Discreet cameras or custom hides
 
I've had several clients request that their cameras be hidden or extremely discreet. Seems to be too much to ask at this point to have a discreet, great resolution (low lux too), ptz and cost effective IP cam. Any ideas or places to look for ways to discreetly hide IP cams in a residential setting without drop ceilings? Also, is a home owner required to inform guests they are being recorded?

Get a covert camera, i.e., a clock, smoke detector, etc - and put it into a MPEG-4 video server.  Throw in a IR illuminator for night (discreetly) or get a covert camera that has one built in.

You need to check with your state laws and regulations on informing guests.  For businesses - normally states require posting that surveillance is being performed, but for homes - check with your state (probably not required - since it is THEIR home - in common areas of course and not areas like bathrooms, bedrooms (changing), etc.)

Your solution will not be cheap though - no matter how your wrap it.
Great questions

As far as notifying people they are being recorded depends on two things

1) Location of Camera
2) Recording Video & Audio

Location of the camera falls under the Voyeurism Law which states "if you have no reasonable expectation of privacy" for instance in public places or otherwise you can record without telling people.

That is for Video - if you are also recording Audio there a many more laws that pertain to audio and you will probably be breaking one.  So to play it safe just record video unless you need audio and if so better check the laws closely.

Small PTZ/Covert IP cameras are hard to find - if you need a small camera recommend going w/ a CCTV covert camera and converting w/ a Video server to get it on the network.

 
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