Privacy with film

The info below may be helpful to review.

Here is some more information on ‘one-way’ vision through window film.  We get your question often and I wanted to give you some background information to be sure we are on the same page.

When we talk to our clients about being able to see out and others not being able to see in it gets a little technical.  So, please forgive me if I am over-simplifying this.  First, the term – One Way is sort of a misleading term.  In order to achieve ‘one-way’ privacy on one side of the film/glass/opening, there has to be a difference in the lighting conditions.

For Example:

If one side of the glass is the interior of your home and the other is the exterior (outside) there is usually a lighting difference, especially in the daytime.  The exterior has much more light than the interior due to the sun’s light.  If we put a film on your glass (maybe, front storm door) it can make it nearly impossible to see in during the daytime.  This enables you to see out and someone on the exterior not to be able to see in well or at all.  Even plain glass without film that has a darker interior area where there is more light on the opposite side it is hard to see through – think of a microwave or conventional oven with a window – hard to see in when the light is off (dark) on the inside, but once the light is turned on it changes the view in significantly.

Now, let us look at it from the opposite side when there is less light on the exterior (outside) than inside – say at night when there are lights on in the house and it is dark outside and the sun is down.  A person on the outside could see into the house because there is more light on the interior.  If there is a film (tint) on the glass it may make it a little harder to see into the house but they very likely are able to see in at night. The closer a person is to the door the better they will be able to see in. Going back to the oven example.  If the light is turned on inside the oven it enables someone to see inside the oven from the outside easily. The difference of light on the interior and exterior has been changed and it reverses the effect.

Continuing, due to the way light works with our eyes to see we need to have a transparent surface (glass or glass plus tint) to be able to view in or out through.  So if we create a ‘One-Way’ effect on glass with a film it works well as long as there is more light on one side (outside) than the other (interior).


More options to consider…

If you want to create privacy for the daytime and nighttime we have alternatives, Opaque and Translucent films.

Opaque films are films that do not let light through, in the day or night.  Think of a brick wall – no light passes through.  This will give privacy no matter what the light does or how it changes during the day or night. The only drawback is that you can’t see in or out at all day or night.

Translucent films are films that bend or scatter light.  Think of a piece of wax/parchment paper where light and shadows can be seen but not clearly.  The light passes into the surface and is bounced/muted or taken out its straight beam is disbursed.  Visibility through a transparent film is usually known by seeing movement and rough shapes.  The privacy of a translucent film is better in the daytime and as long as the nighttime lighting is not casting a shadow on the film it works well.  The drawback of translucent film is that you can’t see out clearly day or night – from the inside or outside irregardless of the light.

We have a few options on Opaque films (white/black/plus some colors) and many options of Translucent Films (frost – light/medium/dense, patterns, and gradients).  We can install these translucent products in a variety of ways to customize them to your preferences.