Surveillance gadgets, I love them.
Performing this type of work for over ten years now I have come across a lot of cool stuff to assist in surveillance. There are hundreds of covert cameras out there. Cameras in coffee cups, water bottles, pens, key chains and the list goes on and on. And yes, I have spent quite a bit of money on these items. I have to say though that my favorite covert camera is my handy everyday Sony HD Handy cam.
The smaller covert cameras are great; however, the biggest downfall is that on most of them you cannot view what you are recording live. If you do not have a bag cam set up by now you really need to make one. The best part is, it’s easy and cheap. Whatever you do, DO NOT USE A CAMERA BAG !!! A fellow investigator made a bag cam from a small camera bag and asked my opinion. I told him straight up, “It’s a camera bag man, you look like a P.I.”
The photos below show what I use to make a bag cam.
I went to Wal-Mart and in the sporting goods department found a small NBA carrying bag, a black one is best to use but I gave my black one to a co-worker and have not found a black one since. I use a blue one now and it works just great. The bag measures 10″ x 10″.
Next, I took a small plastic container and placed it in the bottom of the bag. The container is what holds the camera steady. I line my container with an old dish cloth. After placing the container inside the bag, place your camera into the container. Make sure your container is big enough so that your camera view screen can open without problems.
Now mark a spot on the container and on the bag where you are going to cut a hole. Obviously make sure the two holes line up with each other.
Yes, I know what you are thinking, you have a bag with a hole in it everyone is going to notice that. To camouflage the hole, cut a strip of black window screen and place that across the whole bottom section of the bag and right over the hole you cut. I used fabric glue to hold mine in place. Your camera will focus through the black screen. Adjustments may be needed but it will work.
Inside the bag, you will want to glue the bag onto the plastic container, only in the front, so that the bag doesn’t accidently cover the container hole.
When I follow my claimant into a grocery store, the first thing I do is grab something that is small enough to fit in the seat part of the basket, bags of chips, pack of napkins. I then place the bag cam on top of that and then place a couple other items around the bag. Reach inside your bag, open the view finder, adjust the focus and start rolling that tape. I have no doubt that you will soon find this to be one of the best covert items in your toolbox.
Stay alert and keep rolling that tape.
Written by D. Kelner of Distinctive Investigations