Posts Tagged ‘ benefits of security cameras ’

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.



Wireless Video Surveillance Security System

Written By:
Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Miniature CamerasClosed circuit television systems are used just about anywhere you can think of as a way to help transmit the video signals into a specified area using a small amount of video monitors. Wireless systems are mainly used for the purpose of watching over various areas, such as an airport, office, casino, bank, convenience store and many other areas that attract a lot of public traffic.

These systems are normally used as a way to help prevent any crime and identify anyone in the area. Someone sitting in a surveillance room is responsible for monitoring all of the cameras to ensure nothing funny is going on around the property. Wireless systems can be used for a specified amount of time or on a continual loop. An advanced closed circuit system will often utilize a digital video recorder, but there are still individuals who like to utilize an analog camera because of the still photo options. Depending on what type of camera you are using, the images will be able to be saved to a hard drive or a DVD.

In 1942, the very first closed circuit television system was used. However, it was not used as a crime fighting apparatus until 1968. The wireless systems are now proving to be one of the best deterrents when it comes to fighting crime. They are utilized in numerous inside and outside locations around the clock. Some of the systems will even come equipped with a built-in device that allows them to communicate with an individual who is within a specified range of the surveillance camera.

Most of the modernized surveillance cameras are available in miniature models offering high-definition capabilities. They are able to focus on even the tiniest of details, and often times you will find them linked directly to a computer. Some of the modern type systems are able to identify an individual’s age simply looking at their pictures while others are able to identify the individual based upon their biometrics.

The systems are widely used as a way to monitor the flow of traffic and help send the desired information into a GPS system. They can be used as a way to spot any potential issues with the traffic, such as an accident or a jam. People who are worried about their safety when riding on a train or at the amusement park will no longer have to be concerned because these cameras will ensure their safety. Another great alternative is that they are able to monitor any luggage that may be left unattended at the transportation stations.

Some people believe that having one of these systems in place is essentially invading their privacy, but they are not going anywhere anytime soon. The systems have proven time and time again to be invaluable in today’s day and age, especially when it comes to all of the terrorist attacks that are happening around the world. They are extremely effective when it comes to monitoring the movement of a criminal or as an investigative aid.

Closed circuit television systems have been used for a number of different objectives over the years. Back in the beginning days of broadcasting, various television shows and live sporting events were broadcast through nothing more than a closed circuit television system. Often times you will find that they are used for filming a low budget show, but they can also catch some of those really embarrassing moments out on the streets.

There are numerous security companies that specialize in wireless closed circuit television systems, so you will be able to monitor your property around the clock, regardless of whether it is your home or your business. Systems are usually installed on your property and then you are required to pay a monthly premium to have a company monitor your surveillance system for you. You can choose from a variety of styles when it comes to camera type, as well as colors and sizes to meet your specifications. If you are purchasing a wireless system, you need to make sure you have read through all of the fine print on your contract. You might also want to make sure you have a warranty to go along with your system as a preventative measure.

For more information please contact us.


Security Systems for Businesses

Written By:
Monday, June 18th, 2012

benefits of security camerasWhen planning a security system for your business, you must acknowledge the differences between a residential and commercial setting. Although security is equally important in both situations, it is important to understand that different security measures must be taken in each situation.

Since a home is typically vacant during daylight hours but people are typically at home at night, the risk of theft is diminished to some degree. Businesses, however, are quite the opposite: They are full of activity during daylight hours, but they are typically left completely empty during the late hours of the evening. Since a lot of criminal activity takes place in the dark, it is important to protect your business during late night hours.

A security system is a must for any business, whether it is a small business with only a little bit of money and stock or a large business with safes that are filled with money and thousands or millions of dollars worth of stock and equipment. Although you will have to pay a bit up front in order to adequately protect your business from theft, purchasing a good security system is well worth the money.

Many people think that a security system simply refers to a burglar alarm, but this is not the case. However, a burglar alarm is a good first step when protecting your business. You should install alarms on all of your exterior doors, and you should consider putting them on any windows that could possibly be pried open. Instead of simply opting for a burglar alarm that emits a loud sound, you should make sure that your security system automatically calls the local police for the ultimate protection. Although loud alarms can scare a burglar away and can alert those who are nearby that something is amiss at your business, it is possible that a burglar can grab a few things on his way out, and it only takes a few minutes or even seconds for a thief to completely clean your entire shop out. Having the police on their way to your business from the moment that your alarm goes off can increase the chances of the thief being caught, which means that charges will be filed and your belongings will be returned.

Along with having a burglar alarm installed, it is also important to have plenty of security cameras installed all around your premises. Outdoor security cameras can be a lifesaver, so make sure that you use them liberally. Your entire parking lot should be adequately monitored by your security cameras, and all possible entrances from your building should also be covered by this footage.

Not only should you install outdoor security cameras, but you should also have plenty of surveillance cameras installed inside your business as well. Along with focusing on the outside of your doors, you should also have cameras pointed at your doors and windows from the inside. Make sure that any stock rooms or other rooms that store valuable items are monitored at all times, and keep heavy surveillance over your cash registers, safes and anywhere else that money is stored. The sight of these cameras might make a would-be thief change his mind, and he may turn around and head somewhere else instead of messing with your property. Even if your money or equipment are stolen, having several different angles and views of the robbery can be a big help for detectives and prosecutors in finding and convicting the criminal who has robbed your business.

Along with these basic components, you should consider employing other security measures. Keeping your parking lot well-lit is a good way to throw off would-be thieves, and installing motion lights near any doors and windows can be enough to spook off a would-be criminal. Make sure that you post plenty of signs that let wrongdoers know that you have a security system, and make sure that you let the police know about any suspicious activity that you spot or that you catch on your surveillance camera.

Although there are plenty of crafty and experienced thieves out there who will make an effort to burglarize your property no matter what measures you take, installing a good security system and employing good security habits can make a difference in the overall safety and security of your business. You can never be too careful in this day and age, so make sure that you take these necessary steps to protect your valuable business before something bad happens instead of after.

For further information please contact us.