How to stop IR reflection

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If you are worried about the footage your security camera is producing, in this article, we are going to tell you how to stop IR reflection and everything else you need to know about this pesky problem.

While installing a security camera in your home can be a great theft deterrent, the truth is that some security cameras might have the occasional problem that needs to be troubleshooted. One of those problems is infrared reflection, which can render the footage unusable.

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Example of IR reflection

What is IR reflection

Nowadays, most security cameras are able to record in the dark. Most of these cameras rely on infrared LEDs to capture nighttime footage. Even though we can’t see it, every object emits infrared waves. By using infrared LEDs to douse the camera lens in IR light, security cameras can capture these infrared waves and convert them into images we can actually see. 

While the placement of these LEDs might differ, the infrared lights are usually located somewhere along the camera lens. When the housing of the lens doesn’t properly account for the IR LEDs, it can reflect some of these infrared lights, turning the image blurry or downright unusable.

IR reflection is the reflection of the infrared lights onto the camera’s lens.

What causes IR reflection?

IR reflection can be caused either by objects that are too close to the infrared LEDs, such as dust inside the camera housing, or by reflective materials that bounce the infrared rays back into the camera lens.

A CCTV camera that is placed too close to a window might get its infrared rays reflected onto it. At the same time, even if there is no clear obstacle in sight, a puddle could also bounce the rays back.

How to stop IR reflection

Now that we know what causes IR reflection, it is easy to stop it from happening. If you haven’t bought your security camera yet, then this is also a good time for you to check its reviews. Some cheaper cameras can have housings that reflect IR light. It is easier to fix the problem at the source (by buying a different camera, in this case) than by trying to find a workaround.

In any case, here are some tips that can help you stop unwanted IR reflection:

Move your camera to a different location

While it may be easier to adjust the cause of the reflection than the camera itself in some cases, there are times when moving the camera to a different surveillance location is the simplest solution.

If you are facing IR glare from a difficult-to-adjust object, then consider placing the camera in a place away from said object.

Place your camera closer to the window

Windows are one of the main sources of IR glare. Placing the camera at an inappropriate distance from the window has a serious probability of rendering the footage unusable due to the window’s glare.

If you are using your indoor camera to monitor an outside location through a window, try to place the camera as close to the window glass as possible. Placing the camera close to the glass reduces the chance of unwanted reflections while still letting you monitor the outside.

Use motion-activated lights and disable night mode on your camera

While some cameras always have the infrared LEDs on and use filters to block IR light during the day, there are cameras where you can turn off the night vision mode. However, if you turn off the night mode capabilities without taking any extra steps, you will be unable to see any footage recorded at night.

To prevent this, you can install motion-activated lights near the place that is under surveillance. If someone walks nearby and triggers the motion-activated sensor, the light will turn on, and the camera will be able to record everything that’s happening—even if its night mode is turned off.

The drawback to this is that if, by any chance, the motion-activated light doesn’t trigger, or if someone finds a way to disable it, then you won’t have any footage of the occurrence.

Disable the IR lights

If you don’t necessarily need the IR capabilities of your security camera but have no way of turning them off in the camera itself, you can disable them manually to prevent the glare.

Most cameras have their IR LEDs close to the lens. One option is to remove the LEDs, effectively disabling the IR capabilities of your camera. However, depending on the camera, that might be slightly complicated. An easier option is to tape the LEDs over with duct tape. That way, you will prevent the IR light from being reflected onto the lens.

Seek a replacement camera or buy a more expensive device

If nothing else works to reduce the IR glare, then it is possible you might have a faulty device. If that is the case, then you should seek a replacement from the manufacturer. However, you should know that sometimes cheaper cameras aren’t built to spec and will often suffer from IR glare.

If your replacement camera still displays the same infrared problem and none of the fixes suggested above work, then you might need to consider upgrading to a superior device. Cheaper cameras often include night vision mode as a selling point; however, they do not implement the feature properly.

If you absolutely need nighttime surveillance but can’t stop the IR reflection from your current model, then consider a camera that was actually built with low-light performance in mind.

Conclusion

To conlcude this article, when security cameras utilise infrared LEDs to record images at night, IR reflection is a potential issue. It is brought on by materials that reflect infrared photons back into the camera lens or by items that are too close to the infrared LEDs, such as dust in the camera housing.

To not have any surprises when you check your security camera footage, one can relocate the camera, put it nearer the window, turn off the camera’s night mode, use motion-activated lights, or manually turn off the IR lights to prevent IR reflection. It is also a good idea to read the camera reviews before buying one to make sure there are no IR reflection issues.

Image source: Reddit