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Tips for camera placement

When you’re selecting a location for your Google Nest camera or doorbell, consider what you want to keep an eye on, things that can block or affect the view, Wi-Fi range, and more. If you plan to talk to people, make sure the microphone and speaker aren’t blocked.

Basic placement tips

  • Your camera gets a better view of people when it’s placed at head level or a little higher. Adjust the angle so your camera’s looking slightly downward and it can easily view people’s faces, even if they’re wearing a hat. Use the app to check that you can clearly view people’s faces before you permanently mount it.
  • Placing your camera so it looks out a window can negatively affect its performance. For instance, Night vision's quality and detection can also be impacted, and a battery powered camera's motion sensor may not turn on the camera.
  • Nest Cam (battery) should be placed between 6 and 6.5 ft (1.8 and 2m) high for optional detection. If you plan to mount your camera higher than 6.5 ft (2 m) above the ground, you'll need to purchase a Made for Google mount accessory.
  • Your doorbell's camera has a tall field of view, so installing it 4 ft (1.2 m) high can help it view people and packages.
  • If there’s a wall blocking one side of the view, consider using the included wedge to angle your doorbell.
  • Your camera needs good air circulation. Never install it in any kind of small box or enclosure as this can cause overheating.
  • Please review the Safety guidelines. When using your camera to watch your kids, make sure the camera and its power cable stay out of reach. Take precautions and securely mount your camera if you plan to install it more than 6.5 ft (2 m) above the ground.

Lighting and field of view

  • Make sure your camera is set up to avoid backlighting. Backlighting occurs when a light source shines towards your camera. This makes people and other objects appear dark or blacked out, and video quality will be affected.
    • For instance, to record your front porch make sure that the porch lights don’t shine into your camera.

Range

  • Generally, closer is better so your camera can capture more detail. So, an adult of average height should be no more than 20 ft away.
  • Night vision relies on infrared LED's to light the subjects in view, so it's important to place your camera close to the area of interest.
  • It's best to check live and recorded video to make sure that it meets your expectations, and adjust your installation as needed.

Indoor cameras

  • Do not use indoor cameras outside. Use them inside only and keep them out of direct sunlight.
  • Some common placements are on a bookcase, atop on top of the refrigerator, or even at the top of a staircase looking down.

Outdoor cameras

  • Use the app to check your camera’s view and make sure you’re not getting glare from the sun in the day or from a floodlight at night. If you do, point the camera downward until you get a clear image. 
  • Mount your camera in a shaded spot such as under an eave, or install a small shade above the camera. This can keep the sun from shining directly into the lens, and helps prevent overheating in extreme temperatures.

Specific placement tips

Refer to the sections below for more tips and things to consider when deciding where to place your camera. 

Give your camera a clear view

  • Your camera has a wide-angle lens, so you have a lot of options for placing it in a good spot to catch activity. But you won’t get alerts if motion happens in areas obstructed from view, so check the app to make sure your camera can view the whole scene clearly.
  • Night Vision can be affected by objects close by and those surfaces could reflect infrared light and hamper your camera’s ability to view things in the distance.
  • If you’re getting a lot of glare, try placing your camera a little higher and angle it downward.

A visible camera can be a deterrent

  • If you want your camera to help discourage intruders, try mounting it so that people will notice it as they approach. The camera status light makes it easy for people to know that it’s active. 
  • If you prefer your camera to blend in, think of ways it can visually tie into things that are already there, like similarly colored items on a shelf.

Zoom in to view things far away

If you need to place your camera far from the spot you want to watch, use your camera’s zoom feature to get a closer look. Change the video zoom setting in the app to keep your camera zoomed in all the time.

Make the most of an indoor camera that looks outside

While you can point an indoor camera out a window to view what’s happening outside, this might affect your video quality. For example, the window glass can create reflections, and your view is limited by the size and location of the window.

Instead, if your goal is to record an outdoor space, install one of Nest’s outdoor cameras to get the best quality video. They are designed to work outside and withstand the elements. 

If you prefer to use an indoor camera, here are some tips for pointing it out a window.

  • To reduce reflections and glare, try mounting the camera so that the lens is flush against the glass.
  • Avoid windows that have a mesh screen as they can affect motion detection.

Keep the TV out of your camera's view

To avoid getting false familiar face alerts from people in TV shows and movies, point your camera away from the TV.

When you can’t face the camera away from the TV and still keep your desired viewing angle, you can create an activity zone that excludes the TV or change your camera’s notification settings so it doesn’t send alerts for familiar or unfamiliar faces when you’re home.

Respect the law and others' privacy

Remember, you are responsible for making sure that the way you use your camera complies with the law, including any applicable privacy or data protection laws. Please also check out our Tips for respecting the privacy of others when using Nest products.

If your camera supports familiar face detection, use this feature in compliance with the law. Depending on where you live, you might need to get consent to have your camera help identify people visiting your home.

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