measure changes in pixels in the video.

If the camera uses its IR sensors for motion detection, you will not receive any warnings after glass. Just as with your night video, the IR jumps off your window before it can ever reach a potential person. Your camera cannot detect any movement.

Pixel-based motion detection does not have this problem and can work through Windows. You want a camera that uses this motion detection method if you plan to keep the camera indoors and point to the outside world.

A basic rule of thumb is that most battery-powered cameras (such as Arlo Ultra) use IR detection and most plug-in cameras use pixel-based detection. But exceptions exist. For example, the Simplisafe camera is a plug-in camera that uses IR motion detection and is not a good choice for window protection.

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