Using Hidden Cameras and Nanny Cams to Capture Video Footage

Hidden Cameras
Learn about hidden cameras and nanny cams for capturing video footage.

What is a Hidden Camera?

A hidden camera is a still or video camera used to capture video footage of people without their knowledge or consent. The camera is “hidden” because it is not visible to the subject being filmed, or it is disguised as another object. 

Hidden cameras have become popular for conducting household surveillance. Hidden cameras can be built into common household objects such as smoke detectors, clock radios, motion detectors, ball caps, plants, and cell phones. Hidden cameras may also be used commercially or industrially as security cameras to catch thieves and even dishonest employees.

Wired or Wireless?

A hidden camera can be wired or wireless. A wired hidden camera will be connected to an electrical outlet and a television, Video Cassette Recorder (VCR), or Digital Video Recorder (DVR). A wireless hidden camera can be used to transmit a video signal to a receiver within a small radius (up to a few hundred feet).

Some hidden camera footage has led to lawsuits by the people who were trapped in set-ups that they found unpleasant. Hulk Hogan was recently involved in a lawsuit with Gawker, who released hidden video footage of the star having sex.

Types of Video Surveillance Equipment

Nanny cameras come in a variety of types with a wide range of features.  Most cams are wireless video devices but are also available in the hardwired format. The hidden equipment device is usually hidden in normal household items such as teddy bears or stuffed animals, clock radios, computer speakers or stereo speakers, carbon monoxide detectors, smoke alarms, and air purifiers.

They are also disguised as outdoor items such as rocks and plants. The idea is to disguise the presence of the recording device by making it look just like a regular household item.

What are Nanny Cams?

Nanny cams, or nanny cameras, are typically hidden cameras that allow parents to secretly monitor and videotape the activity of a person or persons. They are most often used to observe the behavior of a nanny, caregiver, or a babysitter. These types of hidden video surveillance cameras are becoming more popular as they are used to provide proof of abusive caregivers such as nannies and babysitters.

Private investigators may use such equipment during civil investigations when the behavior of a caregiver has been called into question. Detectives should first check their state and local laws that govern the use of hidden video.

In cases where parents are suspicious and need proof, having a nanny cam allows parents to have peace of mind when they leave their child alone with a caregiver or a babysitter.

Other Possible Uses

These types of hidden video surveillance cameras can be used for reasons other than just child care. Hidden recording devices can be used by parents to monitor the activity of their teenage children (are they having a party while you’re away on vacation), to monitor their house while it is being cleaned, or for security reasons.  Some real estate investors use hidden surveillance cameras to keep an eye on their rental properties and vacation homes.

Currently, in all 50 states, it is legal to use a hidden video device. However, it is illegal to record speech without a person’s consent in the following states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington.

Please note that laws that pertain to device usage change frequently, so please check your local and state laws to determine the legality of using a hidden video device and/or recording speech to record the activities of others.

Where to Buy Equipment

Spy Associates has an extensive selection of covert hidden cameras, nanny cams, and video surveillance equipment for private investigators. In addition, they have devices for law enforcement, and everyday people to help monitor the activity of another person.

Record Secret Video With a WiFi Tissue Box Hidden Camera

This Hidden Cam Fits Any Room Decor and Blends Right In While It Records Covert Video. The WiFi Tissue Box Hidden Camera is a completely secret video recording option that looks just like a standard tissue box. It allows you to capture 64 total hours of full-color, high-resolution video on a 32 gigabyte SD memory card, although the memory card is sold separately.

The Tissue Box Hidden Cam can even record video footage in low-light conditions, which is great for darker rooms. The recording device has a 10-hour rechargeable battery. The 10-hour battery lasts quite a long time, as the power is only used when it is motion-activated to begin recording.

Why is this a Good WiFi Hidden Cam

  • It looks exactly like any other common tissue box sitting on your table, so it is likely to go unnoticed, even by the pros
  • The devices record video files for up to ten hours on a single battery charge
  • WiFi technology enables you to remotely view all captured video footage
  • The device captures crystal-clear video in as low as .001 Lux

How to View Captured Footage

Viewing your recordings can be done in multiple ways. The hidden camera can be used as a standard DVR, recording your files to an SD card for later review on your computer.

Simply insert the SD card into the camera, then connect the device to your laptop or computer. Then you’ll be able to view the recorded video files. You are also given the option of watching the feed remotely from the device’s built-in WiFi receiver.

The camera can be used to:

  • Protect your home or office from dishonest employees or thieves. Place the device in a common area to capture employee activity and get the proof you need to identify theft or fraudulent activity
  • Monitor your bedroom for burglars or dishonest children or visitors, or maybe even a cheating spouse
  • Watch the kids when no one is home to make sure they are safe. The device will give you peace of mind when you can’t be in the same room as your children.
  • Keep an eye on the babysitter or nanny to see if they are following the rules and keeping your child safe.

Check out more Spy Gear for Private Investigators.

Michael Kissiah is the owner of Brandy Lane Publishing, LLC, which owns and operates a small portfolio of websites, including Michael created more than 20 years ago after working as a private investigator in the state of Florida. Since that time, he has become an expert at how to find information online and has written over 1000 articles on topics related to the investigation industry. In addition, he is the author of the "Private Investigator Licensing Handbook", available at


  1. is there a way for anyone to install a hidden spy cam on a old TV none smart or any other electronics? if so how can you find out if I’ve become a victim .

  2. I’ve been researching this subject for about two weeks at this point and this is actually the 1st write-up that actually makes perfect sense. How come it’s so difficult to gather quality facts concerning security and safety nowadays? Definitely value the time you invested placing your ideas in to words so novices like myself can certainly take action. Will there be a part 2 on your page? Thank you again!


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