Archive for the ‘ CCTV Articles’ Category



Overview of the Security DVR Menu System from SecurityCameraKing.com – Part 2.

Written By:
Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

This is the second part of an article designed to give you a complete overview of the DVR menu system in our DVRs.

The Setting Menu:

DVR Setting Menu

General:
On this page of the DVR menu system you can set the time, date and the format of the information you want displayed. When you change the date and/or time you will have to click on the Save button in the upper right corner and then the OK button in the bottom right.

The HDD Full setting gives you the option to choose Overwrite or Stop Recording. By default our DVRs and NVRs are set up to begin overwriting the oldest footage once the entire storage space become full. If you change this to stop recording, then the DVR will stop recording when the storage space becomes full. With this option, the DVR will not resume recording video until you make more space available by replacing the hard drive or formatting the existing hard drive and completely clear it. It’s highly recommended that you leave this setting on Overwrite.

The Pack Duration setting allows you to adjust the size of the video segments by time, when recording continuously.

DVR General Menu

Encode:
This page allows you to adjust settings for the different video streams that your DVR is handling. Along the left side of this page are the settings for the main video stream. This stream will be responsible for the higher quality video, which will be recorded to your hard drive storage.

The settings along the right side apply to the extra stream or sub stream. This stream will require less data transmission because the video settings here are lower quality. This is the stream that is used when you are remotely connecting to your DVR from a mobile device. This stream can also be selected for viewing from a computer to compensate for latency issues.

In the drop down menu which is labeled as Type, you will be able to select Regular, MD (motion detection) or Alarm. Although Alarm is rarely used, both Regular and MD will let you adjust settings for those types of recording.

When you open the Resolution drop down menu you will see the highest resolution available listed at the top and the lowest one will be located at the bottom.

The Bit Rate is where you can set the data transmission speed of each of your cameras.

If you click on the Overlay button, you will be able to adjust where each channel name is displayed. You can also adjust where the date and time are displayed.

DVR Encode Menu

Schedule:
Setting this page up correctly is a key part of making sure that your DVR is recording the way that you want. Typically you will need to select All from the Channel drop down menu and all from the drop down menu which shows the days of the week. After that is done, you’ll need to make sure that either the top box under regular is highlighted (if you wish to record continuously) or the top box under MD is highlighted (if you wish to record based on motion detection).

You can also choose to have your DVR record continuously for part of a day and then record based on motion detection for the rest. In order to do this, you would first need to change the time frame that is covered by the periods along the left side of this page. Next you would need to highlight either regular or MD box next to the periods that you have modified. It’s important to make sure that the periods still account for all 24 hours in the day, if you have made changes to them.

The ‘PreRecord’ setting is only used if you’re going to be using motion based recording. It will allow you to adjust how long your DVR will record before a motion event occurs.

DVR Schedule Menu

RS232:
This is the menu page which allows you to configure the DVR so that it will work with any supported RS232 devices. The types of devices that are supported are shown in the picture below.

RS232 devices (2)

DVR RS232 Menu

Network:
This page of the menu is where you will configure your DVR so that it will work with your network. Your network’s default gateway will need to be entered here as well as a unique IP address with in that scheme.

The http port should be changed to 88. Once that’s done the TCP and HTTP ports will need to be forward through your network’s firewall. Assistance with this process is the most common reason that our customers call our tech support department, which is free for our customers.

DVR Network Menu

Alarm:
This page of the menu is where you will configure the DVR to work with any alarm input or output that is connected to it.

DVR Alarm Menu

Detect:
Setting up this page correctly is a very important part in getting motion based recording working correctly. It’s important to know that there is a version of this page for each of your video channels. You should never use the Copy function on this page or make setting changes with All selected in the channel drop down menu.

You will need to make sure that both the Enable box and the box to the left of where it says Record Channel are highlighted for each channel. You will also need to highlight the numbered box to the right of Record Channel which matches the channel that you have selected at the top of this page.

The button next to the Region label will allow you to set parts of a camera’s view so that the DVR will not detect motion in those areas
.
The Sensitivity drop down menu allows you to set how much motion has to happen in front of a camera before the DVR will recognize it as a motion event and begin recording. The least sensitive is 1 and 6 is the most sensitive.

The Anti-dither setting indicates how long motion must happen in front of a camera’s view before the DVR will recognize it as a motion event and begin recording.

The Latch setting allows you to determine how long the DVR will continue to record after a motion event has stopped.

DVR Detect Menu

Pan/Tilt/Zoom:
This is the page where you’ll configure your DVR to work with any PTZ cameras that you have. The Protocol, Address and Baudrate settings here will need to reflect those settings in your camera. The Data bits, Stop bits and Parity almost never need to be changed.

DVR Pan Tilt Zoom Menu

Display:
The Resolution drop down menu on this page allows you to change the resolution that is being output to a monitor which is connected directly to the DVR.

If you click on the setup button next to Tour Setup, you will have the ability to set up a tour of your cameras’ live views. The options that you’ll have for this will depend on the model of DVR that you have and the amount of cameras that can be connected to it. The general idea is that you will be able to display the live video feeds from selected cameras or groups of cameras in succession. It will also leave each camera or group of cameras on screen for an amount which you determine.

DVR Display Menu

Default:
This page will allow you to reset some of the DVR’s menu pages to their defaults. Which pages that you can affect this way vary depending on the model of DVR that you have.

DVR Default Menu

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How to Record a Personal Computer or Point of Sale to your Digital Video Recorder without a Camera

Written By:
Monday, August 25th, 2014

POS-machine

When running a small business it is often necessary to record transactions at a point of sale or to simply record the actions and uses of a computer terminal.  Doing so allows the owner or manager to: maintain accountability, prevent loss, keep track of inventory and supervise employee actions.  For a new small business owner this can be a daunting or expensive task, often appearing to require several forms of software and hardware.  The traditional solutions range from purchasing expensive point of sale text overlay systems and/or equipment that can overlay transactions on your cameras and Digital Video Recorder to expending man hours positioning high resolution cameras over the shoulder of employees to view their actions.

Thankfully there are several solutions rarely utilized that are far less costly and far more simple.  Your digital video recorder is capable of recording any analog video information displayed to it through a BNC Connector.  What is often overlooked in surveillance today is that you can split your Video Graphics Adapter monitor output and use a converter to convert the Video Graphics Adapter to BNC Connector.  The total cost to you is less than the cost of a single Internet Protocol camera.   While these converters are a bit more difficult to locate, their value in this regard cannot be over emphasized as the cost for the same service in software is often twice as much. The cost of a single Point of Sale system overlay is almost three times as much and the headache of setting up the software is far more labor intensive.

Alternatively you can even do this for less than ten dollars as I have, by purchasing just a single Video Graphics Adapter splitter and a Video Graphics Adapter to RCA phono plug cable adapter.  It is extremely important to note this specific solution will only work on older computers or point of sales systems where only a Video Graphics Adapter connector is available on video card or motherboard.  (This is because the board must be sending an analog only signal; cards with High Definition Media Interface or Digital Visual Interface ports on them will send digital signals, even if it is through the Video Graphics Adapter port.) The primary drawback to this solution is that you are limited to only a black and white view of the computer screen, but again the effect of being able to review any and all transactions made over the course of the day is of incalculable value in any retail situation or environment.  This is of course, not including, the savings in loss prevention and the ability to guard against loss in the form of inventory errors.

Here in my example you can see that installation is as simple as two cables and you are easily able to observe any of the actions conducted on the terminal.  With the growing number of Point of Sale software created for Personal Computers and tablets it becomes easier and easier to utilize these over traditional register systems. As this trend continues it becomes more and more beneficial to utilize simple hardware solutions like these over complicated software or Point of Sale text overlay systems.  This has a two pronged effect on your business.

The first being the savings and simplicity of installation and configuration of hardware converters over costly overlays or costly and complicated software configurations. For the cost of one overlay you can purchase up to 3 of these converters and the splitters necessary to split your monitor outputs. You also neatly avoid the complications and concerns with which Point of Sale software and/or overlay systems are compatible with which Digital Video Recorder.  You are only limited by your graphics cards capability if anything.  If your graphics card is limited to High Definition Media Interface and does not have a Video Graphics Adapter port it is still a simple matter of converting High Definition Media Interface I to Video Graphics Adapter through an adapter, and while this may diminish some of the video quality, the cost effective comparison is still one that is certainly worthy of considering.

The second effect is the direct savings in loss.  Loss of time for example, by keeping your employees focused on work.  Loss of inventory prevented by errors in quantities sold.  Loss of liquid assets in short sales or incorrect dollar amounts in return transactions or sales.   Overall this multi-tiered response allows for a cost effective solution with long terms savings.  This makes the equipment a long term investment rather than simply a tool.  Maximizing sales by cutting loss is an extremely effective way to get the most bang for your buck so to speak.

So next let us break it down into a step by step installation process.  First unplug the monitor and place a Video Graphics Adapter splitter onto the Video Graphics Adapter port on your Personal Computer or Point of Sale. Then replug your monitor into one side Video Graphics Adapter splitter. On the other side of the Video Graphics Adapter splitter place Video Graphics Adapter to BNC type connector converter.  Following that connect your Video Graphics Adapter to BNC type connector converter to your BNC type cable on one end and on the other end of you BNC type cable connect it to your Digital Video Recorder on any Video channel.  This should allow you to view your Personal Computer or Point of Sale screen on your Digital Video Recorder.

If you have any problems determining the proper configuration our technical support team is extremely effective in determining the proper configuration.  We here at Tech Pro Security Products/ Security Camera King are proud and happy to assist you in any way possible. Hopefully this article has helped you cost-effectively solve a few problems with multi-tiered resolutions by saving you time and money while providing a service putting the tools, the equipment and the knowledge in your hands.

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CCTV Installation – The Good and The Bad

Written By:
Friday, August 22nd, 2014

cctv-installation

Good install / bad install

What makes for a good CCTV installation and what is considered a bad one?

A good CCTV installation starts with communication between the customer, the dealer, and the installer.

It is necessary to educate the customer about what is needed to accomplish and what the customer wants to do. What technology fits best and what will work best with the budget he has in mind. If he wants a deluxe system, but does not want to spend the necessary money, the salesman needs to make that very clear. There will always be somebody out there that will give him that price point and it is the salesman’s job to educate his customer on the dangers of investing in a system that will not deliver what he expects. Not easy, but absolutely necessary. Failure to do all of this will make for a bad install in almost every case.

Once the system is designed, it is time to source the products. Purchasing quality products is extremely important, as this will set up the base for an effective installation. If a varifocal camera is needed, buy it. Make sure the spec on the recorder is appropriate, that enough hard drive is included, and that the hard drive is video optimized. The use of good quality cable is also very important. Video quality is dependent on good wire. Purchasing from a dependable supplier will make life a lot easier. Make sure that they will be able to advise when you have a tech question. Make sure that they have a good RMA record and will be willing to repair or replace any defective products.

Next, Communication between the dealer and the installer is very important. All device locations must be clearly identified, wire runs must be laid out, and head end location determined and power availability verified. Any installation of more than 4 cameras should have a drawing provided, showing all locations. Failing to do any of this will result in confusion and mistakes. Call backs will be the result. Call backs are expensive and hurt your credibility. Too many installers are sent out on a job without complete instructions. Obviously, this is the responsibility of the dealer, and is a necessary one.

The installer should plan the job out before picking up a tool. Device locations, wire runs, head end, all, so the install will go smoothly without delays caused by confusion. Bring in all the equipment to a central point, all tools, ladders, etc. This bit of organization will pay off well.

The actual install can now begin. Generally, running the cable is the first stage, then hang the devices, then head end connections. Make sure that all wire runs are straight and true. This is what the customer will see every day, and sloppy wire will make him think your whole job is bad. Make sure cameras are straight and true, boxes are level, and exposed wire straight and neat. A good CCTV installation requires that every bit of mess be cleaned up immediately. A bad installation will leave a mess. Even little things are important, like the BNCs must be properly done. Bad BNCs will result in service calls, unnecessary expenses.

When the installation is completed, a good installer will go over the entire job, making sure all is right. When he is satisfied, the most important stage begins – customer training. This is a vital part of the job, and is a point where a bad installer will just do a quick and dirty job and go. A good installer will take the time to make sure that the customer really understands all operations necessary for him to effectively use the system. Advice on basic trouble shooting, how to contact the company, who to talk to. Again, basic communication is absolutely vital, and unfortunately, too rare. The final thing for the installer to do is to have the customer sign off on a completion and acceptance form. Good time to ask for referrals and pick up payment!

We have all seen way too many example of horrible installs, sloppy work, resulting in call backs and unhappy customers that will never give referrals, but will tell everybody they know what a lousy job you have done. It is really sad when you consider how little extra time it takes to do a neat job. A very small investment in time can and will make a huge difference in customer satisfaction.

A lot of bad installs can be attributed to poorly trained installers that just don’t know any better. It takes training and supervision to allow installers to do a proper job. Make sure your installers have that before you send them out on their own. When bidding a job, make sure your prospect knows who will do the install. Make sure that he knows that you only use well trained and experienced installers that will make a huge difference. An IT guy might be a real whiz with computers, but will have real problems with the mechanical aspects of a camera install.

There are many examples of really good installs out there. Those are the jobs that result in happy customers, referrals, and future business. And a company that will be around for a while. It was always interesting to go into the Yellow Pages from two or three years ago and see how many companies are no longer in business. They were the poorly run companies that did not make sure the jobs were properly done, that did not really try to satisfy their customers, that bought the absolute cheapest parts, that didn’t take the time to properly train the help. Also, those were the companies that helped hurt the reputation of the entire industry.

A good CCTV installation does not cost extra, but returns excellent results. Using the proper product, an intelligent installation by qualified staff, communication between all parties, and taking the time to properly supervise the job will give the results that all want. And you will still be in business when your customer wants another system. And his brother-in-law, etc.

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How to Stream an IP Camera to a Website – Creating your own Day Care Streaming Webpage

Written By:
Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Day care streaming

There has been a lot of people who have asked how to stream an IP Camera to a Webpage. Well here we go!

Lets start by gathering the software and Hardware that we will need.

  1. Unreal Media Server - Free Version is fine for a few cameras.
  2. WampServer – To host your webpage [optional]
  3. WordPress [pen source website creation tool written in PHP]
  4. Computer that will run this Software
  5. IP Camera [ EL series IP Cameras]

Lets start by setting up our camera.  For this article I will be using the <http://www.securitycameraking.com/1.3-megapixel-ip-indoor-59161-prd1.html” target=”_blank”>IPOD-EL1MPIR50-W

We will be setting the camera up to monitor the front door. Keep in mind that we are just getting the camera’s feed directly from the IP camera and not from an NVR. This means that you will not be able to go back and review recorded footage, just the live feed from the Webpage.

My Camera is set to 192.168.1.164. I will go ahead and install Unreal Media Server.

RTSP URl is : rtsp://xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx:554/cam/realmonitor?channel=1&subtype=0&unicast=true&proto=Onvif

Replace the X’s with your Network Camera IP address

In this video you will see how to add your IP camera so that we can go from RTSP to RTMP using the Unreal Media Server and also stream it out.

What we need to do next is open some ports on your computer, in my case Windows 8.1

You will need to Allow Outbound Data from ports 5119 [Players]  and 5113 [Live Servers] on the Firewall Rules. For this you need to Open your Control Panel and navigate to Windows Firewall then click on Advanced Settings. This will open a new Window where you can add your Firewall Rules. Once you are in this new window you can add the rule by going on the left pane and clicking on “New Rule”. Then Tick the Radio Button, the one beside the “PORT” and click Next and then go and tick on the Specific remote Ports. Once you have done this, the area where you can specify the port number will allow you to add the port number that you need for Unreal Media Server. I am using the default which are the 5119 and 5113. At this point you are done with setting your Firewall Rules to allow outgoing Data from this application.

Great! We have finished these steps. Now since we are going to Host our own webpage we are going to be using Wamp Server. Wamp will allow you to Develop as well as Host your Domain name. Keep in mind that it is best to get a Domain name with a company that will allow for Dynamic IP Updates such as DYN.com. If not you will have to have your ISP give you a static IP. This is done so that the ISP will not change your IP address so when navigating to your domain/webpage your visitors do not end up in limbo as the address has changed. For example it is like setting your GPS to go to 123 Johnson street and all of a sudden your house is not there and now it is in 129 Johnson street .

Lets get started!

Download and Install Wamp onto your computer.

Open the Setup File and click next and accept the agreement. Then select where the WAMP folder will be residing. The default is fine. Tick the boxes to get your Shortcuts, click next and then install. In some cases it will ask you for the default web browser which is fine, then select your PHP mail Parameters. Default is fine, Localhost and your email address. Once you do this the application should start and if it does not, launch it using the Short Cut in your Desktop.

Once you have installed WAMP onto your computer you want to configure some settings before you can host your Web Page.

For this we will be navigating to the WAMP icon on the Tool Tray. Right-click on the icon and click on “Apache” then select “httpd.conf open”, this will open up a file.

It is easier if you choose to open it with Notepad ++. This will show the file in its structure versus notepad, as notepad might clump everything together and you end up either corrupting the file or making the wrong changes.

You want to click on your keyboard CTRL and F at the same time to open the Finder. Make sure that the file is selected and your cursor is on another application. Once you have opened up the Finder tool you want to input the following “servername”. Once you have located this on the document you want to change port 80 to 8080.

After doing this open again the Finder tool and search for “Listen”. Once you have located this, you want to find and change the line “Listen 80″ to “Listen 8080″ and also make sure that the “#” is removed. This means it is enabled.

Save the file and restart all services by clicking on the Wamp Icon on the Tool Tray. Once it has restarted, open your Web Browser and Navigate to http://localhost:8080/phpmyadmin.

Error 403 Forbidden

If it gives you the Following Error “Forbidden”, you want to go and modify a file called phpmyadmin.conf in “C:\wamp\alias”. Open it up with the notepad ++ application and make these changes.

Order Allow, D

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Wired vs. Wireless Cameras

Written By:
Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

wireless-camera

One of the most common questions that I get asked is about wireless camera systems. Everyone wants to have wireless cameras.  I guess that Hollywood has done a lot to make people think that a completely wireless camera system is a good viable option.  There are several advantages and disadvantages to both wired and wireless cameras.  When it comes to my personal security, I will always choose the hardwired system over a wireless system any day of the week.

A wireless camera is a camera in which the video is transmitted over the air to a receiver which captures and records the video.  A wired camera is a camera that transmits the video over a hardwired connection to a receiver. The camera generally not only transmits the video over the cable, but with the correct cable can get it’s power source that way as well.

Pros of Wireless Cameras

There are some pros to having a wireless camera system. The biggest pro would be the fact that installation is generally easier.  When you do not have to worry about climbing through attics or fishing wires through ceiling and walls, the job just got easier.  Typically all you need to worry about when installing a wireless surveillance system with regards to the camera is having a power source in a relatively close proximity to the camera.  Once that is done, all you need to do is mount the cameras and set up your recording device.  This sounds great on the surface, but in reality it’s not that easy.

Cons of Wireless Cameras

With wireless cameras there are a multitude of downfalls.  One of the biggest downfalls that I see are picture quality.  With almost every wireless camera that I have seen on the market, the resolution quality is generally less than 702×480.  When it comes to quality surveillance cameras you want a higher resolution to gather as much detail of the image as possible.  I feel that the reason a lower resolution image is used is so that it can transmit the video footage in more frames per second with less latency in the video.  Another downfall with wireless is that they generally are in the 2.4ghz spectrum.  If you look around most places, that spectrum is inundated with use.  Generally speaking there are 14 channels available in this range.  Inside of this range you have everything from wireless B and G networks, some parts of wireless N networks, a new wireless network AD which is in it’s draft phase will still use some of this range, microwave ovens, baby monitors, digital cordless telephones, car alarms, and bluetooth adapters.

This range of frequency is very crowded and the overlapping of channels with their frequency ranges is a recipe for disaster in a security system.  Adding in yet more devices that are on the same bandwidth, you are asking for interference.  With interference you will get lost signal, dropped signals, and lost video.  I don’t know about you, but I want to know that my CCTV system is always going to record when I needed it to.  Lets say you want to put a camera in a spot without a close power outlet, you have one of a few options.  You can either try and find a battery powered camera, good luck finding anything worth it, have an outlet wired closer to the camera location, or move your camera location closer to an outlet.  These all seem to me that they are more trouble than they are worth.  When I am installing a camera, I want to be able to put it where I am going to get the best possible shot, not where power is going to dictate.  If you find good locations with close power, you better hope that there is no major obstructions in the way, like too many concrete walls, or any of the other items that may interfere with the signal.  If you want a wireless Pan Tilt Zoom camera, they are out there, but if the video signal doesn’t come in do you think the control of the camera is going to be any better.

Pros of Wired Cameras

With every type of method, there are pros and cons.  One of the pros of having your cameras hardwired is that you can count on the picture coming into your recorder.  The power and video can be ran on 1 cable, so everything can be centrally located.  No interference from telephones, bluetooth, wireless networks, microwave ovens, baby monitors, or car alarms.  A wider selection of camera styles are available for use.  You can have a Pan Tilt Zoom camera, to allow you to have one camera to look all around.  You can add audio to your security system without major hassles.  No need for the cameras to be mounted close to a power source, the cable will carry it wherever you need, within reason.  If you use a power distribution box up to 16 of your cameras can be powered with one unit, eliminating multiple power supplies.  There are several different types of wire that can be used to wire your cameras.  You can do simple plug and play, separate RG59 or RG6 and 18/2, Siamese, or Cat 5 cable to wire your cameras.  Wired cameras are harder for someone to disrupt the service of the camera system, by not allowing frequency jamming devices to interrupt you video signal.

Cons of Wired Cameras

With every wiring job comes some complications.  When you are wiring a camera system it is no different.  You can run into studs, concrete block, and other obstacles that can not be seen with drywall up.  You typically have to climb around in an attic and deal with insulation.  You will have to fish wires down walls and around other objects in your path.  If you lay the cable on a high powered line you will get interference on the picture of that camera.  If you choose to use any cable other than plug and play cables, you will have to terminate the ends for it to work properly.

Conclusion

There are some advantages and disadvantages for both types of camera styles.  I personally feel that if a wireless option is what you are looking for, you should do an IP solution with access points and an omni directional antenna.  With this type of setup you are getting the highest rate of resolution for security cameras and you are dealing with network based protocol with better transmission than standard 2.4ghz wireless receivers and transceivers.  With this type of a setup you will still need a power supply close to the camera location for the access point and the camera.  Another cool thing you can do is if you need a camera at a location that is too far to run a cable, and there is line of sight, there are access point/bridges that can travel for miles.  This is very useful for gates and remote camera locations but you will still need a power source.  This will save you from trenching a cable all the way to the camera location.

There are some downfalls to this type of setup, you are sending high quality images over the air and most units can only handle a portion of the data at once.  Most access points are limited to 150 mbps (Megabytes Per Second) up and down. When you are talking about a high resolution image you may be able to get approximately eight 2MP cameras before running into network issues.  If you want to get around this you may want to use multiple access points/bridges to communicate with each other and then you will have 150 mbps on each set of units instead of being limited to the one omni directional access point.  By doing this type of a setup you will be limited to the switch that they go into.

You can probably tell by now my which way I lean when it comes to wired vs wireless.  I am a firm believer that if you are going to spend the time and money to do something, you should do it right the first time and not have to do it over again.  I do not want to have to worry about not getting the images from my camera to my DVR, take the trouble to have to have electrical reran just to fit a camera location, or settle for subpar equipment just to make my job easier.  Wireless cameras are still in the infancy and I feel are years away if ever from being perfected.

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