Archive for the ‘ Knowledgebase’ Category



What is a Digital Video Recorder

Written By:
Thursday, July 26th, 2012

People who are not experienced in installing, owning and using security systems often have a difficult time understanding the different components that are involved in a security system, but it is not difficult once you get the hang of it. One thing that trips many people up is the inclusion of a digital video recorder in most security systems. Since most people associate their television-watching with a DVR system, they often have a difficult time understanding how a digital video recorder can be used in order to keep their home or business safe. Digital video records, however, are one of the main components of a good surveillance camera system, so it is important to learn as much about them as you can before you purchase and install a system.

Digital Video RecorderWhat is a Digital Video Recorder

A digital video recorder is basically any recorder that records digital video. To help you to understand exactly what a DVR is, take a look at your cable or satellite system. Many households have digital video recorders that are built into their cable or satellite boxes; this recorder is used to record favorite television shows, movies and other media off of the television. Once it is recorded, it is stored on the digital video recorder until it is ready for use, and you can then rewind, fast forward and pause the digital video whenever you like. This allows TV viewers to record their favorite programming when they are not home, and they can fast forward through commercials, rewind in order to rewatch a favorite part or can pause the TV while they run to the kitchen for some popcorn.

In many ways, a digital video recorder is much like the VCRs of yesterday that had the capability of recording video. Just as many people recorded their favorite movies and TV shows on VHS tapes so that they could watch them later, a digital video recorder does the same job, but it does the job better. The digital video that is records is of a much higher quality.

How are Digital Video Recorders Used For Security?

Similar to the digital video recorder that you use to watch your favorite shows over and over again, a digital video recorder that is hooked up to a security system is used to record your surveillance videos. It then stores this surveillance footage until you are ready to watch it, and it allows you to fast forward through uneventful footage, rewind to rewatch something that looks suspicious and pause to get a good look at what is going on on the screen.

Although not all surveillance systems use a digital video recorder, many of them do. Not only does a digital video recorder work as a device that allows you to play back your surveillance tapes and to pause and control them when you need to, but it actually stores the digital video for you until you need to use it. These video recorders are often black in color, and they typically look much like the digital video recorder that you might have for your television or even like a VCR or DVD player.

Who Should Use a Digital Video Recorder?

Although digital video recorders are not required in order for you to have a successful surveillance camera system, they are suggested. Security cameras that are simply hooked up to monitors are practically useless because although they allow you to watch the footage in real time, this footage is not recorded or stored anywhere, so you cannot rewind it, even if you see something happen as you are watching. You also will not have any evidence to take to the police if something does happen, so you are almost as well off not to have a system at all than to have one that doesn’t record.

Other people use their computer as a storage device for their digital video. This can work in some cases, especially if you purchase the right software for your computer. However, using a computer for this purpose can be a bit expensive, and it isn’t as convenient. In order to keep your video footage for the length of time that you should, you will need plenty of hard drive space on your computer, and you will be surprised by how quickly this hard drive space gets taken up by the massive video that your security cameras are streaming. It can also be inconvenient to use your computer as a monitor, particularly if you typically use your computer for work or pleasure.

Most people who want to install a security camera system in their home or business could benefit from purchasing a good digital video recorder. These recorders are not very expensive, and they are worth their weight in gold when something does go wrong.

What Are The Different Types of Digital Video Recorders?

One aspect of purchasing digital video recorders confuses many purchasers. When looking at digital video recorders, you will notice that each one is described as allowing a certain number of channels, such as a “Four Channel DVR” or a “32 Channel DVR.” Many people are unsure of what this means, other than the fact that they notice that the price for a lower-channel DVR is typically much less expensive. The difference between these units, however, are not that difficult when you think about it in a TV-related way.

What manufacturers are referring to when they mark their digital video recorders this way is the number of surveillance cameras that each system can be hooked up to, or how many “channels” your digital video recorder can pick up on, stream, record and store. For instance, a four-channel digital video recorder can only stream video from four security cameras, while a 32-channel digital video recorder can stream the video from up to 32 security cameras. One important decision that you must make before purchasing a system is how many security cameras you will need. This depends on the size of your home or business and the amount of surveillance that you would like to have, but it is usually better to go one size larger than you think you need rather than trying to get enough security out of a system that is too small.

If you do unfortunately purchase a DVR that is too small, you are not stuck forever, however. If you realize that you do not have enough security with your existing system or if your needs grow and change over time, you can hook several digital video recorders up to one another in the future. However, it is usually a bit more expensive and a bit more frustrating in the long run if you do it this way, so it is better to purchase a large enough digital video recorder in the beginning.

What Types of Features Do Digital Video Recorders Have?

As with nearly electronic that you buy, different digital video recorders have different features. Some of these features are practically required in order for your system to be successful, while other features can typically be skipped for regular surveillance needs. You will typically have to pay a bit more for a digital video recorder that has plenty of special features, but you might want to fit a nice digital video recorder into your budget for the best results.

One of the first and most important features that you should look into before purchasing a digital video recorder is the amount of space that it can hold. It is important that you purchase a digital video recorder than can store at least several months worth of surveillance video because you never know when you might need to look at old footage. It is usually best to spend a bit of extra money purchasing a digital video recorder that offers ample storage whether than trying to get by on a system that doesn’t provide enough space. You should also find out if the DVR allows you to hook up an external drive. It can be convenient to have the option to hook up a USB drive or an external hard drive in order to acquire additional space when you need it. In fact, some digital video recorders allow you to hook your device up to several external drives at once, which can be an added convenience.

What is a Digital Video RecorderA lot of people like to purchase digital video recorders that allow them to burn CDs and DVDs. This additional feature typically does not cost much, but it could be very useful in certain circumstances. If something ever happens and you need video evidence as proof, it can be very handy to be able to burn a simple DVD to take to court or to the authorities.

Some digital video recorders allow you to record sound as well as video. Although these features are not always common, they can be handy if needed. One handy feature, however, is the ability to watch the surveillance footage from your PC or smartphone when you are away from your digital video recorder. By using the right software, you can often monitor what is going on at your home or business, even if you are away.

It is also important to take a look at the quality of video that the digital video recorder offers. High-quality video is typically worth the extra money because it allows you to see things clearly that you might not otherwise be able to see at all. Similar to taking a look at the picture quality of a digital camera, camcorder and even a television, the difference in picture quality can be huge between units, so take your time to select the best one that you can afford.

How Do I Know Which Digital Video Recorder Is Right For Me?

Every individual, home and business is different, so purchasing a digital video recorder and its accompanying security cameras is a personal matter. You can come to the conclusion of what you will need by measuring your property and determining how many surveillance cameras you will need in order to keep your property under constant surveillance; this will be the first step in choosing your new digital video recorder.

Next, you should sit down and decide what features are important to you. Different people have different preferences and needs when it comes to features, so only you can answer the question of what you need. However, it is best to remember just how important the safety of yourself, your family, your employees and your property is not something to play around with, so you shouldn’t skimp on important features just to save a little bit of money. However, everyone’s budget is different, and there is surely a good digital video recorder out there that will be perfect for your needs without breaking your budget. Comparing different units is a good way to make sure that you are getting the most features for your money, and it can help you to make the smartest decision when purchasing a digital video recorder for your security needs.

When in doubt, you can always ask for help when shopping for a digital video recorder. Someone from the company who is experienced in the different types of digital video recorders and other security system components will be more than happy to point you in the right direction, and they can probably answer any questions that you may have about the different digital video recorders that are available.

Purchasing a digital video recorder for your surveillance needs is not a small decision, but it is a smart one. Make sure that you choose the digital video recorder that your security needs require to ensure that you are satisfied with your purchase and to ensure that you feel comfortable with the level of security at your home or business.

if you have any questions or need further information, contact us, its a pleasure for us to help you.

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iPhone Security Camera System

Written By:
Friday, July 20th, 2012

iPhone Security Camera SystemOver the last few years home security systems have become more and more popular. These systems are able to provide homeowners with recording capabilities that allow them to see exactly what is going on around their home and help protect them from theft or vandalism. That is just a couple of the basic camera features. When you are selecting a security camera, you need to look and see what all of the advanced features are for the system. Make sure you select a system that will provide you with the peace of mind you need, as well as the security level you are searching for.

Some of the computer based security systems and digital video recorders allow you to record directly from your camera, as well as from a remote Internet location. These systems will connect into a DSL or cable Internet connection to help provide you with the ability to view everything that your cameras are seeing through an Internet connection. Depending on what type of surveillance system you purchase, you may need a browser to view everything or it may be just a matter or installing the specified software to allow viewing from a remote location. Being able to view all of your footage from a remote location, means that you will always be in the loop for anything taking place around your home. You will have the peace of mind you need to make sure everything is in place around your home. One of the more common features of security systems is the ability to view cameras from a computer based location.

If you have an advanced system, you will have the ability to record through your computer on an Internet connection. Given all of these features, you can even record your computer video to a computer. This way if someone were to steal your digital video recorder or computer right from your home you would still maintain a copy of everything in a remote location that is away from the original site.

Beyond just the remote recording capabilities, there are some of the security systems that allow you to view all of your recorded footage through an iPhone. On the iPhone there are two different types of viewing options that you can choose from. First, the most basic form of viewing technology is the web based application. This form of viewing allows you to have a basic overview of your home via a web browser. It will load up a JPG image from the camera, which then allows you to refresh the page and update the image at a rate of one per second. You will be able to view four cameras at a time with this remote viewing feature, which makes it almost as popular as the digital video recorders.

Secondly, the more advanced form of technology is the one that has been designed to work alongside your computer based digital video recorder. With this type of system you will have a lot more features than ever before, as well as live video streaming. You can also control the pan/tilt/zoom cameras, control all of the digital outputs and inputs, playback all of the video you have recorded and even send pictures of your property directly to your iPhone. These computer based systems give you a variety of functions and features for iPhone users everywhere. Beyond just the iPhone, there are applications that work along with other types of technology as well.

Watching Your Security Footage Via an iPhone

As the home surveillance systems become more and more prevalent across the United States, more customers are looking for ways to ensure their home is covered on a monthly basis. There are numerous systems out there to choose from all with varying ranges of quality, easy installation and the option of viewing your information via the Internet. One of the most popular features for customers is the ability to view all of your footage through the Internet. A lot of systems have remote viewing potential using the Internet, but there are different levels and features that make up the remote viewing capabilities to help you choose a system.

Sometimes you may have to pay a monthly fee for access to remote viewing on your computer and iPhone. However, you should not be required to spend anything extra out of pocket just to view your information on the Internet. Why is that you ask? Simple, any system that has the ability to connect to the Internet will use your existing connection. Hence, all you should need is your software that came with your camera system for connecting to the Internet and streaming video from your digital video recorder. Most of the reputable systems are not going to charge you a monthly fee to use your system on a regular basis.

iPhone Security Camera SystemViewing your security system from a remote location offers you a lot of different security systems with different levels of remote capabilities from your iPhone or other smartphone. The standalone digital video recorder helps to deliver a basic remote viewing capability of all your security footage directly to your phone. A standalone unit is a recording device that records footage directly from your security camera and connects them directly to the Internet for viewing. These units have a basic viewing option that allows you to view all of your security camera footage onto your PDA device, providing it supports digital video recording. Each one of the digital video recorders will have similar features and different devices that are supported. The software designed for one digital video recorder is not going to be the same software that will work with all of the other digital video recorders. In general, most of the digital video recorders will only provide live viewing capabilities from the supported phone.

Another type of security system is the computer based digital video recorder. This system is complete with a digital video recorder card and all of the software needed for installing the equipment onto your computer. It allows you to record information from your security system directly to the hard drive of your computer. These systems are able to offer a far more enhanced level of processing than the typical standalone units. Due to the enhanced processing levels, there are a lot more features and functions for being able to view your information through your iPhone. The digital video recording systems will offer you an increased video quality and frame rate for remote viewing. Since the computer has enough power to process information and recompile the video, you will receive the best transfer through the Internet and your iPhone, regardless of how slow your Internet connection is. All of the systems will come complete with a built-in capability for playing your video back from a remote location, such as your iPhone. You can also control all of the digital outputs and inputs, which provide you with a connection into your alarm system, garage door, lighting system and much more. In order for the systems to work, you will need to have a Windows based computer directly on site for all of your recording capabilities. Delivering a higher level of options for remote viewing from your iPhone through the Internet has never been easier.

When it comes to choosing which type of security system you need, you need to go through and check out all of the features and functionality of your system that you are looking into. Make sure you determine which level of viewing your need in your home security digital video recorder to employ the proper features. If you choose a digital video recorder that does not have all the features you are going to require down the road, your digital video recorder will only be able to operate using the software that has been designed for your digital video recorder. Choose a system that provides you with the playback features you desire to help save on the cost of having to replace your digital video recorder down the road.

Setting Up Your Home Security System

You need to choose where you want to place your security cameras. It might be that you only need one out front to be able to see what’s going on or who might be at your door. In the end, you might decide that you need to have more than one security camera to cover all of the entry points into your home.

Once you have decided how many cameras you need and where you are going to put them you need to determine whether or not you want a wired camera or a wireless one. Previously wireless cameras were not as stable as their counterparts, but will all of the changes in technology over the years you will be able to rely on them just as much as you can any other camera. Consider how simple they are to install. If it is easy to run a simple wire from your camera into your computer, you can help economize by making that decision. Another way to look at it is that you will not have to drill any holes and have a bunch of wires hanging around your property. Wireless can provide you with a lot of options that were not there before.

iPhone Security Camera SystemAfter you have determined the location and type of cameras you plan on using, you will want to decide how you are going to monitor your cameras. You may choose to implore a live video stream that can be accessed over a computer with Internet capabilities, as well as your iPhone. Another thing you need to consider is whether or not you are going to want to record the video surveillance. If you are planning to record the footage, you are going to need to purchase some type of storage unit. Depending on what type of software comes along with the camera, you will have to make sure it is compatible.

You can now start searching for different types of web cameras now that you have an idea what you are looking for. As soon as you have made this decision, you will go ahead and proceed with the purchase.

Once you have your product in hand, you will need to begin preparations for setting your camera. Open everything up to get an overview of what you are working with. Read through all of the instructions. Do not avoid this critical step or else something could end up being installed improperly. You are more than likely going to have to attach your camera into your home network for configuration, regardless of whether or not it is wireless. There are a few devices on the market that allow you to set everything up instantly. If it is not an automated system, the corporation will have to implore someone who is familiar with technology to make sure everything is installed properly.

Now comes the time where you are going to want to install the cameras throughout your location. Make sure you are following the directions during this step. Ensure you have all of the proper tools and safety gear to install everything around your home.

Once you have everything installed, you will want to go through and ensure everything is working properly. Have someone stand in front of the camera and make sure you can see them. If it is not functioning right, you will want to go in and do some adjustments to make sure the view is perfect.

After everything is where you think it needs to be, you will want to run a few tests. If you have gotten the system that provides viewing from the Internet, you will want to have someone who is outside of your home pull the camera footage up on their device to make sure they are able to see it. The last thing you want is to assume you are done and then find out that something was not working properly.

For any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Indoor Security Cameras

Written By:
Monday, June 4th, 2012

Indoor Security CamerasMany times, when people think about adding security cameras to their home or business, they mainly consider the outside. Indoor security cameras are just as important as outdoor security cameras, however. In both residential and commercial settings, indoor security cameras can help to prevent crime and help home or business owners to properly monitor their property at all times.

Why Do I Need Security Cameras Inside My Home?

Although many homes rely solely on security cameras that monitor and record activity on the outside of the house, indoor security cameras are important as well. Indoor security cameras allow you to monitor the activity inside your home, and with some security systems, you can even watch the footage from your indoor security cameras from your laptop or mobile phone while you are away from home, whether you are right down the street or on the other side of the world.

Indoor security cameras help to capture more footage in the unlikely event that your house is broken into. This footage can help to have the culprit caught and arrested, and it could lead to the recovery of your stolen property. Although outdoor security cameras are helpful for these surveillance purposes, an indoor security camera can sometimes capture video that is much more clear, making it easier to identify an individual.

Indoor security cameras can also work as a “nanny cam,” allowing you to supervise the activities of your nanny or babysitter. Many people feel uncomfortable leaving the care of their children in the hands of a complete stranger, but an indoor security camera can give you peace of mind as it allows you to see how your nanny treats your children and your home when you are away. Indoor security cameras also work to monitor the activity of maids or other service people, allowing you to catch someone who is dishonest in the act.

In some cases, indoor security cameras can also function to allow you to better supervise your children. If your child comes home by himself after school, an indoor security camera can allow you to see that your child is safely at home after school, all from your work computer, laptop or even your mobile phone. Indoor security cameras also help with the safety of your children, as they can help parents catch teenagers who arrive home after curfew or who sneak out of the house late at night.

Why Do I Need Security Cameras Inside My Business?

Indoor security cameras are an absolute necessity at any business, whether it be a tiny office or a large retail store. Indoor security cameras are relatively inexpensive to install, and the money they can save a business owner easily pays for the cost of the cameras and the installation.

If you have employees working at your business, indoor security cameras are a must. Employees who know they are on camera are usually more honest and less likely to attempt to steal money or merchandise from their employer. Indoor security cameras also boost productivity in the workplace, as your employees know that they will be caught if they begin slacking off on the job. It is important to watch the footage from your indoor security cameras frequently and reprimand employees when necessary, or the purpose of your indoor security cameras is defeated.

Obviously, employees are not the only dishonest people that you should be concerned about in a business setting. In the event that your business gets robbed, an indoor security camera greatly increases the chances of the robber getting caught and arrested. Indoor security cameras can also capture footage of any other foul play in the workplace, such as an altercation between employees or customers.

Petty theft and shoplifting cost many businesses a lot of money each year. It can be difficult to keep an eye on all of your customers at once, particularly when you are busy waiting on customers, doing paperwork or completing other tasks. Properly placed indoor security cameras are a great aid in loss prevention. If you are able to monitor your indoor security cameras throughout the day, you will be surprised by the amount of theft that you will be able to reduce. In fact, in large retail stores or in high crime areas, it might be worth it to pay someone to monitor your indoor security cameras during business hours, as the amount of loss you will be able to prevent just might be more than enough to pay that person’s paycheck. Indoor security cameras allow business owners to hold people responsible for their actions, and they help police to better do their jobs in the event that an investigation or arrest is required.

What Are The Different Types of Indoor Security Cameras?

There are several available options when it comes to indoor security cameras, and each option has its own set of pros and cons. Use common sense and good judgement when shopping for indoor security cameras to suit your home or business’s individual needs.

One of the most popular types of indoor security cameras are covered, or domed, security cameras. You have probably seen domed security cameras in retail settings and other areas before. Dome security cameras are typically installed on the ceiling and look like a dark, or even black, half circle. Dome security cameras are a great choice because they are non-intrusive, as they are safely tucked out of way overhead. These cameras are also sleek and attractive, and they do not take away from the appearance of your home or business at all.

Pan/tilt/zoom cameras are a bit more expensive than some other types of indoor security cameras, but they can be very useful. Pan/tilt/zoom indoor security cameras can detect motion and will “follow” an individual in order to capture good footage. It is not always necessary to have pan/tilt/zoom cameras in every area of your home or business, but having a few in key locations is never a bad idea.

Hidden security cameras are small and discreet, and they can be hidden in signs, smoke detectors and other discreet places. Hidden security cameras can be a great way to catch someone in the act, as they will have no idea they are being videotaped unless you tell them. However, because of their small size and because of some of the interesting places where hidden security cameras are sometimes hid, they do not always provide the best picture. Hidden security cameras often work best when used in conjunction with other indoor security cameras.

Fake security cameras, or dummy cameras, are designed to look just like a working security camera, although they do not work at all. Fake security cameras should never be substituted for real ones, but a few realistic-looking fake security cameras that are mixed in with your real cameras may help in deterring crime.

Wireless indoor security cameras are a must in many situations, and they are available in several styles. When shopping for indoor security cameras, your options truly are endless. The best course of action is to mix a few different types in order to achieve maximum results.

How Many Indoor Security Cameras Should I Have and Where Should They Be Placed?

Although it is obvious that indoor security cameras are an important part of any residential or commercial security system, it can be difficult to estimate just how many cameras each individual home or business needs. Several factors must be taken into consideration when determining the amount of security cameras required in each individual setting.

A home in a safe neighborhood certainly does not require indoor security cameras in every room, and some people would feel that monitoring the activity of each room of the house is a breach of privacy for other family members. In most family homes, placing an indoor security camera near each door that leads outside is sufficient, although some may feel more comfortable if each window on the lower level of the home can be viewed in security footage.

Families who are also using their indoor security cameras as nanny cams will obviously need to install more cameras. In this situation, it would be advised to install indoor security cameras in each room where the babysitter or nanny and children will frequent, including the nursery, each child’s bedroom and common areas, such as the living room and kitchen. If it makes a family with small children feel more comfortable, it is OK to install indoor security cameras in each room in the house, except for the restrooms. Once it is established that your babysitter or nanny is responsible and honest, you can slowly turn the cameras off in some of the less common areas of the house; if the cameras are still in place, the nanny or babysitter will never know that she isn’t on camera, but the privacy of other family members is then preserved.

In a business setting, far more surveillance is necessary than in a residential setting. Indoor security cameras should be placed near every doorway. Ample surveillance of the front counter or cash register area is a necessity. Test your indoor security cameras and make sure that you can get a good view of the cash register and of anyone standing around it, from all angles; if you can not clearly see the entire area on your monitor or TV screen, it is important to add more cameras. Ample surveillance of each private office, storage room and any area where money or valuable items are kept is also important.

In a retail setting, it is imperative to have enough indoor security cameras installed so that you can accurately and clearly monitor the entire store, just from your monitor or TV screen. In order to prevent shoplifting, it is important that each aisle of the store is properly monitored. Although you shouldn’t and can’t monitor individual dressing rooms or bathrooms, it is important to have ample surveillance at the entrances and exits of these areas, as they are the two most common areas where potential shoplifters hide their goods. Any suspicious behavior from a customer going in or coming out of a restroom or dressing room should be addressed, as many customers are notorious for putting extra clothing on underneath their street clothes or smuggling items into large purses, backpacks and even diaper bags. Make sure that every unpaid item that goes into your dressing room comes back out to prevent loss of profit.

Once you have installed ample indoor security cameras to accurately and clearly monitor your home or business, you are well on your way to having a safe and secure building. Remember that other security measures should always be taken seriously as well, such as outdoor security cameras and alarm systems, in order to keep your family and yourself or your employees and your customers as safe as possible.

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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What Is Frames Per Second?

Written By:
Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

A definition of frames-per-second (FPS)

What Is Frames Per SecondFPS is a term that describes the processing speed of a series of still image frames. More specifically, for example, 15 FPS means that a processor can record a series of 15 still image frames in one second so that when the frames are played back for a viewer, in one second of time, the viewer sees all 15 frames in the sequence in which they were recorded, giving it the appearance of motion.

The theory behind FPS is what gave birth to the motion picture industry, and it is still the basis of video technology. Instead of using a mountain of simple static photos, which is no way to see a movie, even if they could be produced, a motion picture camera captures thousands of still photos at a very fast speed, recording them sequentially on tape so they can be developed into a reel of film and projected onto a screen for viewing. This is a general description of analog technology. It is really still pictures simulating motion by rapid viewing.
FPS in digital terms

As the usefulness of the video medium advanced, so did the technology used in processing the still image frames.

Instead of recording motion onto film for processing, computer chips were employed that could “write” the images to a storage device, like a computer hard drive.

The images are written to storage by a process referred to as “digitizing.” The image, captured by the camera, is replicated by converting the analog picture from the camera into digital format that produces bits of data. A still image, such as one taken by a digital photo camera, is converted into a digital file that stands independently from other still images.

In video, the same principle is applied, except there is the additional step of tying together multiple images, paralleling the reel of film in earlier technology. This process of digitizing is done by software, and by “stitching” together the still images in proper sequence, a single data file is stored as a video file. The video file, when played, simulates motion.

In FPS terms, the number of individual frames that can be written to disk in one second, properly processed in the computer chip, with the software, provides a basis for comparison among processors. The faster the processing is, the better is the simulation of real-time motion.

For comparison, a processor that can digitize and record at 30 FPS, as opposed to 15 FPS, is twice as fast.
Unrelated to FPS, though worth mentioning, is that advanced software allows the viewer to see still frames, to slow the motion down, to zoom in on a portion of the image as well as to use changes from one image to another to provide a trigger for other actions to take place.

Referred to as “motion detection,” this is a tool used for the startup of other systems, such as turning on emergency security lights or notifying persons who are responsible for security in an area. This is not a function of FPS, though it helps illustrate the outstanding versatility and usefulness of digital technology.

How many FPS are enough?

How many FPS are enough?The frames-per-second requirements vary with the intent of the application. Using the example above, if motion is used as a trigger to turn on emergency lights, or to send a text message to a security officer, the FPS is almost irrelevant. Even if the processor can only convert at a rate of 7.5 FPS, it is plenty fast enough to do the job required of it.

However, in a critical industrial application, such as manufacturing, the faster FPS rates can be helpful in determining the origins of a breakdown in production equipment.

For example, a critical process on a production line may be one in which a mechanical part must align perfectly with another mechanical part, and the two are to be fused together as one. A misalignment of the parts can cause a faulty product, and in many cases, the misalignment can be bad enough that it causes a shutdown of the production line.

A video camera that is trained on the critical operation, in such a case, can send images to the processor at a rate that is faster than the human eye can see. These images are processed as a video into a single file. If the recording chip is capable of processing at very fast FPS rates, then using the software to slow down the viewing may show the point in the fusing process where the breakdown is occurring, allowing an adjustment to be made to the machine to fix the problem and to get the production going again.

The faster the FPS is, the more information the processor can give to the one doing the analysis. It does not hurt to have too much information, but it can hurt to have too little.

A discussion of “real-time” FPS

Setting aside the arguments among video gamers about what the human eye is capable of seeing, in the video surveillance industry, 30 FPS is considered real-time, meaning that watching the video at normal speed looks virtually the same as it does when viewing the scene with the naked eye.

In a case where a building security officer needs video to watch a parking lot and record suspicious events, 30 FPS is indistinguishable from live viewing. At half of real-time, 15 FPS, watching a car in a parking lot, or watching a person walking up to a car, perhaps to break into it, will present only very slight choppiness in the playback of the video. It is barely noticeable. The FPS rate of 15 is still very usable in terms of seeing what happens in the parking lot.

For someone who wants to install security cameras on the outside of his home, a rate of 7.5 FPS is still highly suitable for seeing what is happening. The playback will appear a little choppy, but it can still provide valuable footage for analysis.

Real-time may seem to be the best avenue for most all applications, but in terms of necessity, many buyers would be happy with the results of a system which produces less than real-time FPS.

FPS rating of a digital video recorder (DVR)

The technical data of a DVR is listed with its specifications, usually found in the literature that accompanies the equipment, or on the website from which the unit is bought.

In the DVR specifications, an FPS rating may show 120 FPS, or 480 FPS, and so on. If 30 FPS is real-time, do numbers this high mean that the DVR has too much processing speed to be practical? After all, does the high speed not come with a higher price that may not be necessary to spend?

The DVR specification needs some explanation. It is a question of simple math. If the DVR is a 4-channel recorder, the FPS rate should be divided by four. If the DVR has a rating of 120 FPS, and it is a 4-channel DVR, then all four channels can be recorded at 30 FPS, or real-time (120/4 cameras=30 FPS per camera feed).

On the other hand, if an 8-channel DVR has the same rating of 120 FPS, the maximum FPS that can be recorded on this specific machine, when all eight channels are feeding the DVR equally, is 15 FPS (120/8 cameras=15 FPS). However, unless the specification states that the maximum FPS per channel is 15, using only six cameras, instead of the maximum of eight for this DVR, the unit would allow a recording rate of 20 FPS per channel (120/6 cameras=20 FPS).

What is the downside of higher FPS ratings?

What Is Frames Per SecondThe downside of the higher FPS ratings is really only a matter of how much storage capacity a person wants in his archive.

Since 30 FPS represents twice as many still frames being processed per second than a DVR with a 15 FPS rating, the amount of storage needed for the video is also doubled. This can be a big difference in space and costs with larger systems of 32 or 64 cameras.

The formula is further complicated by how much time needs to be archived, pending a review or investigation. In a business that operates around-the-clock, when theft or intrusion would be noticed quickly, a seven-day archiving capability is often enough. Even though the 30 FPS DVR requires twice as much storage as a 15 FPS unit for the same amount of archived time, the difference in required capacity may be irrelevant to the buyer.

Many operations require more archiving capability, sometimes as much as 90 days worth. When this is the need, buyers will want to pay special attention to compression technologies and hard drive costs that can boost the price of the unit, without getting much in return, if the footage can be reviewed in less time than the 90 days standard that was originally set.

One way of getting around the storage issue is to set each camera according to the actual need of its particular placement. A camera that puts “eyes” on a sensitive storage area, like a pharmaceutical cabinet in a hospital, would not require a 30 FPS rate. Movements in the camera’s view would be simple human movements, like arms and legs moving, or a head turning.

These movements are easily captured on a much lower FPS rating than 30. A 7.5 FPS would be sufficient in cases such as these, thus cutting down the amount of required storage for those particular cameras to only 25% of that which would be required by a 30 FPS setting. Only those applications that require the recording of exceptionally fast motion would need to be set to 30 FPS or higher.

 

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Managing Your Security System

Written By:
Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Managing Your Security SystemOnce your digital video security and surveillance system is installed it’s now time to for managing your security system.  This is the point where all of the cameras are mounted in place, the power supply is mounted and the cameras are connected to it and the cameras are connected to the DVR and are ready to go.

First you need to check each camera to make sure it is aimed in the direction you want.  The camera’s field of view is very important and some things need to be taken into consideration when managing your security system’s cameras.

If you have a camera with an excellent Wide Dynamic Range the background may not be as big of a concern as a camera without one.   For example shooting into an area where the background is extremely bright can cause a white wash-out and the appearance of your actual subject as nothing but a dark blob.  Once again, if the camera has a WDR this will be much less of a factor because the WDR will compensate for the bright background.

Another thing to consider when managing your security system cameras, especially Pan-Tilt-Zoom or PTZ cameras is to make sure there is nothing hindering the movement of the camera as well as any thing blocking the camera’s view after being panned or tilted.

If you have a PTZ camera/DVR that can provide tracking and following of objects, now is a good time to check that out to see how it works.  Any other special needs the cameras may have should be tested as well.  Are they intended to be used at night?  If so you will need to check them in the evening to see how the field of view and infrared range work for you.

For those cameras that may be battery operated, don’t forget to install fresh batteries (fully charged if they are rechargeable).  Make sure camera that are powered by a power distribution panel or transformer are plugged in properly and are ready to go.

If you  have any cameras that are mounted high up in the air or in places that make it difficult to access, instead of using trial and error to set them up you may want to consider Security Camera King’s 2.5 inch LCD Service Monitor with wrist strap Product# VX-WLCDM.  Unless you like climbing up and down a latter for the majority of a weekend you’ll find that this is quite a convenient time saver and will worth the money.  And speaking of monitors, now is the time to check out your connections to them (it) to make sure that all cables are connected and the monitors are mounted and turned on.

Now that all the preliminary work is done it’s time to manage your security system from the perspective of the DVR.  Managing your security system from the DVR means testing each camera and setting any individual preferences for each camera.  This is important because if you take the time to do things correctly here, you shouldn’t have to mess with anything again in the future.

Think carefully about why each camera was installed, where it was installed, and how important it is for a close shot or a narrow one etc.  This will help you on how to decide to set the camera up within the DVR’s programming.  Some cameras may require they work 24 hours a day 7 days a week while other cameras in your system may only need to record when they detect motion in their field of view.

Managing your security system also includes determining a regular schedule for you to check to see if it is time to backup (should you choose to do regular consecutive backups) so you won’t forget in the future.

We highly recommend that you visit our Video Vault where we have provided you with free, instructional videos on managing your security system, specifically dealing with the DVR.  Here you’ll find apropos instructional videos such as “Video Management Software,”  “How to Playback Footage at the DVR,” and “How to Enable Audio from the DVR” and many, many more.

To access these free training and informational videos simply click on “Video Vault” at the top of the page and you will be taken to the Video Vault where you can search and play a variety of different videos.

If you have any specific questions pertaining to managing your security system contact one of our security experts either by Live Chat or telephone.   We love to help!

 

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