Archive for the ‘ Security Camera ’ Category

How to set up your TechproDDNS Acct

Written By:
Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

How to set up your DVR for use with a TechProDDNS Domain

One of the problems with viewing your DVR remotely is that if your Internet service Provider or (ISP) changes your IP address, you may no longer be able to access your DVR.  Once properly configured, the TechPro DDNS (Dynamic DNS) service eliminates this common issue.

The way it works is by providing you with a domain name, like the following “”, that will always resolve to your current IP address. If the IP address changes, the DDNS service is notified by the DVR and updates the domain name to point to the new IP. Put simply, you can always reach your DVR by going to “”.

This document will show you how to setup your TechPro Security Products DVR in conjunction with a TechProDDNS domain name. It is important to note that some brands of DVRs may not work with DDNS, but all TechPro Security Products DVRs have this capability built-in.

Step 1 – Register for a TechPro DDNS Account.    

Step 2 – Set up a Domain Name.
Once your TechProDDNS account is set up, you will need to set up your domain name.


In the example above we chose the domain name “”, User ID: UserID1 and a Password: Password1.

You can choose any Domain Name, User ID and Password that you like, but they should be unique for each DVR.

Note: In Step 3 (the next step) you will have 2 options for configuring the DVR.

Option 1 is using the DVR Local interface and Option 2 is using the “Web Service” via Internet Explorer.

 If you use option 2, the web service, you must have the web service ActiveX Add-on, properly installed on Internet Explorer and your DVR must be on the same network as the computer you are using to access it.

Step 3 – Setup your DVR

Option 1 – DVR Local interface.
With a monitor and mouse connected to your DVR, login to the DVR Local Interface.


Select “Settings” icon from the Main Menu.


Next Select “Network” icon.


Note: The example below assumes that your network IP scheme follows the 192.168.1.? Convention. This is normally the case.   It also assumes that your Default Gateway (typically your router) has an IP address of



TechPro DVRs come with a default static IP address of This is normally fine and for the purposes of this document we are going to leave it that way. Do not check DHCP as we want this DVR to ALWAYS have the IP. If DHCP is selected it may pick up a random IP from you router.

Note: Just be sure that is not in your routers DHCP range. If it is another device on that network may get assigned to it and cause conflicts.

We also recommend that you change the HTTP Port from the default 80 to 88. Port 80 is the default HTTP port for many devices and may also be blocked or cause conflicts.

Once you are done scroll to the bottom of the page an turn on the checkbox, next to “DDNS”.
Then double click on “DDNS” to open the DDNS Settings.


Select “Dyndns DDNS” from the “DDNS Type” dropdown and turn on the “Enable” checkmark next to it. Now enter the following information.

Server IP:
Port: Do Not Change this. Unlike the HTTP Incoming Port, this should remain 80
Domain Name:
User Name: UserName1
Password: Password1

Select “Save” at the bottom of the “DDNS Settings” popup and “Save” at the bottom of the “Network Setting” Page.


Option 2 – Web Service (via Internet Explorer).
The setup is identical to the setting above but, the user interface of the web service is a bit different. In Internet Explorer go to, and login to your DVR.


Next Select “Network” from the navigation bar on the left.


Note: The example above assumes that your network IP scheme follows the 192.168.1.? Convention. This is normally the case.   It also assumes that your Default Gateway (typically your router) has an IP address of

TechPro DVRs come with a default static IP address of This is normally fine and for the purpose of this document we are going to leave it that way. Do not check DHCP since we want this DVR to ALWAYS have the IP. If DHCP is selected it may pick up a random IP from your router.

Note: Just be sure that is not in your routers DHCP range. If it is, another device on that network may get assigned to it and cause conflicts.

We also recommend that you change the HTTP Port from the default 80 to 88. Port 80 is the default HTTP port for many devices and may also be blocked or cause conflicts.

Once that is done, scroll to the bottom of the page and check the box next to “DDNS”.

Select “Save” at the bottom of the page.

Now Select “DDNS” under the “Network” Menu.


First select “Dyndns DDNS” from the “DDNS Type” Dropdown and check the “Enable” box next to it.

Now enter the following information:

Server IP:
Port: Do Not Change this. Unlike the HTTP Incoming Port, this should remain 80
Device Alias:
User Name: UserName1
Password: Password1

Select “Save” at the bottom of the page.

Step 4 – Port Forward your Router to your DVR.
OK, now you have configured your DVR to communicate with the DDNS server and keep it up to date with your current IP address.

The last thing we have to do is set up port forwarding in your router. Doing this tells the router that when a request comes in from “” on port “88”, to forward us to the DVR.

The user interface may vary depending on the specific router, but port forwarding is usually set up similar to this example. Here I am using a Linksys E1000 wireless router as shown below.


Most routers will have options for “Single Port Forwarding” and “Port Range Forwarding”.  In this example we will use “Single Port Forwarding”.

You may have noticed earlier, when we changed the “HTTP port” to “88” that there was also a “TCP port” set to “37777”.  We will need to port forward both of them. The HTTP port (88) is used by the “Web Service” when accessing the DVR from a browser, like Internet Explorer and the TCP port (37777) is used by software or mobile apps that will be accessing your DVR.

Once you find the area in your router for “Single Port Forwarding”, you will want to set things up similar to the settings shown above.

First, you will assign a descriptive name to each port forward. I used “DVR Web” for port”88” and “DVR Software” for port “37777”.

In the “External Port” and “Internal Port” fields you want to specify the port that the request will be coming in on “88” or “37777”.

Under the “Protocol” drop down there are usually 3 options, TCP, UDP and Both. We really only need to select “TCP” but selecting “Both” won’t hurt and covers all bases.

Now you need to tell the router the IP of the device you want to forward your request to. In this case it’s the DVR “”. That’s why earlier we mentioned we do not want to check the “DHCP” option, this will ensure that the DVR is always “”.

Last, you want to “Enable” or make sure this rule is “Active”.


Testing To See If Everything Works.
At this point if everything is setup correctly, you should be able to test it by launching “Internet Explorer” and going to the following domain:


If you get the “Web Service” login screen, then it’s all good!


One Last Note: Notice that we had to specify: 88 at the end of the domain name. This is because we change out HTTP port to 88. If we did not add: 88 the router would not know which rule to use to port forward our request. 



SecurityCameraKing is the Amendment 64 Security Camera Authority

Written By:
Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

We here at want to ensure you that when it comes to the needs of your surveillance equipment inspections for the Colorado Cannabis Community SecurityCameraKing is the Amendment 64 Security Camera Authority. We have carefully gone over Article XVIII, Section 16, otherwise known as “Amendment 64” and we have helped numerous Marijuana Retail Shops and growers with their security camera requirements. The following is a reference of what you need to be compliant as well as additional information you might need.

The following is a reference of what you need to be compliant as well as additional information you might need.

Analog or High Definition Cameras

While there are no stated minimum requirements for your security camera system needed for your Marijuana Retail establishment, we wanted to show you the difference between what an analog camera will provide versus a High Definition Security Camera. Both formats will get your inspection passed. Both can record on to a security recorder and can be viewed anywhere in the world you have Internet. Both will potentially deter criminals just for the reason that they will see the cameras and go on to the next store.

However, if you do ever have criminal activity, you would want to be sure you have the best recording possible. The difference is in the detail the camera will capture. The video from an analog camera will distort, or pixelate, when trying to zoom in and see detail. Click on the link below for a side by side video comparison. 

Imagine if someone broke into your store and you presented your security camera footage to the authorities. Having High Definition Secuirty Cameras could mean the difference between an arrest, due to a positive ID, versus not being able to see any detail. This is why we suggest going with High Definition Secuirty cameras such as HD-CVI or IP. Sure, you could get along with Analog to get your inspection passed, but in the long run, just how much is your Marijuana investment worth. Besides outside theft, you need to keep an eye on your employees as well as your crops. HD Security Cameras can also be used to monitor the healthiness of your crops (if you are a grower).

40 Days of 24/7 Security Recording

By law, you are required to have a surveillance system that can record and hold 40 days of security footage recording 24 hours per day non-stop. In order to figure out how much disc space you need for your security camera system, we have created an Online Hard Drive Calculator to help you determine that. Below are two examples of how much disc space you would need for 16 cameras. One of the major differences between an Analog Security Camera System and a High Definition Security Camera System, besides the clarity of the video, is how much disc space is needed to hold information for the 40 days.

Hard Drive Space for Analog
Hard Drive Example for an Analog System
Hard Drive Space for High Definition
Hard Drive Example for a 2MP High Definition System
As you can see it is very important to determine how much hard drive memory you need before you make your purchase so you can prove that your security camera system can record footage for 40 days. It is always a good idea to get more than you need to be sure.

Creating a Site Plan

It is very important to develop a site plan for your Marijuana Store in Colorado or for your Marijuana Growing Facility. This way, we can help you determine exactly where your security cameras should be placed. All entrances and exits, sales areas, growing areas, windows, storage areas, etc. need to have 24/7 camera surveillance, and we are experts when it comes to placement and coverage. All you need to do is provide us with a layout (whether it is professionally done or just scratched out on a piece of paper), and we will assist you with what you need to get you surveillance system inspection passed. Having the cameras configured in the site plan will also make it easy for your installation process. If you do not have an installer and do not want to do the installation yourself, we can recommend one. If you are in the Denver area, we can take care of the installation through our install department.

The image below represents a typical site plan. This is not an actual plan as we do not make public our customer’s facilities. This is just an example, and chances are your site plan will be very different.

amendment 64 site plan

Securing Your DVR

According to Amendment 64, your security recorder needs to be secure and in an area where it can not be tampered with. We have the perfect solution for this. Our DVR Lockbox will hold any of our DVRs or NVRs and keep it secure. It locks with a key and has an internal fan to keep your recorder from overheating. You can mount it to a wall or shelf using our optional brackets. Marijuana Inspectors love seeing these units being used. There is no way your DVR can be messed with or stolen, and so the footage will always be available to the authorities if needed.

DVR Lockbox From SecurityCameraKingA DVR Lockbox is the best way to keep your DVR secure

Advantages of Buying Your Amendment 64 Security Camera System from

There are a lot of advantages of making your purchase through

Fast Shipping – We have a location in Colorado so ground shipping will be delivered in 1 business day in most cases. Orders over $500 will be shipped for free.

Colorado Shipping Map
Free US Based Tech Support
Every product we sell comes with Free Tech Support. We have some of the most knowledgeable techs that are fluent in security camera systems. In most cases we can log in remotely and do all the configurations for you.

Our Guarantee
We are so confident that the system we pick out for you will pass your Amendment 64 Security Camera Inspection that we provide a Certificate of Guarantee that states that the system we picked for you has met or exceeded the requirements needed to pass.

I-502 Security Camera Certificate
Free Remote Viewing Software
Using our free software you can view your cameras anywhere you have Internet on your Android, iPhone, iPad, Tablet, Mac and PC, provided your system is connected to your network.

Product Warranties
We have some of the best warranties in the industry. Most of our NVRs and DVRs have a 3 year warranty.

30 day “No Questions Asked” Money Back Guarantee
We know you will be happy with our systems. If for any reason you are dissatisfied, there is no need to worry, just return your unused and uninstalled items within 30 days in the original packaging for a complete refund.


How to turn on and off an IP camera using Smart Devices | Getting more of your Smart Devices

Written By:
Monday, January 19th, 2015

smart bedroom


Many of you are installing cameras inside and outside of your homes and there are many times where you wish you could turn off your camera (at least the one in your bedroom) with the push of a button. Maybe by just giving a verbal command or simply pulling out your smart phone and using that to turn the camera. With “Smart”  items coming out for your home that are basically interconnected with your network, this is possible. I recently got a customer asking why there were no solutions to do this with his security system and after a brief pause I got a Eureka! moment. I figured that I already have some of these items and I can add them to my system. There are some items that you will need to accomplish this task. We are going to showcase some items that you will need and optional ones that will help you make your Home a Smart Home. Just follow this easy document on “How to turn on and off an IP camera using smart devices”

Items that you will need:

Single port Power Over Ethernet Switch POE-1G



Belkin WeMo Insight Switch


ivee – Sleek Voice-Activated Smart Clock [Optional for voice Command]



The main items would be a Single port PoE Switch POE-1G which will power the camera via an Ethernet cable and that would get connected to a Wemo Insight Switch.

The Belkin WeMo Smart Switch communicates with your  IOS or Android Device to turn the power on any 15 amp 120V AC device on or off. This can be used to to control lamps, Christmas lights or anything that will use a 120VAC power source. We will be connecting the PoE single port switch to this device allowing us to power the device or turn it off, but I always like to push things even further. Why not add a Siri like device to operate not just this but any other Belkin WeMo Switch or Nest Thermostat devices? Well for this we need a device called ivee which doubles as a Smart Clock that connects to any smart device. I found myself needing to change my alarm from time to time and found this smart clock that also allowed me to turn up or down my temperature using my Nest Thermostat as well as turn on of off the lamps or even open or close my front door making my life a little bit easier since in times I forgot if I set my alarm correctly and also if my front door dead bolt was in the locked position, a simple command to the ivee from the comfort of my bed allows me to do this as well as allow me to turn off the camera in my bedroom when I decide I need some privacy.

There are so many things that can be done with this type of device that people do not realize it. For example you can add a command to enable one of these Smart Switches and on this smart switch you can have a relay that will accept any high or low voltage device, lets say you want to turn off a non smart device such as a fan. If you are a techie you can have this device restart a router or any network device that does not have the ability to be accessed or the manufacturer failed to add a shutdown feature to it.


One big project that I will be integrating this would be to add this as Do it Yourself Pet Feeder where I will be ordering one of these and dismantle it and use it to operate a stepper motor that will have an auger drill with a hopper that will have a “V” shape. This will enable me to command Ivee to feed my cats in the morning while I get ready to go to work relieving from doing so as well as giving me the ability to feed them once I get home.


This gentleman here has a Feeder for his fishes, You can see how it works. You have a drill that will be used as an auger and a hopper that will have the feed. You can time the feed for my cats I would say 3 minutes or so for each cat once it has does its thing it should turn off , a simple time that resets itself should do the trick for this now keep in mind that for indoors you need to enclose this device so that any children or pets do not mess with the device since it does power using alternate current. As well as adding fuses to protect the circuit.




Smart Home Devices should not only allow you to enjoy Media but assist you with the smaller tasks that take so much of your time. Having these devices will enable you to view you home from anywhere in the world, open or close your front door when ever you wish to do so, like when you are at work and all of a sudden something breaks in your home there is no longer a need to call in off because you need your washing machine fixed , you can simply have the Handy Man work on the washing machine while you view him or her on your Surveillance system and allow him entry using your Smart Lock. Since I have cameras all over my interior and exterior I can monitor anything that happens in my home as well as allow anyone entry. Another example is if you are renting your Home or Apartment,there are times where landlords do not know they are not allowed into your apartment or home, knowing if your landlord is coming and going at times they are not allowed will help you in a situation where the landlord or any individual has entered without your consent.

So next time you are buying or have an item laying around look at what else you can do not just what the manufacturer designed it for, Keep in mind that these and any hack can lead to voiding your warranty but if you are aware of this and the item is already out of warranty go ahead and learn , Trust me you will enjoy it. One big example is when I helped a Customer use an Auto tracking IP camera to track deer and other wild animals in here property and have the video footage go to her webpage as well as her Youtube account. She was happy with her setup as well as I was happy after I had completed this task. 😉



The Pros and Cons of Security Cameras

Written By:
Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

The pros and cons security cameras

The Pros and Cons of Security Cameras - Zeke RichieThere has been a debate happening in modern society for several years about the benefit of the significant increase in surveillance cameras in our country. It has been centered on the effectiveness of these cameras verse the perceived loss of privacy for the most part. It seems that everyone has an opinion on this subject and many people feel strongly about it but we’re going to try to take an objective look at the facts surrounding this issue. First we’ll take a look at some of the reasons that people who are against the proliferation of security cameras and the validity of these concerns.

Some people believe there hasn’t been enough evidence to prove that security cameras are effective at helping to reduce, prevent or solve crimes. These concerns are complicated by several studies that had varying results. The inconclusive findings are due, in part, to these studies not taking into account factors that affect crime but don’t directly relate to the security cameras. Some of these things are changes to population, lighting in public areas or police funding.

Despite the differences in the results of some of these early studies about how effective security cameras are in helping to reduce and prevent crime, several of them that have been conducted over the previous few years consistently agree on the fact that overtly installed security cameras do act to deter criminal activity in the vicinity. The idea is that when an individual who is planning criminal activity notices that surveillance cameras are monitoring an area, they either reconsider committing the crime or move on to a different area.

There has also been some debate about how useful these cameras are in helping law enforcement agencies to solve crimes. The point that is made by those people who believe that CCTV doesn’t actually helps law enforcement agencies with criminal investigations isn’t that the security cameras don’t provide evidence, but that these cameras provide too much. The idea behind this idea is that this footage will flood criminal investigators with an overwhelming amount of potential evidence, requiring too much time and resources from law enforcement to sift through. This may have been a more valid point in the past but recent advances in facial recognition technology and other video analytical software have greatly reduced the time needed to review footage of a crime. After the Boston Marathon bombing, investigators were confronted with an extremely large amount of recorded video footage and they were still able to release images to the public with in three days of the suspects. In addition to being able recognize faces, video analytical software can now identify license plates, foot traffic patterns and objects by their size, shape or color.

Another related point that is made by people who are against seeing security camera systems used more by government agencies and private citizens, is that the cost of this equipment is too high. A simple question usually ends this part of the debate fairly quickly though – How much is too much money to help ensure the safety of your property and your loved ones? This question combined with the fact that the price of security camera equipment has come down significantly, while quality has drastically increased, has really taken this part of the debate out of the equation. In New York the price tag of the surveillance camera equipment and the system to integrate publicly and privately owned security camera systems into one network, called the Lower Manhattan Security initiative, was considerably less than the hundreds of millions of dollars that has been spent on installing security camera systems across the United Kingdom over the last several years.  Several other cities in the United States have already begun similar systems or have plans to do so in the near future.

For a fairly short time it was also argued that security cameras didn’t help prosecutors get more guilty verdicts. This has become a moot point over the last few years though because the facts clearly show that there has been a greatly increased conviction rates in criminal cases where the prosecutor presented recorded surveillance camera footage of a crime in progress. There have also been several court cases where the defendant was found to be innocent when security camera footage proved it. It seems that there are two factors that make surveillance camera footage particularly effective in court. The first of these factors is that there are often more security cameras then eye witnesses in the area of a crime. The second of these factors is that the security cameras provide a more reliable account of criminal activity. The video footage provides an unbiased record of a situation as opposed to the notoriously unreliable testimonies of eye witnesses. There have many cases where multiple people have witnessed the same event and yet they provide drastically different details to law enforcement investigators.

The perceived loss of privacy for the general public is a trickier issue to examine. In part, these concerns are based around the possibility that if all of the surveillance camera systems ever get connected into the same network and combined with analytical software, then this system could be used to track a person’s movements across the country. Such a system as this doesn’t exist and it probably won’t for several years, if ever. It would take a very long time and a ridiculously large budget to tie all of the surveillance camera systems across the United States into one network.

Another thing that civil liberties activists are worried about is that the increased number security cameras could be abused and used to capture video of intimate moments or keep us under surveillance 24 hour a day, seven days a week. United States law protects the privacy of a US citizen only when the have the reasonable expectation to have it. This means that if you are outside or in a public place where anyone can see you and what you’re doing, then your privacy isn’t protected by any laws. So if a security camera system records video footage of activity on a sidewalk then there would be any expectation of privacy that’s protected by law. In the United Kingdom private citizens who are monitoring security camera footage are now considered to be security guards and are required to obtain licenses from the government, in an attempt to protect the privacy of other citizens.

Let’s revisit a question asked previously in this article – what is the worth of being a part of a society that is more safe and secure? In the case Boston marathon bombing this year, the London subway bombing in 2005 and many other cases surveillance camera systems have been an incredible help in catching and convicting criminals. There have even been cases where police misconduct was caught by security cameras and the rights of private citizens were protected. Most law enforcement agencies agree that they are very useful tool both during an investigation and in the courts.


The Benefits of Security Camera OSD Menus

Written By:
Thursday, July 11th, 2013

The Benefits of Security Camera OSD Menus

A lot of questions come up when you are searching for the perfect security camera system to protect your home or business. “What kind of cameras should I get?”, “What are the best security cameras for my home?”, “What are the differences between your cameras?” These are all questions you may have asked one time or another when choosing cameras for your new surveillance system.

There are many different kinds of cameras which are usually set apart by the many different types of features and hardware available on the market today. Some of the more popular security cameras types include fixed lens cameras, varifocal cameras, pan tilt zoom (PTZ) cameras, wireless cameras, dome and bullet cameras, hidden cameras, and 360 cameras. All of these different camera types can come with or without an OSD.

OSD stands for On-Screen Display. It is an integrated on-screen menu that can be accessed within the camera to change its functions that effect how the camera processes an image. Static cameras without an OSD is more-so a camera which is just a plug and play camera. You can install these cameras and once they’re plugged in, you’re done setting it up. However, if you’re pointing this camera at a window or in an area with lighting that causes issues with how the camera sees, this will be an issue and can render the camera useless. This is where an OSD comes in handy. It’s a group of settings that you can change within the camera’s chipsets to fix many of these types of issues. Once you access a cameras OSD menu you can change functions such as Exposure, ACG, Iris Levels, Shutter Speed, White Balance, Back Light Compensation, and many more.

Example of an OSD menu on a Security Camera:

pic 1


Nowadays, just about every security camera dealer will offer cameras which come integrated with an OSD. The DSP (Digital Signal Processor) that’s included inside of the camera will determine what type of settings you will have the ability to change. The DSP is a chip inside the camera which takes in all of the information coming from the CCD chip and puts it into video frames. The DSP will also process these functions and the type of DSP in a camera makes a huge difference in the quality of images you will see the camera producing.

Signal processing in security cameras come in multiple brands and versions. One of the better ones that we offer on our security cameras was created by Sony. The Effio series signal processor produces high resolution and color reproduction in security cameras and has pretty much turned into the standard when it comes to DSP’s which provide OSD capability.  Effio stands for “Enhanced Features and Fine Image Processor.” A few different versions of the Effio chip set include “Effio”, “Effio-P”, “Effio-S”, and Enhanced “Effio-E”. Each version of Effio will provide you with a different set of features to allow for a various range of applications which your security cameras can be installed in.

Here are some of the settings you will be able to access with the Effio chipset along with some information on what they are capable of enhancing:


ATR stands for Adaptive Tone Reproduction. This function will give you the ability to compensate and improve the contrast of items which have been lost in situations where you have a really bright area in the picture along with an
extremely dark area. What happens is that the camera will get confused trying to compensate for both areas and ATR was created to be able to handle both. With ATR enabled, the area’s which are blown out in contrast by too much light will become a bit lower in contrast and brightness so that the image is recognizable. The other area of the picture that is too dark will become a bit brighter so that you can see better detail in anything that was originally too dark to see. This can become incredibly useful in situations where you have a camera pointed at a window or a door and the sunlight coming in blocks you from being able to see anything else in the room.

Example of ATR in use:







DNR is an acronym for Digital Noise Reduction. Image noise is the grainy specks that you’ll notice in some video cameras. This is usually created by some sort of interference in the video signal. A few things that can cause this type of noise are low light, heat, power interference, and even device algorithms. Enabling DNR will remove noise from your image by applying a filter that’ll make your video appear clearer and can even reduce the size of your video file.

A 2D Noise Reduction filter will help reduce the noise found in video because of low lighting. However, sometimes this filter can be confused by motion in your video which will create blurry trails on anything moving.

A 3D filter has the advantage of being able to reduce the noise in video without too much motion as well as video that does have moving objects in the image.

Example of Digital Noise Reduction:






C. Privacy Mask

Privacy Masking is a great feature to block out certain things that you don’t want showing up in your video. There are some situations where you do not want an area to be recorded or viewed when accessing your security system and even if your Digital Video Recorder (DVR) doesn’t have the ability to add a privacy mask, the OSD in some cameras will have that feature. This can be useful when you have a camera pointed in the direction of a bathroom. With Privacy Mask enabled, you will be able to set a block over the door which will be blacked out in case someone opens the door, no one will be able to view inside of the bathroom through the masking. Another situation where privacy masking comes in handy is at a bank ATM. You will be able to set a mask over the buttons so that
the person who is viewing the surveillance cameras will not have the ability to see your pin code as you type it into the keypad. If you have a security system around your house, a neighbor may ask that you do not have video of his home on your system.

You can create a mask to block out their whole house. Of course, there are many other situations in which this feature may become useful to you. Each application is different. Some cameras have the ability to utilize polygonal privacy masking as opposed to standard masking. This advanced type of masking will allow you to create perspective masking instead of just drawing squares over an image. The polygon mask definitely allows for a bit more flexibility in what you’re blocking out.

Example of Privacy Masking:

Privacy masking



Another cool feature of the security camera OSD is the HLC feature. HLC is an acronym for Head Light Compensation. This setting is also known as “Eclipsing” and helps improve images that are effected by really strong front lighting. HLC works by painting over any part of the image that’s overexposed with black so that the other parts of the video can be seen clearly. This is mainly used for areas where cars that have their headlights or break lights pointing at the camera as they are passing through. Being able to see behind a bright light source will the camera the ability to see license plates better and even the make and model of the car. Without headlight compensation, the bright light will create such a large area of overexposure that when the camera tries to compensate for the brightness, it’ll block out the clarity of anything behind that beam of light.

Example of Headlight Compensation:

Head light Compensation


E. Exposure Control for IR Light

Exposure control for IR (Infrared) light is a pretty simple feature to explain. Many security cameras now come equipped with IR LEDs. These LEDs will light up when the light sensor realizes that it’s getting too dark for the camera to see. Infrared light isn’t visible to the human eye, but security cameras can pick it up with no problem. Sometimes cameras are installed to close to the object they are trying to capture and the IR light will be too bright and bounce off the items causing them to be overexposed. This exposure control will reduce the overexposure and make the whole image a bit gentler and easier to see its details.

Example of IR Exposure Control:

IR exposure control



WDR stands for Wide Dynamic Range. This may be one of the most widely used and asked about feature in the security camera industry when discussing OSD settings. Wide Dynamic Range will digitally adjust the exposure of an image and helps maintain the best detail in both the areas with a lot of shadows and brightly lit sections of the video. When you have an images that vary in intensity of illumination, wide dynamic rage is the perfect setting to enable for in order to enhance the image your camera is capturing. One of the major differences between WDR and ATR is that WDR will take multiple frames under different contrasts and brightness’s and then combining them to take the best part of each frame and create one frame with a detailed image that has neutral lighting.  ATR will compensate the contrasts and brightness and digitally enhance the sections of shadows and light in order to provide a better image.

Example of Wide Dynamic Range:

WDRG. White Balance

White balance is usually used to restore the original color of the scene that’s being shot with your security camera.  Using white balance will ensure that anything which looks white to the human eye will remain that way when recorded on your digital video recorder. The type of lighting and atmosphere in a location can affect the way that white looks to the surveillance camera. Incandescent light bulbs, Halogen, Florescent, and even the Sun can produce different wavelengths which will affect how the chips in the cameras see the color of white. Some cameras will even have the option for AWB which is Automatic White Balancing. It will automatically fix items which may become discolored due to different types of light wavelengths. Some cameras will also have a feature labeled as ATW, or Auto Tracing White which is similar to white balancing. It will automatically adjust color in order to always achieve which is consistent in the white areas of each frame that’s digitized by the DSP.

Example of White Balancing:




BLC, or Back Light Compensation, will increase the exposure in your video. A lot of times you’ll have an image that looks way too dim because of the way the light in the background is shining through. When you enable the BLC feature, your camera will begin to compensate for all of the bright back lighting causing your image to look a lot dimmer than it actually should. One of the downsides to BLC is when you’re shooting an object that is too small in comparison to the bright light behind it. Sometimes this can get confused and not work properly. The best use for BLC is when you have a camera pointed at a doorway. When someone walks through that door, the camera will try to compensate for the light shining through and without it, you’ll notice that the person becomes a silhouette and all of their detail is lost in the shadow. The best way to be able to identify that person is to enable this feature so it’ll properly compensate the lighting when needed.

Example of Back Light Compensation:

camera BLC

J. Slow Shutter

Slow Shutter is an option in your OSD which will allow you to adjust your cameras shutter speed to a slower than normal speed. The benefit to doing this is that in low light situations your camera will be able to pick up more light into the sensor, thus capturing a brighter image. The downside is that by slowing down the shutter you will get motion blur so this feature is not useful in an area with a lot of motion.

Example of an image taken with a slow shutter:

slow shutter


As you can see, there are many features in a security camera’s OSD menu. There are many more features which I have not listed in this article. If you’re looking for the best possible image from your surveillance system, I would recommend getting cameras which have integrated DSP’s which provide a feature-rich OSD menu. There are too many systems out there today which we refer to as “crime confirmation tools.” The reason for this is that these systems can easily capture what is occurring along with a date and time stamp, however, it is very
difficult to make out enough detail in the video to capture the person committing the crime. A lot of this can easily be solved by purchasing security cameras which provide you the ability to configure the on screen display features in order to get the best detailed image possible.