We recently took a detailed look at the new Amazon Cloud Cam. We liked it. There’s some nice higher end features and it pairs great with Alexa. The Amazon Cloud Cam isn’t intended for outdoor use but we know some will want to use it to keep an eye on what’s going on outside the house or office. That’s why we’re looking at how to use an Amazon Cloud Cam through a window
If you need lots more detail on this camera, be sure to read our very detailed Amazon Cloud Cam Review.
Like most home security cameras, the default settings do not facilitate an optimal viewing experience. There are some changes that need to be made prior to pointing an Amazon Cloud Cam through a window. We’ll walk you through the software and hardware modifications necessary.
We learned how to point the Amazon Cloud Cam through a window by experimenting. So we’re going to share our pointers to save our faithful readers some time.
The issue is glare from the window glass. It’s especially going to be poor at night as you will see a reflection of lights that you can’t see with the bare eye. These are the IR LEDs used for night viewing. It completely obliterates the scene at night through a window. If using the camera in a room, these IR LEDs are exactly what you need to improve night vision. However, using them through glass is a problem.
When it comes to an indoor window, the closer you can get the camera, the better. Now the stand on the Amazon Cloud Cam won’t allow you to press the lens directly against the glass because the camera cannot pivot forward enough, but you can get it close. Pivot the camera as far forward as possible. Then put the stand as close as possible to the window.
At night, be sure the lights in your home or office are off. Lights will result in a halo effect around the camera. You can potentially minimize the effects of room light by closing any curtains or shades when the room light is on.
You might want the camera placed higher on the window for the best view. Use the ElHook Stick-On Nest Cam Security Video Wall Mount to raise the position of the Amazon Cloud Cam. It will work with this camera quite well. The round stand on the bottom of the Amazon Cloud Cam is a near perfect fit. This mount is useful in that you can mount it to a window without using permanent adhesive.
The status light on the Amazon Cloud Cam serves several purposes on this camera and the settings do not currently allow the light to be deactivated. Fortunately the status light doesn’t add a lot of glare as it isn’t very large nor overly bright. You can always cover it with some heavy tape but don’t think that’s necessary so suggest leaving it alone.
This is probably the most important thing that can be done to improve the video quality of an Amazon Cloud Cam through a window at night. The Amazon Cloud Cam has a series of infrared (IR) LEDs that activate for night vision. Works great in a dark room, but like all cameras, these will reflect big time when pointing your Amazon Cloud Cam through a window. Turn them off through the app. The night vision settings can be found in the settings portion of the app about halfway down. Select Night Vision then turn off the infrared lights. When you want to use the camera for a look indoors at night, turn the IR lights back on through the app.
It helps to have some exterior lights available and turned on. As you can see from the photo that accompanies this article, you can see outside fairly well thanks to the porch lights.
Hopefully the area that you want to see is well lit at night. If not, external infrared lights that can be purchased and activated only when needed. You want to locate these external IR lights outdoors. You can even add a timed outlet to turn these on at certain times.
Consider the Univivi IR Illuminator 90 Degree Wide Angle 8-Leds IR Infrared Light as a good external source for use through a window or placed outside the home. This one comes with an AC cable which for whatever reason isn’t always included. If your outdoor scene is very dimly lit, this might be a good addition. Be sure to place this preferably outdoors or, if indoors, through a different window or as far away as possible from the Amazon Cloud Cam.
Check Out the Photo
The photo that accompanies this article is using an Amazon Cloud Cam through a window. No external IR lights. This was taken on a chilly night in January.
It isn’t perfect but certainly better than when we started with the factory defaults and the camera not being optimally placed.
All of these articles are written by someone (me) that figured out how to do this stuff the hard way. I have owned and tested dozens of cameras. Manufacturer support varies. There are a few good companies that provide timely answers when you have questions. There are several that sell you the camera and seem to have little interest in post sales support (which leads me to finding out stuff the hard way).