How to Use an Infrared Camera Through a Glass Window
You have planned to install an infrared camera for effective protection of your home and optimal coverage of your property, but for various reasons you cannot install it outside.
If you want your surveillance camera to work properly behind a window, you can choose from several solutions such as simply changing the position of your camera, using the outside light at home or better, using infrared lighting. Finally, you can do without using the LEDs on your camera by disconnecting or covering them.
The best solution is of course to use an outdoor camera, which will allow you to overcome all the disadvantages of an indoor installation and therefore behind a glazing and take advantage of most of the advice we offer. However, if you have no other choice than to install your infrared camera behind a window, there are several solutions to improve the quality of the images.
Infrared cameras and glass don’t always mix
By day, infrared cameras work in exactly the same way whether they are placed behind glass or not. The quality will be more or less the same (unless your window is not clean!). On the other hand, at night, it is very likely that the images you capture are of poor quality, or even illegible, in particular because of the reflections reflected by the glass.
Equipped with LEDS around their objectives, they are capable of emitting rays invisible to the naked eye which will make it possible to restore images of the space to be monitored in the absence of sufficient light. Behind or through a glass window, at night, the reflection or glare obtained is mainly due to infrared lights, ambient lights or even status lights.
Solutions to improve the use of your infrared camera behind a window
Change the positioning of the camera
- Move the camera as close to the window as possible, so that the light from the infrared LEDs cannot be reflected. For example, get a suction cup holder that sticks to the window to place your surveillance camera.
- Change the angle of your camera for better results. 5 small degrees can sometimes be enough to partially avoid the reflection of the image.
- Opt for a model with invisible LEDS. There are 2 types of infrared cameras: with standard infrared LEDS (which light up and turn red in the absence of sufficient light without emitting light) and invisible LEDS (completely imperceptible to the naked eye).
- Turn off infrared lights which is possible on most models of surveillance cameras.
- Leave the camera in day mode and block the night mode.
- Put black tape on the infrared emitters or completely disconnect them.
Remember that this solution is only applicable if you have enough light outside.
Light up the exterior
- Install exterior lighting that will illuminate the surroundings of your property.
- Install a lighting system activated by a motion detector to save on electricity consumption and to avoid possible complaints from neighbors.
- Another option, more expensive but effective, is to install an infrared light block outside.
For perfect quality, we recommend combining these three solutions, i.e. bringing the lens of the surveillance camera closer to the glass as much as possible, using for example a suction cup, deactivating or hiding the infrared emitters and illuminate exteriors with normal light linked to a motion or infrared detector.
UPDATE: I’ve found a specific and affordable product that addresses this problem. It’s the LED IR Illuminator for CCTV cameras (link to Amazon). It works well with most security cameras and it turns on when it gets darker outside and turns off when there’s adequate light from external environment in order to save on energy.
What about motion detection through glass?
Surveillance cameras do not all detect movement through a window. This capacity depends on the type of sensor used to trigger the alerts. There are two:
- Motion sensors that measure changes in the image taking into account the pixels. This type of sensor will alert you to the slightest movement whether it is placed behind a window or not.
- Passive infrared motion sensors that detect body heat and infrared or PIR energy . This type of sensor does not work through a window because glass, more particularly double glazing blocks thermal emissions.
Most battery-operated surveillance cameras have pixel motion detection sensors. Sometimes the two options are combined and your safety will be guaranteed. But there are exceptions. It would be better to inquire beforehand with a seller or supplier.
With low power consumption, the infrared surveillance camera is a camera that is used to film in conditions where the light is insufficient or absent. There are several reasons why you may choose to install your surveillance camera inside your home.
Whether it is to avoid any possible deterioration (bad weather, burglars) or simply because you are unable to place it outside, you only need to take inspiration from the above-mentioned recommendations in order to obtain a reasonable image quality. .
As far as motion detection is concerned, however, you will absolutely need a surveillance camera equipped with a motion sensor that detects changes in pixels. If not, then you will have no choice but to install it outside for it to work ideally.