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 cellphones. Hidden cameras may also be used commercially or industrially as security cameras.
A hidden 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).
Some hidden camera television shows have led to lawsuits or being denied to air by the people who were trapped in set-ups that they found unpleasant.
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.
Hidden camera shows
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.
A few of many 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 (UK) 2005 Boiling Points MTV 2003-2005 Breaking Up with Shannen Doherty Oxygen 2006 14 Burned MTV 2003 30 Buzzkill MTV 1995 Candid Camera Celebrity Undercover MTV 20 Cheaters Crossballs: The Debate Show Comedy Central Da Ali G Show Channel 4 (UK) 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 Infarto Azteca América Instant Recall GSN 2010 8 Invasion of the Hidden Cameras (When Hidden Cameras Attack) FOX 12 Jamie Kennedy Experiment WB 2003 Just For Laughs Just Kidding Kids Behaving Badly Oxygen 2005 10 Laugh Out Loud M-Net Meet the Marks FOX 2002 7 MotorMouth VH1 My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé Naked Camera RTE 2005-2007 18 Oblivious People Traps Animal Planet 2002 1 Peter Jacobsen Plugged In Punk'd MTV 64 Que Locura Venevisión 2001 ROOM 401 MTV The Real Wedding Crashers NBC 2007 6 Really Naked Truth Playboy 22 Red Handed UPN 1999 Scare Tactics Syfy Show Me the Funny FOX 1998 155 Skunked TV NBC 2004 13 Sledgehammer VH1 2001 5 Spy TV NBC 2001 27 Taxicab Confessions HBO That's Funny 2004 80 Totally Hidden Extreme Magic NBC 2 Totally Busted PlayboyTV Totally Hidden Video FOX 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 What Would You Do? ABC since 2009 World Shut Your Mouth BBC 2005 7 You're On! Nickelodeon 1998 You've Got a Friend (My New Best Friend) MTV 2004 8
Hidden camera pilot episodes or unaired shows
5 Non Blondes VH1 2004 Celeb Look-Alike Show Clipped February 2005 Close Encounters USA 2001 Evil Puppet Masters SPIKE TV 2003 Exploding Baloney NIK 2004 First Night (aka Skid Row) 2006 Gagsters WB 2004 Game Show In My Head CBS 2007 Go Sick ABC 2001 Guy's Night Out Hotel Hell FOX 2001 The Joke's On You NBC 2006 The Jon Lovitz Show CBS 2005 Mabe in the USA Make My Day WB 2003 Man Maid 2007 Only Human CBS 1993 Only Joking FOX 2000 Outfoxxed TBS 2003 The Papdits CBS 2006 Payback NBC Relative Chaos 2006 S.O.B BET Scare TV WB Kids Shameless MTV Stung MTV 2001 Sweet Revenge NBC 2000 Untitled Martin Lawrence Project TBS 2004 VH1 Undercover VH1 2001
- Anything for Love
- David Letterman
- The Ellen DeGeneres Show
- Howie Do It
- Jay Leno
- Jimmy Kimmel Live
- Noel's House Party
- The Man Show
- Sunday Sunday Night
- The Chasers War on Everything
- Yes We Canberra
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