Archive for the ‘ CCTV Articles ’ Category



The Advantages of a Pan Tilt Zoom PTZ Camera

Written By:
Friday, July 24th, 2015

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It can be difficult choosing the right security camera for your needs. There are so many different types and sizes to choose from. Most cheaper security cameras are limited. The only view you get is the one that it is positioned in. If you have ever tried to video a moving subject such as a child, an animal, or an adult, you know that they will not just stay in the field of view of the camera. The purpose of a security camera for the most part is to keep an eye on your products, property, family, and or personnel. Any criminal would try their hardest to stay out of the camera’s field of view. With a pan tilt zoom camera it makes their attempt to hide from the camera almost impossible. If a security camera has a 60 degree viewing angle it will capture some objects but in greater detail than a security camera with a 90 degree viewing angle that will capture more objects but with fewer details.

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The size of a cameras lens and or “focal length” is the main factor when it comes to determining the field of view. A camera with the focal length of 3.6mm will have a field of view of 78 degrees. A camera with the focal length of 5.1mm will have a field of view of 58 degrees. A camera with the focal length of 6mm will have a field of view of 51 degrees. A camera with the focal length of 9mm will have a field of view of 39 degrees. The smaller lenses are also known as wide-angle lenses, which can give you a larger field of view than cameras with a larger lens. When it comes to lenses in security cameras, bigger does not always mean better. With wide-angle lenses, the objects will appear smaller within the camera image but it will cover a larger area. The wide-angle lenses are meant for monitoring larger areas such as foyers, warehouses, back and front yards and parking lots. The other lens options are larger lenses, also known as narrow-angle lenses, and have a smaller field of view. These lenses capture a smaller and more limited area, but the objects will appear larger and more detailed. The purpose of these types of cameras are for narrowing in on a specific target such as a doorways, hallways, cash registers and other objects of value.

field of views

There is a lens option called “fixed lens” which means the focal length is set permanently and cannot be adjusted by the cameras user. When choosing one of these lenses it is very important you choose the right field of view because you can not adjust it later. “Varifocal Lenses” allow the user to adjust the cameras lens by using certain adjustment knobs and screws. Of course a camera with this ability will make the camera more expensive. Although they are more expensive, you have the capability of making the adjustments you may require later. The focus settings on these types of cameras may have to be adjusted from time to time. In order to unsure you are able to switch quickly between narrow and a wide field of view your best option would be a “Pan Tilt Zoom” camera also known a PTZ camera. The PTZ camera has a motorized varifocal lens that can be used to change the cameras field of view from your digital video recorder, network video recorder, tablet, computer or smart phone. In order to change the view, you will need the control panel which is normally sold separately. PTZ cameras are named for their capabilities, you can pan, tilt, and zoom in on what you want to focus on. Unlike all other cameras, the PTZ camera has a full field of view.

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A useful innovation that is available with a PTZ camera is “Auto Tracking”. Auto tracking is a built-in firmware program that monitors any change in pixels generated by the video. When there is movement the pixels change as a result and the camera will then move and will focus on the pixel variation in an attempt to center the pixel fluctuation on the video clip. As a result the camera will follow or “track” the movement. This program also allows the camera to estimate the size of the object moving and the distance of the movements from the camera. These estimates help the camera to adjust the camera’s optical lens in and out to stabilize and focus on the movement. Once the movement exits the camera’s field of view, the camera will automatically return to its pre-programmed position until it senses movement again. In order to exit a PTZ cameras field of view which is 360 degrees you must exit the room, and if you are outside you would go around the building.

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PTZ cameras are normally used to monitor a larger area with a single camera and a conventional PTZ camera is normally pointed at a specific area. This limits the video recorded unless it is being monitored and controlled by a person or auto tracker software.

Salient points you should know about IP/PTZ cameras:

– PTZ cameras can store a fixed number of preset positions. In order to choose the view you want, you set each view to a numbered button. It can also be programmed to auto shift between those positions for a set amount of time.

– Many PTZ cameras allow users to draw a small box with their mouse and zoom in on that selected area.

– With some PTZ cameras the administrator has the ability to designate users to change the position of the camera, but only one user can change the position/view at a time

– Some PTZ IP cameras can freeze the image, move to another position then release the freeze so the user can only see the targeted areas.

– the speed of the PTZ features can be adjusted.

– it is possible to limit the maximum pan and tilt angles.

– the quality of the zoom feature is restricted to the resolution of the camera chosen.

All in all a PTZ is one of the most technologically advanced cameras available today.

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Can Security Cameras Capture Ghost Activity?

Written By:
Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

Ghost photography has been around almost as long as cameras have existed. Usually these consisted of multiple or long exposures, or other photography tricks.. and the gritty, grainy nature of early photography led to the authenticity to these pictures.

Spooky

Spooky

But many skeptics of the time, such as magician Harry Houdini, knew how these images were achieved and were able to successfully show how they could be either rationally explained or recreated using natural phenomena.

Back then, cameras were a novelty, and moving image cameras were only available to the rich. Now, we live in the age of surveillance where everyone has a high resolution video camera in their pocket. And, surveillance cameras are literally everywhere we work, live, play, and drive. We also have several long-running incredibly poplar television shows that claim to hunt these ghosts and claim to capture ghost activity.

"What was THAT?!"

“What was THAT?!”

There are billion dollar movie franchises like “Paranormal Activity” where the premise is entirely based around the idea of catching spiritual entities on a surveillance camera.. that’s how deeply ingrained the concept is in our culture.

Cost 5 bucks to make, made a bazillion dollars.

Cost 5 bucks to make, made a bazillion dollars.

We’re on camera at least 70 percent of the day now. So with all that surveillance footage being shot.. millions of hours of footage being shot every second.. why aren’t we seeing ghosts more often than we are? And why aren’t they more consistent in the forms they take?

Well, thanks to YouTube and other video sharing sites on the Internet, we can take a closer look at these claims and try to see if there is any validity to the claims, or whether there’s a more everyday, rational explainable for what we’re seeing.

So with this article, let’s examine a few popular viral security camera videos that purportedly show some sort of supernatural phenomena. After each one, we’ll examine the most plausible explanation for it.

Disney Land Ghost

In this incredibly grainy video, we see an undated after hours security camera tape from Disney Land. After a few seconds.. a floaty ribbon of light appears to move from left to right on the footage.

Probable explanation – VCR Tape Wear Artifact

Believe it or not.. there are some businesses that still use tapes and VCRs to record security footage… Incredible, I know. But it’s true. At this point it’s the video equivalent of an 8 track tape. But, these are usually businesses that have had the same systems in place for years and the businesses believe they are too expensive to replace or perhaps they just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Either way, what we’re seeing here are the results of of an over-used VHS tape, probably the same one they’ve been taping and re-taping on for years. As anyone who is old enough to have recorded footage on EP mode several times over on a video cassette will tell you, these can produce some odd artifacts and “ghosting” effects on the tape.. sometimes strikingly so. So much so that over the years, VHS tapes have acquired a post-modern ‘creepy’ status solidified by “THE RING” series of films which used the “ghostly look of old tape to it’s advantage.

Gas Station Ghost

One of the few ghost stories that actually became a news story on CNN, this one involves a chunky blue cloudy blob of an apparition that floats around to a few separate places on the screen before flying off.

Probable Explanation – Bug
Moths and other bugs are not uncommon hindrances to security cameras. If one gets too close to the lens, it will appear out of focus blob, and move somewhat erratically, much like the one shown here.

Daytona Beach Hotel Ghost

In an old luxury hotel in Daytona Beach, Florida.. a white blob of a specter appears to float around the bar area. A security guard was reportedly sent to investigate, but was “spooked” and declined to do so. The head of security of the hotel reports of other ghostly phenomena such as noises, wails, keys jangling, but here we’ll only focus on what can actually be confirmed.. the video.

Probable Explanation – Bug.. again.

Again.. judging by the path the ‘ghost’ takes moving across the image of this hotel bar.. sort of an arcing curve.. it could very well be a bug… probably a small moth walking across the lens. Or, it could be an anomaly in the digital video.

Jakarta Angel

In this video, you’ll see what purports to be a hotel or mall in Indonesia. It starts with a person walking by, nonchalantly, then suddenly a large glowing object falls out of the sky like a lightning bolt, lands, then immediately flies back up into the sky, all in the span of about a second.

Probable explanation – Computer Animation
One of the least convincing videos on this list… It’s fairly evident that this “angel” was created in post-production with graphics or animation software, as it’s movement resembles something you might find in a video game.

Woman walks through a ghost in Tokyo

Probable Explanation – Creative Video Editing.

Much like the proliferation of video cameras over the last 20 years or so, video editing and special effects software has been put in to the hands of just about anyone with a computer. And now that we even have small computers in our pockets, anyone can edit or add an effect to a video.. and most of this software comes ready-made with tools and tricks to maintain the original camera’s look and fidelity or glitches… in other words.. it’s really easy to fake videos these days.

The problem with definitively proving whether ghosts or paranormal activity exists through a video format, especially these days, is that there are dozens of ways that footage can be either faked or simply be misunderstood natural phenomena. So while these videos are entertaining, they are a poor method for “studying” this phenomena or trying to use it as proof of it’s existence. Like UFO videos, they’re occasionally entertaining, and fun to speculate about. But, it’s always wise to first cast a skeptical eye on supernatural claims.

If you want to try your luck with capturing a real ghost with a security camera, we have lots of cameras to choose from. Check out our Secuirty Camera Systems (that do not use VHS tapes!). Who knows, maybe you’ll capture a ghost! Or, in any rate a bug that resembles a ghost for a really nice YouTube upload :)

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How to Configure an Eline ELI-SIP-EMVD-21-4R ONVIF IP Security Camera

Written By:
Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

ONVIF cameras are getting very popular and more of these type of cameras are able to integrate almost 100% with our NVRs. Today I will explain how to use the ELI-SIP-EMVD-21-4R ONVIF IP Dome Security Camera with an NVR-ELT4-POE4. I will demonstrate how to find the camera on the network, basic IP configuration to use with the POE NVR, and some of the settings you will need to set to record motion.

Lets start by connecting the cameras on a POE switch on your network. It is recommended that you install all the necessary tools to find the cameras on the network once they are connected.

Tools and utilities can be found in here

After one of the cameras is connected to the switch, open the search tool and select the option labeled “Device obtain an IP address automatically” option to make the camera get an IP address from the DHCP server of the router.

Device Search tool

Once the camera appears in the tool, select the device ID, “Device obtain an IP address automatically” and click modify.

The next option will be to access the cameras web interface and change some settings. We will need to change the encoding, FPS (Frames per Second), bit rate and bit rate type. Below is a screenshot of what I recommend these cameras to be set at:

Stream 1Stream 2

In this kind of setup, it is very important to be consistent. The key to having your network stability good at all times is to a consistent bandwidth throughout your devices. IP cameras can definitely make your network unstable if these devices are not set correctly. Some cameras can be set to use a higher amount of bandwidth when there is a lot of motion happening, as an example.

Another thing to configure in these cameras is the Time. In order to have the time in sync with the NVR, the GMT for both the camera and the NVR needs to be set to (GMT+08:00). Also, make sure that DST is set to “ON” on both the camera and NVR and the NTP is OFF. We need to make sure that after the GMT & DST has been set on both devices, the time needs to be changed manually to your current time. Save these settings and reboot the NVR.

Time GMT

Another setting I would change is the channel name. This is not required but is just a personal preference. I like to identify my cameras based on location so they are easy to manage when pulling footage.

Camera name

Our next setting to be configured is the Motion Alarm on the camera. Most likely the camera will be already configured to record motion, but just to be sure I will check the settings as follows:

Motion 1 Motion 2 Motion 3

Click on the tool range icon and select all to get the days of the week selected. Select for the beginning time 00:00 and for the end time 24:00. These settings will allow you to have a period of 24H of motion recording. What this means is that the camera will have the schedule for motion alarm for a 24H period but motion recording will only occur when there is an object on from of the camera.

Click on “motion area” to make sure the entire region is selected. You can click on the reverse button to clear the entire area, then you can simply select different areas as you like. This particular type of setting allows you to mask shadows or any other unnecessary objects that could possibly trigger false alarms.

Now that we have configured the camera we can add the camera to the NVR. Connect the camera to the back of the NVR on port 1 of the build in POE port. 

NVR POE

After the camera is connected, allow a few minutes for the NVR to assign an IP address to the camera. We will need to make sure that the NVR settings are correct.

The easiest way to figure what to do at this point is to connect the recorder to the power supply that comes with the unit and then connect an Ethernet cable from your router to the Ethernet port of the NVR. After the unit turns On, you will then need to go to the network settings of the NVR. Of course, you need to be connected to a monitor to see these settings.

Most of our NVRs will have a new interface, the “blue interface”, and the menus will be spread out a bit different than the previous version. At this point you will notice that there are 3 parts of this window menu: The top is operation, mid is info, and bottom is setting. Go to network and the following page will display:

setting-network-TCPip

Depending on the type of NVR you have, some will have additional settings, but overall the steps are the same. We will be focusing on getting an IP address for the NVR. Click on DHCP, apply and save. You will be kicked out of that menu and in a few seconds your NVR will contact the router to get an available IP address.  Go back to the network settings to see what IP address you received. Normally, what I will do is to set the IP address to a digit higher than what the NVR was assigned. This way I will avoid any IP conflicts in the network. Certain router’s DHCP settings will start from 192.168.1.100 all the way to 192.168.1.254 and it also depends on the network scheme and who configured the router initially. Assuming that the router’s scheme is within the numbers above I will set the NVR with the following IP: 192.168.1.200.

Now that I have that out of the way, the next thing to do is to configure the IP cameras address. Many times customers and installers connect all the cameras at the same time without considering that it could cause a major problem when trying to assign an IP address to the camera or even to have the cameras show up in the tool finder (IP Search). Nowadays, most of our cameras are configured as DHCP. Therefore, if you have a router in the same network as the NVR, then most likely the camera will get an IP address from the DHCP pool setup in the router as soon as it is connected to the the POE switch that they will be connected to.

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Access Control Anti-PassBack – Why Use it and How to Configure It!

Written By:
Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

Access-Denied

What is Anti-PassBack?

Anti-PassBack is a feature in our access control software that can be used to make sure people scan in and out of your building in that order. You need to have 2 access control readers per door; one on the outside and one on the inside. When an employee comes in they will scan their card on the outside and the door opens. Then when they leave, they must scan the reader on the inside in order to get out. If they do not scan out, the card will not work on the outside reader again, and so they will not be let in. What that means is if they scan in, in the morning and do not scan out, the outdoor reader will not let them in the next time they try and scan in. You must scan in, scan out, and then they will have access granted from the outside again.

Why would I use Anti-PassBack?

The only reason why I would use Anti-PassBack is simply for tracking when employees are coming and going and how often they are coming and going. It is also useful for when you require employees to have their access control cards on them at all times. In my testing I used two users, Kuchuk and El Jeffe. If Kuchuk walks up to the door first, and before he can scan in El Jeffe says “Dude I forgot my fob at home, can you scan in and throw me your fob out the window so the cameras see me scan in?”.

Unfortunately for El Jeffe, this will not work, because the user Kuchuk scans in, throws his fob to El Jeffe and the card will not let him in a second time, unless that user scans the indoor reader to get out first, and then he will regain access from the outside.

How Do I Configure Anti-PassBack?

First thing’s first. You need to build your access control database in the software. You need to start by getting your access control board on your network and then adding it to the software. You can do so by using the tool below. This is a web service enabler which is where you change the IP address to your scheme.

Web Service Enabler –

http://www.securitycameraking.com/securityinfo/downloads/?wpdmdl=139&ind=0

Once you have done this, you can add the board into the software by choosing “Basic Config” > “Controllers” > “Search” and then add your board to the software. Once you have done that you need to add your departments by choosing the “Department” tab under Basic Config and “Add Top”. For my article I used “Article Test” as my department name. Once you have that, it is time to add users. The way I like to do this is to add them by swiping the cards, look at the top left of the software and choose “Auto Add Cards By Swiping”. When you have that up scan the first card, choose the department, and click OK. As soon as you have added the card, go to Basic Config > Personnel > and enter the name that will go with that card. make sure to do this for every card you scan so you do not get confused and be sure to label them as you go so you know which card belongs to who.

Now that all of your departments, and users have been added to the database you need to enable Anti-PassBack. At the bottom left side of the software choose “Tools” > “Extended Functions” > 5678 is the password. Look at the picture below (left) and see that “Activate Anti-PassBack” needs to be enabled. To enable it, check the box for it and click OK. The software will make you close it and reopen it, if you click yes to do so it will do it on its own and all you have to do is log in again. Now when you go into “Access Control”, you will see a new tab for Anti-PassBack. Open it up, choose your board, and click edit. I am using a 4 door board so mine looks like this, below (right). In this case I will choose No. 1 /No. 2 No. 3 / No. 4. This is showing you that readers 1 and 2 are grouped to the same door and 3 and 4 are grouped to another door.

Anti-PassBack Art.Anti-PassBAck Art2

That wasn’t so hard was it? Now all there is to do is to upload it all to the board and watch it work. To upload it all to the board go to “Basic Operate” > choose “select all” > “Upload” and pres ok. It will let you know this is successful. As soon as this says it was successful you are ready to go. I will show you that it works here by monitoring the readers. I will choose select all, then monitor, and if you see the picture below you will see how it works. Notice how Kuchuk scans in, then passes his fob to El Jeffe but El Jeffe is denied access. El Jeffe then throws the fob back to Kuchuk who then scans out and back in successfully. Then you will notice that El Jeffe has learned his lesson and comes to the office tomorrow with his fob, scans in, scans out for lunch and then back in all successfully. Remember, once you have scanned in, you can not gain access from outside without scanning yourself out first.

Anti-PassBackART3

I have to say, not too many people will have a need for this feature, but if you do feel the need to know when employees are coming and going this is the best way for you to know. If you have a guy who decides to take several smoke breaks a day to the point where it gets out of hand, he will have no choice other than to scan in and out every time he leaves the building in order to get back in. That will tell you, as the employer, how much of your time he is wasting. If for any reason at all you feel like you need some help or a clearer explanation please give us a call at (866) 573-8878. Thank You!

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How to Set Up Your ELI Series Network IP Cameras

Written By:
Monday, July 20th, 2015

In this article I will teach you on how to set up your ELI Series network IP cameras. The ELI cameras are a great value for the money and produce a great video image. They are a little tricky to set up since they are ONVIF cameras and that’s why this article will be very useful to you.  Much as ELI cameras are fully compatible with our NVRs, remember that ONVIF cameras will not have full functionality with an NVR from a different manufacturer. Unlike our EL series cameras the ELI series cameras by default are not plug n’ play cameras and it’s important to remember that. That’s why it is very important to plan your installation and purchases, in that order.

First, you have to know your hardware since there are a few ways to set up any network camera.

ONVIF 2MP IP Camera eLine

The Simple Way

The simplest way to connect a camera to your network is to connect it to your router and power it with a 12v DC power supply. This method saves you the need for additional devices on the network, and it will suit you if you only have a few cameras to connect. Remember that the down side is that you have to plan thoroughly on how to power each camera.

Using an External POE Switch

Another way is to use an external POE switch that will be connected to your existing network, will provide a network connection, and provide power to your cameras. This method is great if you are planning to have multiple cameras on your network. This is the way that is preferable by me personally since after the setup, you have access to any camera on the network which makes it much easier to access and configure each camera. The downside of this method is the cost of an external POE switch.

Built-in POE switch

The use of a built-in POE switch in an NVR simplifies the connection of your cameras since it separates your cameras from your network. It means that the built-in POE switch creates its own network environment that will work on a completely different IP scheme. Usually the default IP for the built-in POE is 10.1.1.1. The advantage of such a setup is that since the cameras are separated from your main network, your network is not affected by your cameras.

On the other hand, it means that the cameras will not be accessible from your main network and need to be configured before you plug them into the built-in POE switch in the back of your NVR.

The 2 first ways are easier for the end-user since the customer can get help by our Techpro Security support department. If the customer will give us access to their computer, we can easily access any of the cameras and help set up and configure the installation. The tricky part is with the third way since, as I mentioned, the cameras are not accessible from the main network and the customer we work with has to assist us by plugging the cameras to the main network for configuration and then back to the built-in POE switch. The most absolutely necessary tool in this case is a 12v DC power supply which is a must-have when temporarily connecting a camera to the main network.

Now we get to the business! How do I connect and configure an ELI network camera?

First, you need to download the entire contents of this folder from this link: https://app.box.com/s/d5lib16z51aj8zy80uhagpdeb87opsne

The package will include: Update Tool, IP Search tool, firmware file, instructions, and capture screen pictures.

  1. Please connect the camera to your network (your router) and power it with a 12V DC power supply. Remember! If you have multiple cameras always plug-in and configure one by one otherwise you will have an IP conflict since all your cameras come with a default IP address of 192.168.0.120

    Device Search Tool/center>

  2. Go ahead and run your IP Search tool. When the software opens, click the ‘Start Search’ button and wait until the camera shows up. Click the camera that shows up and change the Device IP to the IP of your choice. For demo purpose I gave mine: 192.168.1.47 You also need to change the Default Gateway 192.168.1.1  

    Device Search Tool
  3. Go ahead and run the Sunel update tool. When the software opens, put the address of your camera into the Address field and click ‘Add’. After the camera shows up, wait until the Update State will show ‘connect success’ and click ‘Browse’. Find your downloaded Eline folder and choose the firmware file. Last thing, uncheck the ‘Add online device’ box and click ‘Update’.
  4. It will take a few minutes to update your firmware. Update State will show ‘updating’ and the update process will begin. At the end of the process Update Progress will show 100% and the status bar should turn green. This will give you the indication that the process is complete.

    Update tool

After the update process, you can turn your camera into plug n’ play. There is only one more thing you need to do to make it happen. You need to run the IP Search tool again, choose the camera and check in the box for ‘Device obtain an IP address automatically’. That will turn on the DHCP and find the IP address automatically. There are additional settings you need to change so the camera will detect motion with our NVRs. Go ahead and log into the camera using your internet browser. The user/password are default admin/admin.

  1. Under ‘Device Configuration’ check the box ‘Adjust clock for daylight savings changes’ and fill in the Start and the End for DTS. The time zone should remain on +08:00. Hit OK.

    Setting Time Zone in ONVIF camera
  2. Under ‘Alarm Configuration’ click on ‘Motion Alarm’ and change the interval to 5 sec, hit ‘Set’ Check box for ‘Enable Motion’ and click ‘Schedule’. Under Period 1, end time should be changed to 24:00 at all fields. Hit OK. Click on ‘Motion Area’ and mark by dragging the whole visible image. The whole image should turn blue. Hit OK.

    ONVIF Alarm Configuartion

    Motion Area Setting ONVIF Camera

You are done! Now you have to do the same process with the rest of your cameras. If for any reason you were unable to complete the task, please feel free to call us at 866-573-8878 and hit option 3 for tech support. You can also visit our CCTV Camera Forum for additional support after hours.

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