Posts Tagged ‘ auto tracking ’

The Differences Between Motion Detection, Auto Tracking, and CCTV Analytics

Written By:
Monday, November 11th, 2013
analytics motion tracking autotracking

When it comes to some of the terminology in Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) systems, it can be very confusing and often times the terms sound very similar. I often have customers call me asking for a motion detection camera that will follow a person that comes on to their property. I am going to cover the main differences and similarities of motion detection, auto tracking, and analytics.

Motion Detection in Surveillance Systems

With motion detection in a camera system, it is not like motion detection in an alarm system. With an alarm system there is a PIR (passive infrared) sensor that is send a beam into an area, when that beam is broken the sensor determines that motion has occurred. This beam can be changed with the amount of sensitivity that it has, this is generally utilized when someone has pets in their place and the don’t want to trip the sensors. With a camera system the motion detection is a little more simplistic, the camera is producing an image which the DVR (Digital Video Recorder) sees as an algorithm, when something changes in that algorithm the DVR determines this as a motion event. A simple cloud passing overhead can cause enough pixels in the image to change to have the algorithm change, making the DVR think that motion has occurred. If you have plants that blow in the wind, it can cause the algorithm to change. If you have anything that blows in the wind, the algorithm will change. Now you can adjust some of the settings in the DVR to help alleviate these false alerts. These settings can be found in the Main Menu, then go to Detect, then select the channel you want. You can adjust the sensitivity of the motion detection. If you have a Techpro Security DVR, the standard setting is at 3, which is a mid range sensitivity. If you are getting too many false alerts, you may try going to a 2 or 1. One is the least sensitive and six is the most sensitive setting is a Techpro DVR. If you are still getting false alerts, you may want to go into the motion detection and adjust the region of the image that is causing you the most problem. The factory default is to have the whole image shaded in Pink to detect motion detection. Any square that you deselect or that you can see the image with no color, you are deactivating the motion detection for.

This is an image from the Web Service of the Motion Detection settings on one of my cameras. As you can see the tiles that have motion detection active in this image are blue, this is because when using the Web Service the shaded areas have a different color than at the DVR. You will also notice a different color if you are using TechproSS for PC to set the configurations as well. The results are still the same though. The top three rows in the motion detection on this image are deactivated, this is because I am not worried about anything causing motion in those areas. Now if someone or something were flying that low, then I may want to reconsider this. At this moment I don’t know of any thieves using jet packs!I generally will use a sensitivity of 1 on almost all of my cameras, this may not work for everyone, but it has served it’s purpose for me. One big false motion event will commonly occur at night, this is generally do to bugs loving the IR (Infrared) light that the cameras produce to help them see at night. Bugs and other insects also enjoy this light, now humans can’t see this light but this helps the camera to see when there is absolutely no light available and enhances any light available to it.

Motion Detection

Auto Tracking Security Cameras

Now if you want a camera that will follow or track an object that comes into it’s line of site, you will want an Auto Tracking PTZ ( Pan Tilt Zoom ) camera. These cameras are great for locations where there is not supposed to be movement. When an object changes the pixelization of the image the camera will respond and start “tracking” what changed the pixels. This is a great idea for a camera, but generally fails in several ways. The biggest failure of this camera is if 2 objects come into the camera’s line of sight and then move in opposite directions. The camera will follow the bigger of the objects not knowing which is more likely to cause the issue. Another failure with this type of camera is, if the camera is following an object and the object stops for a short time. The camera will default back to it’s home position, leaving the object to continue on unnoticed. In theory Auto Tracking PTZ’s are awesome, but in practicality they have some major faults. Now if you could add Analytics to this camera, you would have a phenomenal solution.

CCTV Analytics

Analytics is a program that runs in correlation with a DVR, that analyzes the images coming from the camera in real time to determine certain criteria. The different criteria can generally be set by the user to accomplish their needs. On some software you can set up different if statements that will react in different ways. For example, you can draw a line on the image, and say, “If an object passes this line going in this direction, then take a snapshot, record, and sound an alarm.” You can also put in an if statement like, “If an object passes this point and stays for this amount of time, sound an alarm, send an email, and record.” You can generally get as complex as you want with this type of software or stay as simplistic as you want. Some analytical software that I have seen will allow you to find a specific person and it will go through the recorded footage and give you that persons path every time they passed through that camera.

Now the military and other government agencies have analytical software that would blow the general public’s mind. I have worked with a few ex-military special force guys, who explained briefly some of the things that the software they used could do. Some of the features in these programs are so advanced, that I think they will never reach the civilian market, but I am glad that they are being employed to keep our troops safe in the hostile environments we currently find ourselves in.

I hope this article has helped to clarify the differences between these terms to help you better understand what you will need to have an effective security system. Motion Detection can be found on most surveillance systems on the market, Auto Tracking is a cool feature, but has many flaws, and Analytics is the best but can get very complex.


How To Benefit From An Auto-tracking PTZ

Written By:
Monday, June 4th, 2012

How To Benefit From An Auto-tracking PTZSurveillance cameras have been in use for decades to deter crime and to capture video evidence to be used in the prosecution of crimes. However, criminals are aware of surveillance cameras and continually attempt to circumvent them, by various means. Taking advantage of human behavior is one way criminals avoid being filmed in a criminal act. Security guards and even homeowners cannot be everywhere at once. Therefore, many surveillance systems are unattended, in other words, the cameras videotape without the benefit of human analysis. The crimes and actions of others are being recorded and preserved, but the acts in some cases are only detected after the fact. However, new technology has once again caught up with the demand. New technology shows us how to benefit from an auto-tracking PTZ. PTZ is an acronym used to describe cameras that can pan, tilt and zoom.

Auto tracking is simply a camera’s ability to detect and focus on a particular object. Typically, the camera will have firmware installed that can be programmed to eliminate unnecessary recordings. You as an operator can program the camera to focus on and track objects of a particular size and shape such as humans, cars or even animals. Subsequently, you can eliminate any object based on size or shape. This is ideal when you want surveillance of foot traffic in or out of a building that is situated along a street because, you can program the camera not to record vehicles driving by.

How to Benefit From an Auto-Tracking PTZ

Less real time, monitoring is required when utilizing an auto-tracking camera. You can be assured the camera is capturing everything in its view that is considered relevant to the surveillance operation. Endless hours of editing have been eliminated, thus reducing labor costs. The cameras can be manually operated, as well, if the situation becomes fluid and additional coverage is required. Human operators can take over if the focus of the surveillance changes abruptly. Once the situation is under control, the camera will automatically go back to its programmed surveillance parameters.

Auto-tracking cameras eliminate the need for multiple cameras. Typically, when positioning cameras, security specialists take into account the range and angle of each camera. The specialists realize that while one camera is panning in one direction a dead spot can be created if another camera is not positioned to cover that area. To cover a large area would require multiple cameras. One auto-tracking camera can take the place of multiple cameras, while still providing the same coverage.

Traditional PTZ cameras, while highly effective, do have several weak points. Criminals, in some cases, can trick a motion-activated camera by tossing a ball or waving a branch to move the camera to a different field of view. Although flush mounted PTZ cameras are hard to avoid it can be accomplished with some effort. Auto tracking cameras can be programmed to ignore, small objects placed in their view. In other words, the camera cannot be tricked in moving its lens view to follow a ball or branch. It will however, begin tracking a human sized object, and will automatically focus its lens for the sharpest view, when properly programmed. Once a target has been acquired and the object meets the programmed parameters the camera will record and follow that object. Once a target is locked on, the camera can be programmed to send an alert to the operator, as well. Multiple auto tracking cameras with an alert capability can be monitored very effectively by one operator.

Traditional PTZ cameras many times have an alert system that notifies the operator when movement is detected. Subsequently, this leads to false triggers because, the camera cannot be programmed to ignore certain objects, such as swaying branches or blown debris. An operator once alerted must then monitor the cameras for the intrusion. This forces the operator to search for the cause of the alarm, taking up valuable time. Auto tracking cameras with programmable firmware only alert the operator when an object meets the pre-established requirements.

Where to locate An Auto-Tracking PTZ

In addition to its other features, many auto-tracking cameras can be programmed to ignore certain areas in its field of view. This ensures that the surveillance operation does not inadvertently record certain activities. For example, homeowners and businesses alike need to be aware that recording certain people or actions may be in violation of privacy laws. The cameras can be pre-set to avoid certain areas such as a neighbor’s home or property. Homeowners can position cameras to track an individual or vehicle as it enters their property. The auto focus can also capture license plate numbers if the cameras are used to monitor access in and out of a gated community. Businesses can use the cameras to monitor choke points in and out of their facility as well as loading docks, and parking lots. Access to most industrial complexes is in two stages. The first stage is where employees enter in their vehicles to park, and then they may be required to enter a screening area on foot. Cameras can be positioned to detect anyone enter the parking lot on foot while ignoring the vehicle traffic.

Complexes with a higher degree of security may have what is called a sally port. A sally port allows access from one side while securing total access by another barrier typically a fence. Once entered from one-side vehicles and individuals can be screened for any anomalies, before complete access is granted. Programmable cameras can be positioned to screen for such things as more than one person or vehicle entering at the same time. Certain model cameras also allow the operator to program distance, speed of an object, shape, level of zoom and size of the object. These features allow an operator to identify anything out of the ordinary, very quickly, without having to monitor multiple cameras. Humans carrying backpacks and even objects in their hands can trigger an alarm.

Secure areas in some cases do not allow objects to be carried in or out of the facility. In the past, each individual entering or leaving would need to be inspected by a security guard. Once the human size and shape is programmed, a briefcase or duffle bag or any object that interrupts that shape will trigger an alarm. This greatly increases efficiency and enhances the facility’s security. One security guard can now monitor multiple points where in the past each area required its own.

Auto-tracking cameras can estimate the size and distance of any object, which can greatly benefit homeowners. Owners can program their cameras to ignore small objects such as pets and alert the owners to the movement of their children. Perimeter cameras can ignore animals that enter the camera’s view and only focus on individuals and even vehicles. Ranchers can keep track of livestock without getting false triggers caused by smaller animals, as well. Several camera models are standalone systems that can be left in place for extended periods. The camera systems can communicate using cellular service to send emails and status updates. The cameras can be programmed to cover 360 degrees or only cover pre-established viewing angles.

Law enforcement has used surveillance cameras since the early 1970’s. The cameras main purpose when first introduced was to deter crime in public areas. The cameras also recorded criminals in the act, which aided in their identification and subsequent prosecution. With today’s technology, law enforcement can now conduct surveillance operations on a wider scale, while reducing the number of personnel needed. Certain so-called smart cameras can also identify individuals based on the color of their clothes, body size and many systems can be used in conjunction with facial recognition software, as well. Several models of auto-tracking cameras can be programmed to identify individuals in a crowd, and once identified, the camera will focus on and track the subject. These types of cameras can identify individuals even if they have attempted to disguise themselves. Studies have concluded that a person’s gait or style of walking is unique to them. This allows the cameras to identify individuals even when facial recognition is not feasible or possible.

How to Benefit From an Auto-Tracking PTZ If You Are a School or Day Care Center

Cameras that can be programmed to identify and focus on objects based on size and shape, are ideal for any institution that cares for children. Camera systems can be positioned to identify adult sized humans when they enter the premises. In this type of environment, it is recommended that you employ multiple cameras. One camera would be used to identify larger persons as they move about and another to keep track of the children. The cameras can also be used to monitor play areas, in particular outdoors. The perimeter of any playground is particularly important and there should be cameras positioned and programmed to alert the staff of anyone in the area. Auto-tracking cameras can be programmed to provide the size of an individual and the distance away, to help law enforcement, in any future investigation.

Schools can employ auto-tracking cameras to alert the staff about anyone entering the grounds and to help determine their size and if they may have a backpack on or are carrying an object in their hands. The camera’s parameters must be carefully programmed to prevent false alarms however. The cameras can also be set to ignore certain areas to maintain privacy. Keep in mind that blocking certain views may leave the institution vulnerable if becomes common knowledge. Once again, the perimeter is important when positioning security cameras. The cameras can be placed inside the building and even in individual rooms. The cameras can be used to alert staff about children wandering the hallways or of persons in areas that would normally be unoccupied.

Auto-tracking cameras will enhance any security protocol. The cameras can be used at night, as well as, in rooms without any light source at all. The systems can be wireless, or hardwired, and the number of cameras is determined by the equipment and security needs. Auto-tracking cameras can be used to enhance a current camera system without upgrading monitors or digital video.

Do not hesitate to ask any questions and contact us.


PTZ Security Cameras

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

Pan-Tilt-Zoom or PTZ security cameras can really extend the field of view of an otherwise stationary camera.  There are a variety of PTZ security cameras that can perform many functions in addition to PTZ perhaps making this camera the most versatile in application of all the different types of security cameras.   Security Camera King has a large selection of only the highest quality PTZ security cameras in the business.

A horizontal movement of a camera’s field of view (or direction of aim) is called a “Pan.”  Likewise, vertical movement of a camera’s field of view is called “Tilt.”  Using combinations of telephoto lens moving in and out to enlarge or shrink the field of view or magnify specific objects within the field of view is called “Zooming.”  A PTZ camera of course, can do all three of these actions.

Several years ago, a PTZ security camera was incredibly expensive; especially if it was the older analog type camera.  These cameras were often bullet or box type cameras that were mounted on electric motor operated pedestals to produce the movements necessary to pan or tilt.  They were often awkward, bulky, and bumpy in their movement.

Today’s modern digital video PTZ cameras are very light weight and move with incredible precision and fluidity.  They are much cheaper than their analog ancestors thanks to modern technological improvements in both electronic circuitry and mechanical design.  The majority of PTZ cameras on the market today are the dome type camera.  They can be mounted on the ceiling or on the wall using horizontal mounting brackets.

Regardless of whether the camera is mounted on the ceiling or the wall, the camera itself is oriented in a position that always puts the camera dome opposite the floor or ground.  In this position, the camera has the advantage of being able to pan around in a circle of 360 degrees and tilt in a full semi-sphere of 180 degrees or more.  If possible a ceiling mount or side mount on a pole is more desirable than a wall mount because providing there are no additional objects blocking the view of the camera, it has a greater total viewing area (not being blocked by a wall).

PTZ security cameras are controlled by any a variety of different methods.  They can be controlled using a PTZ controller board which has a joystick and push buttons or they can often be controlled by keyboard buttons alone. Each of Security Camera King’s featured DVR’s the Elite-Mini, Elite, and Ultimate series also offer’s a unique mouse PTZ control.  The camera movements can be controlled by clicking the camera’s view on the monitor screen and pointing and dragging the mouse.  The PTZ camera will follow the mouse’s movement.

In addition, PTZ security cameras can also be purchased with optional auto-tracking features.  Auto-tracking is a special function that enables the camera to detect motion, follow the object, and zoom in on the object automatically to provide the most advantageous view.  This feature is often used by security departments responsible for large retail parking lots or industrial employee parking lots to maintain security coverage in these areas.  When cars or individuals enter or move around the parking lot the camera can keep track of them every inch of the way.

Another common feature of PTZ security cameras is area specific preset patrol.  In this mode the camera is preset to patrol a specified area.  It can be set to track and follow in that specified area or when triggered can be set to pan, tilt, and/or zoom to a pre-determined specified area.

When choosing your PTZ security camera, make sure you purchase the appropriate type for the environment; cameras are either rated for use indoors or outdoors or both.  Next you’ll need to determine if you need the optional auto-tracking feature.

You will also need to determine the magnitude of the zoom function that you desire.  Generally, the greater the magnification of the zoom function, the more expensive the camera due to the precision lenses and electronic circuitry that are required to support it.  Lastly, you will need to determine what type of mount you’ll need for the camera.

Checkout Security Camera King’s full line of PTZ security cameras by clicking on  “Pan Tilt Security Cameras“.