A simple, but great use for a Wi-Fi camera is to set it in front of a window to keep tabs on the outside of your house, but there are some things to be aware of when doing this.
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Ideally, you’d want a security camera mounted somewhere on the outside of your home, but if you don’t have the know-how (or the money to pay a professional), you can usually get by with just placing the camera in a window and pointing it outside.
This works pretty well most of the time, and it’s honestly the best route to go with if you’re looking for a truly quick and dirty method, but you’ll have to put up with some inconsistencies and flaws.
Night Vision Won’t Work Very Well
Night vision on most security cameras works by shining infrared light into the field of view—like a floodlight, but invisible to our eyes. Pointing your camera out of a window can create issues with night vision.
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The glass on the window reflects that infrared light right back into the camera. It’s pretty much like when you shine a flashlight at a mirror; the light reflects and blinds you, preventing you from seeing anything other than the bright light.
You can disable the night vision on most Wi-Fi cams, but just know that you won’t get clear imagery at night unless the outside of your house is well lit. Even then, it may be too dim for the camera to recognize anything.
Window Screens Can Impede Facial Recognition (And Just Be Downright Annoying)
Screens are great for keeping out the bugs when you leave your windows open, but they make the image grainy on a Wi-Fi cam and impede the camera’s facial recognition performance.
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This might not be a huge deal for some people, but window screens, in general, are the enemy of cameras. At some point, you’ve probably tried to take a photo through a window screen, only to have it confuse your camera’s autofocus.
If you can, try to place your Wi-Fi cam in a window that either doesn’t have a screen or only has the screen on the bottom part of the window, that way you can place the camera on the middle ledge and bypass the screen.
Windows Can Make Sun Glare and Lens Flare Worse
Sun glare can affect any camera, but when you place an extra layer of glass in front of that camera (especially if it’s an inch or two away from the lens), sun glare can be much worse.
This is especially troublesome if your Wi-Fi cam points toward the rising or setting sun. But even if you can avoid that, there are a wide variety of angles where the sun can hit the window glass and create a nice little glare for your Wi-Fi cam to record.
There’s really no way to avoid this, other than experimenting by adjusting the angle of your Wi-Fi cam to avoid most of the glare. Depending on where the sun is, though, there may be certain times of the day where you’ll get glare, and you won’t really be able to do anything about it.