Posts Tagged ‘ box camera’



A Beginner’s Visual Guide to Security Camera Features

Written By:
Monday, December 29th, 2014

The security camera market today is a quickly evolving field with a multitude of camera styles and features to choose from. For beginners, this can be initially confusing especially when looking to purchase a multi-camera system. What features are most important, or more to the point, what features will be most important for your security needs? This article will attempt to help illustrate some of these security camera features with the help of some demonstration videos and graphics to help give you a better idea what features to consider when purchasing a security camera system.

1) Video Resolution

resolution

One of the first and most important things to consider when selecting a security camera is the video resolution. Older cameras used standard definition analog resolution and many cameras still made today also use this format. Due to the older technology, analog cameras do tend to be less expensive and offer the ability to record for much longer time periods while using far less memory / hard drive space. But, analog cameras do lack the fine detail that high definition cameras have. Megapixel, or High-Definition recording, generates an image that is several times larger than analog, which allows them the capability to capture far greater detail, including faces, tattoos, and other minute details that could be important if the footage has to be later used as evidence.

The higher the megapixel value of the camera, the more detail you’ll be able to discern from the footage. Keep in mind, as the resolution size increases beyond 1080p, the maximum frame rate will decrease. This is because each frame rendered at an extremely high resolution uses exponentially more memory and network bandwidth to encode.

This video will give you an idea of how the different resolution sizes and frame rates compare to each other.

For instance, a 2 megapixel (1920 X 1080 pixels) high definition security camera can easily record at a full 30 frames per second, but a 5 megapixel (2560 X 1920 pixels) camera will max out at 12 frames per second. Note: Higher megapixel cameras can also be set to lower resolution settings, with higher frame rates, if necessary.

3 MP vs Analog
Side by Side – 3MP vs Analog cameras @ approx. 20 feet away, digitally zoomed on both to show detail

Camera resolution will also factor into how much hard drive space you’ll need to archive your footage. The higher the resolution, and the more cameras you install, the more hard drive space you’ll need inside your DVR. Fortunately, most DVRs have the capability to hold several hard drives for storage. An easy way to figure out exactly how much hard drive space you’ll need for any given number of cameras is by using our Online Hard Drive Calculator

CCTV hard drive calculator
Screenshot of the CCTV Hard Drive Calculator

2) Infrared Mode

Some security cameras have a built in ability to see in complete darkness using infrared light. The way this works is infrared lights that surround the camera lens send a strong beam of infrared light (which is invisible to the naked eye).

These infrared LEDs switch on automatically when the lights are turned off or when the sun goes down and not enough visible light is hitting the camera’s image sensor. Some of that infrared light beaming out of the camera bounces back when it hits an object and that residual infrared light is captured by the Infrared sensor, which is usually directly above the lens of the camera. IR images usually lack color, but allow small, important details to be seen clearly.

OD-LX700IR50-B

The higher the IR rating of the camera, the further it can see into the darkness. For instance, a camera with an IR of 50 can see 50 feet, an IR of 250 feet can see 250 feet, and so on. NOTE- Be careful not to install a camera too close to another object, especially when installing a PTZ with infrared lights. This can cause the camera’s IR sensor to flood and will end up washing out any detail.

3) Lenses – Fixed, Zoom and Interchangeable Lenses

Many security cameras have static, fixed wide angle lenses, and are only intended to be used to capture an overall view of the environment. Varifocal lens cameras have the ability to go from a wide angle to a closer shot, and can be sometimes be controlled though the interface of a DVR or NVR, through a web browser, and others. However, most varificol cameras have a manual zoom and focus that need to be adjusted at the camera.

varifocal manual zoom lens
Some varifocal cameras need to be manually zoomed and focused. These controls are usually found near the lens. On dome cameras, it’s usually necessary to remove the protective dome to access these controls.

Interchangeable Lenses

cctv camera lenses
Fixed Lens vs Interchangeable lenses.

There’s a style of security camera that uses external interchangeable lenses rather than built in lenses. These are called “Box Cameras”. The lenses for these cameras can be purchased separately and are screwed into the front port on the camera.

The advantage of these cameras is that they can allow for exceptional zoom capabilities when paired with certain lenses, but they must be zoomed and focused manually via control knobs on the side of the lens.

This style of camera is also designed to be installed inside an outdoor camera housing, which protects it from the weather and supplies a cooling mechanism, and has a port for power.

camera housing article graphic
Box cameras can be easily added to a protective housing for outdoor use.

4) Pan-Tilt-Zoom

If you need to record an area where on-the-fly camera movement will be a necessity, and you don’t want the hassle of having to manually adjust, zoom and focus the camera, then a Pan tilt zoom camera is the best option. These cameras are typically rather large, so if you’re looking for a small, easily hidden camera, they may not be the best option. But, in terms of overall breadth features, Pan-Tilt-Zoom cameras (or PTZ’s) are truly state-of-the-art.

Here’s an example of a PTZ camera in action.

Due to their range of movement (which typically 360 degrees horizontally and 90 degrees vertically), PTZ cameras have an ability other security cameras are incapable of, such as the ability to detect and track movement.

Parameters can be created within the interface of your NVR such as a virtual trip wire drawn within the software in front of a doorway, as an example. When that invisible line is crossed, the camera will follow that movement until the person or object goes out of frame.

virtual tripwire
A user can create a virtual tripwire, so anything that crosses the line causes the camera to start tracking that moving object.

Additionally, parameters can be set to tell the camera what movement or areas within the camera’s view to ignore while it’s tracking movement, such as windblown trees, clouds, or small objects such as birds. All of these might trigger the camera to start tracking otherwise.

You can also set a PTZ to look around a given area on a predetermined scan cycle, and these cameras typically come with several of these cycles pre-programmed into the camera itself.

5) Wired versus Wireless

Many people have asked us why we cannot recommend a wireless security camera. The answer is simply that the battery technology needed to make wireless security cameras viable isn’t quite there yet. Cameras need a constant, reliable source of power, and there hasn’t yet been a battery designed that can run a security camera for days or weeks on end. So, for the foreseeable future, wired security cameras will be the standard.

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What is the Best Security Camera Type?

Written By:
Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Security cameras are made and used on a daily bases for a number of reasons. They can be used anywhere from gas stations to military personnel vehicles. Specifically, security cameras are used to view or record any person, place, or thing without being there in person. There are many different types and styles of cameras and they are all used in different settings. Learning about the different types of security cameras available can give you the upper hand when needed for a specific task or location. Deciding which is the best security camera for you will depend on your situation.

Types of Security Cameras

There are many types of security cameras in the security world today. They all fall into a few main categories including Analog, Network IP, and HD-CVI. Even though it might not sound like much, each side offers many different options and capabilities which can affect camera quality and your wallet. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type and overall get the job done.

Styles of Cameras

Cameras come in many different shapes and sizes and, depending on where you place them, can give you better understanding of what you will need.

Box Cameras

Box Security Camera

Box cameras are very customizable and offer many different lenses sizes. You can either have them mounted as is, or you can put them in a case called a box, hence the name. Box cameras are also capable of being mounted in extreme weather because some of their boxes have heaters and blowers built in. Most box cameras are dual voltage and have the capability to support alarms and strobes connected. Downsides are they are bulky and require more experience for setup and installation.

Bullet Cameras

800 TVL Bullet Security Camera

Bullets are also a great choice because they have a greater viewing angle then most other cameras. Bullets can also have larger range of different lenses built in so you can zoom in close on a shot or have a wider viewing angle. The downside is they are not vandal proof and very noticeable.

Dome Cameras

700 TVL Vandal Dome Security Camera

The most common camera used is the dome. Domes can be used in many different locations and can take a punch or two. Domes have wide viewing angles for greater versatility. They are also more discreet, when it comes to hiding your cameras, then when it comes to a bullet. They also can take a couple of hits because of their robust structure.

PTZ Cameras

700 TVL PTZ Security Camera

PTZ’s can give you more coverage than a conventional pre-positioned camera. P-T-Z (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) cameras are made for you to control the camera so you can see what’s happening even if it moves out of your typical viewing area. Some PTZ’s can also track objects or people so you don’t have to move it yourself. Downside is that they can be pricy and bulky.

Hidden Cameras

Hidden Mirror Camera

Hidden cameras are made for you to know where they are but no other person will. They can be just about anything: clocks, smoke alarms, phones, mirrors, and many others. Disadvantages are they typically can’t see or record very well at night.

License Plate Cameras

License Plate Camera

License plate cameras are built to capture a license plate at high speeds. These cameras are used for highways, entry gates, business, parking garages, and more. They offer advanced technologies that allow you to focus on the license plate in light or dark conditions.

Thermal Cameras

Thermal Imaging Camera

Thermal cameras are designed to allow you to see heat signatures in any light setting. This can help you distinguish differences between important and non-important things during motion detection. For example, branches blowing in the wind and a person walking. This may not give you the best image but it can trigger a separate camera to record the situation.

What is IR?

There are also other features that security cameras can have. Cameras can be indoor or outdoor depending on the camera. Some Cameras come with IR (Infrared Technology) that allows them to see at night. IR is a light that is invisible to us but is like a flood light for a camera. IR is usually built onto the cameras themselves, but can also be placed separately for cameras that have the capability to view the light. The style of camera can give you your best view and placement for anywhere they need to be.

What is IR

Analog Cameras

Analog cameras have been used for many years and have done its job very well. The way that it works is by the type of signal it sends to its receiving end. It sends an analog picture of what it views and it can either record by tape or by digitally converting it to record on a hard drive. The old way would be the tape, but now we have either a computer with a card that receives the signal and converts it to be stored on a hard drive or a standalone unit called a DVR that does the same thing, just without using your personal computer. DVRs are recommended because they can be hidden and require half the power (electrical and processor). Over the years, analog cameras have improved profusely by increasing frame rates and quality of resolution. The latest technology for analog cameras is called HD-CVI. This is an analog technology that allows you to record 720p-1080p resolution.

Network IP Cameras

Network IP Cameras are starting to become more affordable and practical for business and homes. Network IP cameras are cameras that function all on their own and don’t require any standalone unit to view and in some cases record. The way they work is through your new or existing network and is given a IP address (Internet Protocol) which allows it to be accessed through your network for viewing or recording purposes. Network IP cameras can be controlled also through a web based program for initial set-up and to adjust and control the camera like a PTZ. IP cameras are also usually in High Definition. They can record as high as 10MP (Megapixels) in resolution but average cameras record at 1080p. Megapixel is one million pixels in a specific image, so 2MP is similar to 1080p. The downside to using Network IP cameras is they run through your network to be viewed and/or recorded. This is a problem if you have a lot of cameras or if your cameras are recording in 1080p or above. Networks can only handle a set amount of send and receive data before bogging down. This drag increases when you are recording and viewing simultaneously inside your network and out. There are ways to overcome this problem by either getting a managed switch or making separate networks for specific amounts of cameras.

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Fake Security Cameras

Written By:
Monday, March 5th, 2012

Deception, as far as security is concerned, plays an important role. Militaries have been deceiving opposing armies for centuries. Pioneers making their way west would routinely place gun barrels out the sides of the Conestoga wagons. This gave the appearance of multiple armed pioneers, when in fact no one was behind the rifle barrels. Bands of marauders, not knowing for sure, would not attack for fear of losing the battle and their lives. Wooden cannons made to appear as if real would be placed on battlefields. The opposing army many times would hesitate, and make a graceful exit from the field of battle. Using fake security cameras employs the same principles of deception that has been used for years.

Creating Doubt

Simply giving a criminal a moment of hesitation can be enough to cause them to move on. The deception must be well staged however. Spotting a camera invokes a visceral reaction in criminals and others up to no good. People that have committed crimes, and ones thinking about it, many times suspect others may be aware of their transgressions. Many call it a guilty conscience. However, it is not guilt from doing wrong. It is fear of being caught. Criminals when they see a camera lens staring at them as they make their way to a window or back door will stop. They immediately wonder if they have been spotted. They also wonder if the camera is high quality enough to identify them in the dark. Most will make a quick exit from the property.

The Ideal Fake Security Camera Is Real Except For

High quality fake cameras are real cameras without the electronic components. The housing is real and the cables are in their proper places. Ideally, you want one that has a red recording light and motion activation. The camera will come equipped with a battery pack that operates the motion sensor and recording light. However, placing a motion activated fake camera in a high traffic area will quickly deplete the battery. For the most part, homes would not have this type of activity. Businesses employing decoys would need to consider this when placing the cameras.

Make It Look Real and People Will Assume It Is Real

Placement and having the correct camera in the right spot is important. The cameras located outside need to be obviously designated for outdoor use. Criminals paying attention might begin to wonder. Use dome cameras at the front door. Real dome cameras conceal where the lens is pointed. People expect to see this type of camera at entrances. They also provide 360 degrees of coverage, and are tamper proof. Cameras placed with no obvious target area will raise questions about their effectiveness. Also, ensure the camera lens is not pointed at the ground, the sides of the structure or pointed straight up.

Play Your Part Well and Others Will Play Theirs

You can call placing fake security cameras a process of elimination. Would be burglars that are serious about maintaining their freedom will make on the spot assessments. Simply by driving by a potential target, a burglar will eliminate that house as a target, if security measures are obvious. The potential payoff is calculated by assessing risk. Like any professional contractor, the cost of the job is estimated by the amount of effort that must be put forward. A plumber, for example, will lose profit if they misjudge the effort and materials needed. A criminal that does this loses their freedom. Your part as a homeowner is to ensure the cameras always have fully charged batteries to operate the motion sensors and lights. Use widow decals and yard signs to warn of video surveillance.

Many Crimes are Crimes of Opportunity

Fake cameras are not just for the exterior of the home or business. You may have simply assumed that an intruder will never see the inside of the home if they leave after spotting cameras around the exterior. As a homeowner, stop and calculate how many people beside family members have been inside your home over the course of days, weeks or even months.

The cable installer is all over the home, they are in the basement, attic and every room inside. They are not professional criminals however. The large screen television or the new laptop may be more appealing than their sense of right or wrong. They overhear a conversation and realize the home will be vacant at a certain time. They plan and they decide to supplement their wages. Then they spot the camera mounted high in the corner with blinking red lights. It is a motion activated one. You as a homeowner have just thwarted a crime.

This is a prime example of why the cameras must be installed as if real. The cable installer, an electrician or any contractor has more mechanical knowledge than the average person does. You may think well they can spot a fake. They can if the fake camera is not installed properly. Quality fake cameras have real cables attached and many even come with AC adapters for use with household current. Mount the cameras in logical places and plug them in if applicable. Make sure the cables are run into the wall if they need to be. Criminals are aware of wireless cameras so the fact that cables are not protruding everywhere does not raise any questions.

However, they may look for a receiver. Make a point to keep the office locked when workers are present, if they need access be there to keep them from looking to closely at things. Have a file cabinet and keep it locked even if it is empty. Locked doors and secured cabinets all maintain the illusion. Individuals see the cameras and then find doors and file drawers locked they soon put the pieces together. This is doing your part as a security conscience homeowner. They have no idea if the receiver is in there. Unless they have access to your computer, they cannot tell if it is the receiver either. This is not to say that professional contractors are dishonest. The truth is many break-ins are done by individuals that have been in the home before, in some cases, more than once.

By no means, is any statement meant to indicate, or give the impression cable installers or any professional contractor is dishonest. The statement is simply to illustrate how many people may have been in a home over a certain period.

You may be thinking that if all of this has to be done why not just go ahead and install real ones. The cost is the reason why. Budgetary constraints are a major factor. The steps you take to maintain the illusion cost you little in dollars. The payoff however, is well worth the effort. The material costs are just a small percentage when compared to having real cameras professionally installed and monitored.

To maintain the deception, it is wise to install the fake security cameras yourself. The local contractor unwittingly may tell their colleagues or partner. Security is about keeping secrets. For example, armored car drivers never use the same route twice in succession. Their manifest will never have an inventory of contents. It is all about maintaining a security profile. The unknown will make intruders move on to the next house.

Criminals Do Not Want To Work Hard So They Spend Time Looking For Easy Targets

Your home says a lot about you, how it is maintained, what the lawn looks like and so forth. Cameras tell intruders you are paying attention. Fake Security CamerasThieves look for people who appear unaware of their surroundings. Toys or tools strewn about the driveway and yard tell people you may not be paying attention. Lack of obvious security is an open invitation. You have heard the term keeping up appearances. It applies to your security profile, as well.

An expensive looking surveillance system loses some of its impact when someone sees a cheaply constructed hollow core front door. The lock is not effective and easily defeated. The home profile as a whole must indicate you are aware of things, and are pro-active when it comes to security.

You have worked hard for your possessions and your family’s safety is the number one priority. It requires some effort to install fake security cameras and you must apply all the window dressing to go along with it. However, by not doing so you have set yourself up for an intrusion. Do not install cameras in trees with no obvious means of power where leaves and branches block the lens. This tells everyone you have thought about security but have only put a half-hearted effort into it. Tinkering around the edges when it comes to security is obvious to criminals. The efforts send a signal you are not serious, and frankly may not have a clue.

Like a Good Lie Good Deception Mixes In the Truth

Professional bodyguards put tremendous effort into deception. They mix the real in with the fake. When driving their client to and from places they use several cars all the same make and model. No one knows which vehicle to target. Anyone with ill intent is confused, overwhelmed and the majority of the time will give up any attempt.

Unlike money, you can have too many cameras, in some instances. Large estates are expected to have cameras in specific locations. Cameras would be mounted at the gatehouse or covering an entrance gate. The cameras would be mounted to screen visitors or capture vehicle license plates. Anyone would expect a large number of cameras to be present. There would be several covering the perimeter, the backyard, pool area and driveway. The cameras even if fake will still give the correct impression. However, having a large number of expensive looking cameras located around a modest dwelling can send the wrong signal.

It is perfectly acceptable to mix fake security cameras in with real ones that capture and record images. Many homeowners want a real camera to be able to see who may be at the front door. However, they realize most burglars gain access from back doors, upstairs windows and so forth. Decoy cameras can be placed in among real ones to increase your home’s security. Once again, place them in logical locations. One must cover the backyard and any doors or windows where anyone could gain entry. Homes having security gates at the end of their driveway would want one there, as well. These are logical locations and no one would question their position.

Parents regardless of economics want a camera to be able to monitor their child’s care while with a babysitter. They have prioritized, and placed the camera where they foresee the highest risk. In this case, fake cameras can be used in other areas of the home for the babysitter’s benefit. The babysitter has in all likelihood, determined the nanny cam is real. Therefore, others mounted high in the corners of certain rooms will be real to them, as well. This goes back to keeping honest people honest. Let them know you are paying attention and aware.

Prevention is the motivation behind fake security cameras. Let people know up front you are watching. No one wants to take the chance of being recorded committing a criminal act or even a very dumb act. Workers in your home when you are away may decide to help themselves to leftovers in the refrigerator. Seeing cameras mounted will stop this type of activity. Nosy neighbors will not snoop while your back is turned. This brings up another point. Do not tell your friends and neighbors. Once you tell a secret, it of course, is no longer a secret.

Part of good deception is being mysterious about certain things. You must be closed mouthed about your security measures. When people are not sure they hesitate, and many times will not follow through with what they intended. You must maintain appearances to have the proper security profile that will protect your family and possessions.

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Home Security Video Camera

Written By:
Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

In the not too distant past, home security video cameras were only for the rich and famous.  Technological advancements and becoming digital has now made home security video cameras so economically priced that there is a system available for just about any budget.

Security Camera King features a great selection of home security video camera systems.  They offer four different Digital Video Recorder (DVR) based systems:

  1. Elite-Mini Economy Series – Don’t let “mini economy” fool you.  This system comes with a full array of features and uses the latest CODEC (COmpression/DECompression utility) H.264.  The unit is accessible from smartphones such as the Iphone, Nokia, Android, Blackberry, etc.  This unit is lacking a PTZ control connection and there is no HDMI video output.
  1. Elite Mini DVR – The home video security cameras used for this system are all run on the H.264 CODEC the latest and most efficient CODEC available today.   The DVR has the ability to house one Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and a USB connection for downloading videos.  It has many of the features of our full-sized Elite DVRs but does not support a CD/DVD burner.
  1. Elite DVR – This is a full-feature packed Enterprise level H.264 real-time DVR.   The DVR supports multiple hard disk drives for extended storage times and also has room for a CD/DVD burner.  This system is installed by many high end security companies that seek a quality based security system.
  1. Ultimate DVR – This system is called the “Ultimate” because there is no better word to describe it.  This unit is not just for commercial purposes but makes for a very high end super-quality home security video camera system.  The DVR records in real-time video at 4 times the resolution of any other standalone DVR available anywhere in the industry.  In addition, the DVR can record D1 quality video in real time on all channels!  We feel that Ultimate Series DVR System has the best quality DVR in the industry.

So now that you know there are four different types of DVRs (and basically four different types of systems) available from Security Camera King you should have no problem picking the system that is right for you.  In addition any camera that we sell will work with these systems so if there is a particular home security video camera that you are looking for, chances are we have it and you can include it in your bundle package when purchasing your system.

Security Camera King offers many different types of home security video cameras.  We offer box security cameras, bullet security cameras, indoor dome security cameras, fake security cameras, vandal proof dome security cameras (which come as a standard item when purchased with a system bundle), Pan-Tilt-Zoom or PTZ cameras, Network IP security Cameras, Explosion Proof Security Cameras, and hidden cameras.

Realistically speaking, probably the most common indoor home security video camera is the dome camera.  They are small, unobtrusive, and easy to install and produce great high-quality video images.  Many are made as indoor/outdoor models.  As a matter of fact, all of the bundled systems that Security Camera King offers for sale except the Ultimate bundle, include the 420 TVL Indoor/Outdoor Vandal Resistant Dome Camera Product#OD-LX420IR50 (The Ultimate system offers the same type of camera but with a greater resolution and offers the 550 TVL Indoor/Outdoor Vandal Resistant Dome Home Security Video Camera Product# OD-LX550IR50).

Of the cameras mentioned above, those most likely to be used as home Security Video Cameras are the box cameras, the bullet cameras, and the dome cameras.

Box cameras are indoor cameras unless a separate weatherproof housing is purchased for them.  However, for inside coverage, depending on the size and decor of the rooms, they may be a bit large and stick out too much.

Bullet cameras make excellent outdoor home security video cameras because they already come with a weatherproof housing, and most come with their own InfraRed Light Emitting Diodes to record video in total darkness under infrared conditions.

The dome camera seems to be the most versatile camera as far as home security video cameras are concerned.   They have many additional features and one can purchase cameras with just about any kind of additional function.

So, if your “in the market” for a home security video camera system, contact one of our security experts via “Live Chat” or telephone.  We love to help!

 

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Bullet Security Camera

Written By:
Friday, September 2nd, 2011

There are basically three types of digital video cameras:  1) The dome camera; 2) The box camera; and, the bullet security camera.  In this article we are going to focus our attention on the bullet security camera.

The bullet camera is versatile in its own way as a matter of function of how it is made.  In other words, there are some features on bullet security camera that are definitely beneficial that come as standard on bullet cameras that may require extra charges to have on other type cameras.

For example, just about every bullet security camera is indoor/outdoor; no special housing is required as it comes already housed.  This is a money saving feature compared to a box camera which requires that you buy a separate housing.  Many bullet cameras are set up for infrared video imagery and that includes the InfraRed Light Emitting Diodes or IR LEDs placed in an array around the lens; again standard feature for a bullet camera.

One downside to a bullet camera is that they are not vandal proof.  That is, they can easily be repositioned, so you must consider at what height and location you’ll want to install the bullet security camera.

Security Camera King has a wide range of bullet security cameras from 420 TVL to a whopping 700 TVL that provides the industry ultimate in resolution.  These cameras are normally encased in a metal housing (usually aluminum), come with their own board lens (factory installed and fixed to the circuit board), are infrared ready, and usually have anywhere from a few to 23 or more IR LEDs scattered in an array around the lens.

We have a total of eight bullet security cameras on our bullet camera page.

As you can see there is a wide range of bullet security cameras to choose from at outstandingly low prices.  These cameras are pretty versatile when you consider the features and options that are available.  The cameras are all weatherproof but they are all indoor cameras as well.

If you are interested in purchasing a bullet security Camera or need more information about it, contact one of our security experts today via “Live Chat” or telephone at 866-573-8878 Monday through Friday from 9AM until 6PM EST.

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