Many people worry about being noticed when using a spy camera.
The two main worries are : is the lens noticeable on spy cameras? And is there a flashing light which will make it obvious you’re secretly recording?
Both of these worries are groundless. It is unlikley you will get caught using a spy camera – but you need to take precautions to avoid detection.
For the purposes of this post, let’s use the example of my spy watch camera (a body worn camera) to explain how to avoid detection.
NOTE: If you want a guide to camouflaging spy cameras for the home, check out our guide here.
Is The Lens Noticeable On A Spy Camera?
The Tiny Lens On My Spy Watch Camera
Have a look at the picture above. You can see a bit of my wrist and arm in the picture to get an idea of the scale.
As you can see, the lens on my spy watch camera is tiny. It’s probably about 1mm in diameter.
You would need eyes like Superman to spot that lens when someone is filming you using this spy watch camera. It’s really not a risk at all.
Are Flashing Lights (LED’s) visible when recording on a spy camera?
This is also not an issue. The whole point of a spy camera is to be covert – so flashing lights would render them useless.
The only time a light flashes on my spy watch camera is when the watch is being charged, or it is turned off / on.
None of these conditions apply when you are actually using the camera (if you film with it properly – more on this later!)
Here’s an example of what the flashing lights look like when my watch cam is turned off and on:
Even when the camera is turned off and on, the flashing lights are pretty covert as you can see.
How To Make Sure You Don’t Get Caught Using Spy Cameras
I hope you can see that neither flashing lights or a highly visible lens will get you in trouble when you use a body worn spy camera.
However, if you behave unnaturally then you are much more likely to get caught.
Here are some things you need to do:
Practice using the spy camera before you film
Practice makes perfect – and this is especially true when you use body worn spy cameras!
You need to get used to the operation of the spy camera…And knowing that you are filming people.
First : make sure you know exactly how to turn the camera off and on and start recording.
It sounds easy (and it is!), but it’s also easy to make mistakes and get flustered.
As you can see from the video above, the light that turns on when you start recording is quite subtle. I have personally found that in bright light, it’s really hard to see whether it is off or on.
The solution to this is to try and find a darkened area when you turn the camera off and on.
In practical terms, you’ll need to be 100% sure the camera is on before you start filming. So prepare yourself when you know you need to film.
NOTE: Some spy cameras vibrate when turned on which certainly helps when filming.
Why you should practice using the spy camera before filming
You don’t want to get flustered when you suddenly have to film. You need to know exactly what you are doing – otherwise there is a good chance you will be noticed filming…Or not get any footage at all.
Get Used To Covertly Recording People
There is a psychological pressure exerted by covertly filming people. Different people react to it in different ways.
Some start to act unnaturally and self conciously. Visible signs of stress when covertly filming sometimes include:
– Excess sweating
– Going red in the face
– Visible signs of anxiety (red face, anxious looking, jerky movements)
– A trembling voice
This is where you are likely to run into trouble when covertly filming people. If you start to act “weird”, your subject will become suspicious.
Not the best look for covert recording!
Their first thought won’t necessarily be that they are being filmed..But their suspicions will be aroused.
You never know how people will react. Some people might get violent in a worse case scenario, or threaten to call the police and other such unwanted scenarios.
All of this can be avoided by practice and exposure to the psychological pressure of covertly filming other people.
When you practice this for a few hours or so, you should relax – so that when the pressure is on you don’t crumble and start to display unnatural or off key behaviour.
Make Sure You Record In A Natural Body Position
For the purposes of this guide, we’re talking about using a spy watch camera, so your body position matters.
Of course if you’re not using a body worn spy camera this isn’t an issue – but it is indicative of the kind of things you need to think about to make sure you don’t get caught!
So, here are the best body positions to record naturally and avoid being noticed:
Using A Rucksack As A Prop
In this position with a rucksack for a prop, you can stand very naturally and not alert the subject that you are filming.
The rucksack forces your arm and wrist to be in a suitable position for filming. You can twist your wrist subtly up and down to move the lens in different positions.
Standing With Arms Folded
Another very natural position. In this way the lens is pointed directly at the subject.
However you need to make sure it is not too obvious – it needs to be subtle. Try shifting your body position every once in a while, or it risks looking forced and unnatrual.
Positions to avoid when filming
The real key is to avoid making it REALLY obvious you are filming! Here’s an example picture to demonstrate (exaggerated for comedic purposes and to illustrate the point!)
You can see from the sceptical expression on my face that I can tell I am being filmed! Whilst this is just a demo picture (not even using a spy watch camera!), it is the sort of thing you need to avoid.
This is where practice is important – to avoid exaggerated posture when filming and altering the subject!
I hope I have convinced you that most peoples fear of being caught using a spy camera is groundless.
The lens is tiny, and flashing lights will not make your subject suspicious.
However, you need to pay attention to your behaviour and body position / posture when filming using body worn spy cameras.
In all circumstances, practice will reduce the risk of being caught.
This is because you will become used to the psychological pressure of covert filming, and will master the operation of your spy camera device.
You’ll also learn the best posture and positions to secretly film without being noticed.
Please do follow these guidelines when you take secret footage – and never worry about being caught again!