Hidden camera

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For the indie rock band from Canada, see The Hidden Cameras.

A hidden camera is a still or video camera used to film people without their knowledge. The camera is "hidden" because it is either not visible to the subject being filmed, or is disguised as another object. Hidden cameras have become popular for household surveillance, and can be built into common household objects such as smoke detectors, clock radios, motion detectors, ball caps, plants, and mobile phones. Hidden cameras may also be used commercially or industrially as security cameras.

Description[edit]

A hidden spy camera can be wired or wireless. The former will be connected to a TV, VCR, or digital video recorder (DVR), whereas 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). Consequent to the wide proliferation and lower costs of electronics devices, hidden cameras are increasingly finding wider applications.

Nanny cam[edit]

Hidden cameras secretly installed within a common household object to monitor and record the activities of caregivers are commonly referred to as "nanny cams." Legality of using hidden cameras are usually a subject of controversy. For example, a case involving a nanny that was allegedly caught violently shaking a baby was thrown out as worthless evidence (but due to issues regarding video quality, not legality).[1] Some hidden camera television shows have also led to lawsuits or being denied to air by the people who were trapped in set-ups that they found unpleasant. In the United States nanny cams are legal although most are sold without audio capabilities since it is prohibited to intercept audio communications by a surreptitious manner (US Code Title 18, Chapter 119, Section 2512).

Miniaturized cams[edit]

Ultraminiature still cameras have long been used for surreptitious photography, using film as small as 8×11 mm. In particular, Minox cameras were used for clandestinely photographing documents close up for espionage. Today, spy cameras can be bought by anyone for as low as $6 USD, and these modern cameras can be as small as a keychain and take high resolution video.[2]

In reality television[edit]

Hidden cameras are also sometimes used in reality television to catch participants in unusual or absurd situations. Participants will either know they will be filmed, but not always exactly when or where, or do not know they have been filmed until later, at which point they may sign a release or give consent to the footage being produced for a show. This latter sub-genre of unwitting participants began in the 1940s with Allen Funt's Candid Microphone theatrical short films. In 1996 the genre was given an overhaul by Travis Draft who introduced the glasses cam with his show Buzzkill. The show took hidden camera to a whole new level where the performer (Draft himself and Cronies) were the focal point.

Example hidden camera television shows
Show Name Channel Years of Production Number of Episodes
$25 Million Dollar Hoax NBC 2004 3
Animal Kidding Animal Planet 2003 16
Balls of Steel Channel 4 2005
Boiling Points MTV 2003-2005
Breaking Up with Shannen Doherty Oxygen 2006 14
Burned MTV 2003 30
Buzzkill MTV 1995
Candid Camera ABC/NBC/CBS/PAX 1948-1954, 1960-1967, 1987-1988, 1996-2004 1,000+
Celebrity Undercover MTV 20
Cheaters
Crossballs: The Debate Show Comedy Central
Da Ali G Show Channel 4
Damage Control MTV 2005 16
Dirty Sexy Funny: Olivia Lee Comedy Central UK 8
Faking the Video MTV 2004 7
Fire Me...Please CBS 2005 4
Funny Business
Girls Behaving Badly Oxygen 2002-2007 72
Guys Behaving Badly Oxygen 2005 5
Hi-Jinks NIK 2005
Hidden Howie: The Private Life of a Public Nuisance BRAVO 2005 6
Impractical Jokers truTV 2011 53
Infarto Azteca América 2005
Instant Recall GSN 2010 8
Invasion of the Hidden Cameras (When Hidden Cameras Attack) FOX 12
Jamie Kennedy Experiment WB 2003
Just For Laughs 2000
Just Kidding 2012
Kids Behaving Badly Oxygen 2005 10
Laugh Out Loud[3] M-Net
Meet the Marks FOX 2002 7
MotorMouth VH1
My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss
My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé
Naked Camera RTÉ Two 2005-2007 18
Oblivious
People Traps Animal Planet 2002 1
Peter Jacobsen Plugged In
Punk'd MTV 2003-2007, 2012 67
Que Locura Venevisión 2001
ROOM 401 MTV 2007
The Real Wedding Crashers NBC 2007 6
Really Naked Truth Playboy 22
Red Handed UPN 1999
Scare Tactics Syfy 2003
Show Me the Funny FOX 1998 155
Skunked TV NBC 2004 13
Sledgehammer VH1 2001 5
Spy TV NBC 2001 27
Taxicab Confessions HBO 1995
That's Funny 2004 80
Totally Hidden Extreme Magic NBC 2
Totally Busted PlayboyTV 2003
Totally Hidden Video FOX 1989
Tourist Traps 2001 6
Trapped in TV Guide TVG 2006
Trigger Happy TV UK 2000 / US 2003 13
TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes
Ultimate Revenge TNN/SPIKE 2001 26
Videomatch Telefé (Argentina) 1991 - 2004
What Would You Do? ABC since 2009
World Shut Your Mouth BBC 2005 7
Wow Mali / Wow Mali Pa Rin![4] TV5 since 1996
You're On! Nickelodeon 1998
You've Got a Friend (My New Best Friend) MTV 2004 8

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nanny Cleared of Violently Shaking Baby: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/LegalCenter/story?id=1749672#.T0MWTYfoJ7Y
  2. ^ "The 808 Keychain Micro Camera". WordPlop. 15 October 2010. Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  3. ^ "Laugh out Loud". M-Net. Retrieved 2008-01-06. 
  4. ^ Jeffrey Espiritu. "The wow in 'Wow Mali'". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved 2013-09-12.