Posts Tagged ‘ 4CIF’



Security DVR Recording Resolutions

Written By:
Friday, March 19th, 2010

You’re in the market for a security surveillance system for your home or your business. What is the one most important component of that system? The Digital Video Recorder, or DVR, is the single most important component. And the most important aspect of choosing a DVR is the recording resolution.

In manufacturing a DVR, the recording resolution is a balancing act between being able to actually see what’s being recorded and having the storage space to store the video. The better the resolution, the better the images look, but the more space it takes to store it, and the beefier the processor it takes to record it. Manufacturers try to offer that ideal balance between being able to actually have usable recorded footage for evidence of an event if needed, being able to process the enormous amounts of data involved while recording it at a usable resolution, and not running out of recording room to store events. How the manufacturers succeed at this is what you need to evaluate when shopping for DVRs. Budget will be a huge consideration here, since the units that juggle these factors in the most optimum way are, of course, the most expensive. Putting together the optimum system which takes into account all your needs, including your budget, and gives you recordings from all DVRs that can actually be used as evidence takes a bit of knowledge and the help of a qualified reputable professional.

When referring to recording resolution the industry usually uses either a variant of CIF, which is 360 x 240 pixel resolution, or D1, which is 720 x 480 pixel resolution. There is a distinction that needs to be addressed here. Each DVR has a recording resolution and a live video resolution. The live video is always going to be clearer, so when you are evaluating DVR units you really need to know how the recorded video will look, since that will be your actionable evidence in the event of a security problem. D1 is currently the highest resolution used for recording, but most standalone DVRs are not able to record in D1 in realtime, which is 30 frames per second (fps) on all the channels at the same time, though some of the new units coming out are starting to improve on that.

The strength and capacity of the processor that is running the DVR will determine how high a resolution can be set for recording. The memory in the unit is also a big factor. Most processors can’t yet record at a realtime resolution, though some of the newer units that are beginning to show up in the marketplace are hitting 4CIF recording in real time on all channels, which is a 704 x 480 pixel resolution. The current average for a DVR is a CIF recording resolution, which is 360 x 240 pixels in real time at 30 fps.

When looking at the specifications, the three things you need to consider together are the recording resolution, the frame rate, and the recording speed. Of the three, the recording resolution carries the most weight in a carefully considered purchasing decision. If there is a security event, you want to be able to clearly identify the face of the person involved, and if the resolution doesn’t allow this, it’s useless. A 640 x 480 recording resolution is the minimum recording resolution which will easily allow this. 720 x 480 has the same quality but in a wider screened aspect ratio to allow viewing on the typical widescreen computer or tv monitor. 1600 x 1200 is ideal for viewing from an actionable standpoint, but the speed, storage and processing needed to maintain this recording resolution make the cost prohibitive for all but the most deep pocket organizations.

When putting together a budget system, the best way to approach it is to choose a better resolution for key points of security, ie near the front door and the cash register, while choosing lesser resolutions for areas which would be more likely to be monitored in realtime but where recording resolution is a bit less critical, and would simply be support footage when combined with the higher resolution footage from the other areas, not an ideal approach, but one which would allow security on a smaller budget.

Whatever your security needs, the help of a qualified and reputable security monitoring specialist will shortcut your efforts enormously. Juggling all the factors involved in the purchase, including the recording resolution needed for actionable evidence, is key to the overall success of your security efforts.

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How To Set Up Your DVR For Recording

Written By:
Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Keep in mind that all DVR’s have different configurations and terminology. I will explain how to properly set up the Elite, Elite-Mini-HD, and Ultimate DVR’s for recording while conserving  maximum storage. Most DVR’s will not have as many options for recording configuration, but this should cover just about every setting you will find.

In the Elite, Ultimate and Elite-Mini-HD series DVR, every camera has its own configuration. Unlike most DVR’s, you can set each camera differently, or they can be all the same. Most other DVR’s have only one setting that applies to all the cameras at once. Let’s discuss each setting individually.

Resolution:

I recommend setting overview cameras to CIF recording (360×240). Set any cameras that need extra detail to D1 (704×480) recording. This would apply to cameras that are used for license plate capture, cash register drawer capture or facial capture at entrances or exits.

Frame Rate:

I would set up the overview cameras to 15fps. You will notice very little difference between 15fps and 30fps. Since these are overview cameras, there is really no need for 30fps. I would set detail capture cameras to 30fps.

Quality level:

Set all cameras to the highest quality level.

Bit Rate:

Set the Bit Rate to match the available bandwidth. I recommend using no more that 40% of the bandwidth so if you know you have 2 mbps up bandwidth available, and you have 8 cameras, I would set the bit rate to 100kbps. Also, set the bit rate to VBR rather than CBR. VBR allows for variable bit rate which gives the DVR the ability to throttle the rate according to available bandwidth. CBR is for constant bit rate.

Recording:

Set the DVR to record motion only.

Pre and Post Recording:

Set the prerecording to 10 seconds and the post recording to 10 seconds. This will provide you with recordings that have 10 seconds before and 10 seconds after the motion event.

Sensitivity:

This will need to be set individually on a per camera basis. Set the sensitivity so that the DVR is only triggered to record by objects you want to trigger. For example, you may not want a bird, dog or cat to set of the recording, but you may want a person to trigger recording. This is done using the sensitivity level.

Mask:

Make sure to mask out any areas of motion that you do not want to trigger recording. For example, you probably would not want a flag on a pole or a moving tree to trigger the motion recording. Just mask those areas out on a per camera basis.

If you configure everything as stated above, you should be able to maximize the storage ability of your hard drive. Keep in mind that these are only suggestions. There can be many deviations from these suggestions depending on your preferences and needs. Also, if you have bandwidth issues to deal with and do not have a sub stream available, then you may need to lower some of these settings.

The Elite-Mini-HD and the Ultimate Series DVRs both have sub streams available, so you can leave the recording settings to optimal.

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The Difference Between CIF And 4CIF Resolution

Written By:
Thursday, August 13th, 2009

4CIF Resolution Image
When configuring your DVR for optimal recording, there are many options you will be considering. Among them is the resolution you want to record in. While most DVR’s can record in CIF resolution (360×240) at the maximum frame rate provided by the DVR, some can also record at higher resolutions by reducing the frame rate. For example, you may be able to record on any channel at CIF resolution at 30 frames per second, but then you would probably only be able to record at 7.5 fps per second if you changed the resolution to 4CIF (704×480). You will have to decide for each camera (assuming your DVR has independent resolution settings for each channel) which resolution you want to record in. Remember, what you see is not always what you get! Most DVR’s will display live video in 4CIF or D1 (720×480) resolution, but they are often recording in a much lower resolution.

Each application has different needs. If you are using the security camera for a general overview, you may want to use CIF resolution and the maximum frame rate since detail is less important and fluid video is probably more important. On the other hand, if you are using the camera for facial recognition at the front door of your business, then you will surely want to record at 4CIF resolution, even if it means sacrificing some of the frame rate. The 4CIF image is literally 4 times larger than the CIF image and therefore can provide you with 4 times the detail. There are a couple of DVRs out there that can give you the best of both worlds, 4CIF resolution while doing 30fps recording on every channel. At this time, I only know of one unit that can offer that. It is the Ultimate Series DVR.

Here are 2 different images taken from an Elite Series DVR. The smaller image was from a CIF (360×240) recording and the larger image is from a 4CIF (704×480) recording. The difference between the two is the size of the image stored on the hard drive.

CIF Resolution

CIF Resolution Image

4 CIF Resolution

4CIF Resolution Image

As you can see, the 4CIF image is much larger. It will be much easier to capture details from the 4 CIF resolution image, than from the CIF resolution image. Unless you are lucky enough to be working with a DVR that does 4CIF or D1 recording in real time (30fps) on all channels at the same time, you will need to decide for each camera, which resolution is best for that application.

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The Relationship Between The Camera TVL And The Resolution Of The DVR

Written By:
Saturday, August 8th, 2009

Here is a very common question. How many TVL should the camera have to best use the resolution of my DVR? This is one of the most misunderstood relationships in CCTV. The resolution that the DVR records in refers to the SIZE of the image being recorded. So CIF resolution (360×240) and 4CIF resolution (704×480) refer to how large the image actually is. 4CIF is an image that is 4 times larger than CIF.

TVL refers to the Horizontal lines of resolution the camera can display in. This will determine the amount of detail you may see within a certain size image (CIF, 2CIF, 4CIF). When selecting the right camera, keep in mind that the resolution being recorded and the resolution being displayed are usually different. In most cases a DVR will display live video at 4CIF (704×480) or D1 (720×480) resolution, but be recording in a lower resolution like CIF (360×240). Though a live 4CIF display of video will benefit from a 520TVL camera, the recorded image in CIF will not see the difference between a 520TVL camera and a 420TVL camera. So in essence you will only benefit from the live view, not the recorded image.

You will notice that the maximum benefit for a cameras horizontal resolution when recording in 4CIF is actually around 520TVL. Also, notice when recording in CIF resolution a 420TVL camera and a 520TVL camera will look exactly the same in the recorded image if recorded in CIF, but the 520TVL camera will display an enhanced image when recording at 4CIF. This also applies to the live video since it is usually displayed at 4 CIF.

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