Posts Tagged ‘ CCTV cameras’



Video Surveillance – Why is it important to have a CCTV system?

Written By:
Tuesday, June 24th, 2014
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First thing to decide is what do you want to accomplish with your CCTV system. There are many reasons to consider a camera system, but what is your primary desire? If it is watching over your home, you need to concentrate on the perimeter, meaning you will need high resolution cameras that will work day and night. A good idea is to watch the approaches, driveway, outdoor storage areas. Have a boat stored? Put a camera on it. There are many reasons to own a CCTV system.

If you want protection for your store, you will need to decide where your important areas are. Obviously, entry and exit points. You will want to watch over high value, easily-lifted products with a sharp focus lens. Cash register area should have an overview camera and a camera on the cash register. Liquor storage area needs special attention. Coolers seem to draw problem employees for extended, unseen break times. They tend to eat up your food there, too. Beer missing? You will quickly find out who and when. High value food products have a bad habit of disappearing out the back door. Put a camera outside that back door. It is always suggested to install a camera in the manager’s office, just to make sure he really is working and not watching porn or other unsavory things when he really has better things to do. Being able to watch delivery men can be very worthwhile, as there is a good chance you are being cheated by them. Have you had a slip and fall yet? A properly laid out system can make sure that you will be able to spot a fake accident when it happens. There is nothing better than being able to say “We have it on video!!” Generally a very good idea to be able to watch over the parking area. Seeing a guy walking up with a hoodie over his face? Get ready! Have a customer come in and scream that somebody backed into her car? You will see who is really at fault. Just having the ability to observe all activity will give peace of mind.

Have an industrial facility? Applications for a camera system are numerous. Watch over dangerous work areas, so you can make sure all rules are being obeyed. Problems with employees sneaking out to smoke weed? You can stop that. Valuable tools and parts missing? Stop that, too. Somebody made a mess out of the workplace? Call them in and tell them to go clean it up. Chances are that everybody in there will know about the counseling and will realize that you really are watching them. Powerful tool. Lazy employees will hate being watched and caught. But, you can talk to them about their bad habits, and hopefully get them to change their ways. If not, termination can be done without repercussions. Again, having it on video works very well. At times, an employee will clock out for a buddy. That is costing you money. A camera at the time clock area will make them not want to take the chance of getting caught. Applications for a camera system in these facilities are all over the place. Also consider that you will have the ability to watch over thing even when you are not there. All of our video systems give you the ability to look in even if you are on the other side of the world, via computer, smart phone, or tablet.

Have a car dealership? Wow, you really need a good system. Properly placed cameras can spot a theft before it even happens, and if being watched from a monitoring facility, authorities can be dispatched quickly and to exactly the right place. This also allows for a scaled response. Cops really like to know what to expect when they arrive on site. How much lot damage do you get? It would really be nice to be able to establish responsibility for that dented Mercedes. Do your sales people respond properly to walk-ins or do they attack like a pack of wolves? Or worse yet, NOT respond. Observe and counsel. Stolen tools are a real pain. A tech needs his tools, he pays for them, when they go missing, he can’t get his work done. If everybody knows that they can’t get away with it, even when Joe leaves that Snap-On torque wrench out. It will still be there when he comes back. Is someone stocking up their home office with your supplies? Stop that. Lunch room shenanigans? Nope, not now. How much aggravation does a lunch thief cause? Too much.

These very different applications call for different solutions. It is important to think over what you want out of a system, and then call us. Our staff has many years of experience, including installation and service. Quality of video products has improved greatly in the past few years. We now feature true high definition cameras that deliver megapixel resolution at pricing very close to the old style analog cameras. Response from our dealers has been phenomenal. Keep in mind that when you deal with Security Camera King you are not just getting a box of parts. You are getting Brad, Chuck, Dan, Zeke and a bunch more really talented experts in the field. On our website, check out the customer reviews of the products. Almost every one will say something about the support that they got in the purchase experience. Whether you have a simple shop or a 200,000 SF warehouse, we can, and will, assist you in making the proper equipment choice. We consider a security system to be an investment, not just an expensive toy. We will make sure that you make an intelligent investment choice, and then we will stand behind your system. You will get our superb tech support when you do your install, and for as long as you have the system. This service includes helping you with the more challenging parts, where our techs will remotely access your system and make whatever adjustments needed, and for as long as you have the system. That level of service is unheard of in our industry.

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CCTV Cameras

Written By:
Friday, January 13th, 2012

CCTV cameras are made in a variety of types and for a wide range of uses. Complicating the selection of cameras more are the variety of technologies within each category type.

In order to understand the range of cameras available to the general market, and useful for ordinary consumer applications, this article is divided into three sections: camera types, lenses, and technology types.

For readers who are new to the topic of CCTV, mention should be made of the term. The term is an acronym for “closed-circuit television.” Other terms are used interchangeably that mean virtually the same thing: “security camera,” “surveillance camera,” “spy camera,” and “video camera.” There are some nuances in the meanings, perhaps, but they are very minor. There is no intention in this article to differentiate between them.

Camera Types

Types are basically a reference to the camera body style. There are three basic types for ordinary use: box cameras, dome cameras, and bullet cameras. There is an additional type called a “board camera,” getting its name from the fact that it attaches directly to a circuit board, without a body. They are used in applications such as ATM machines and not for everyday consumer applications; therefore, the discussion will be limited to the three main camera body types listed above.

Box Cameras

The camera body of a box camera, as the name suggests, is in the shape of a box. The camera and lenses are normally bought separately. As they do in a still camera, the lenses are attached to the body and are easily changed if the application requires it.

Box cameras are known for giving high quality images, and with some of the higher specifications, the box cameras are often preferred in low light conditions.

The camera body and lenses for box cameras are more vulnerable to weather conditions and vandalism when mounted unprotected. The body of the box camera is not designed to withstand the elements, making it necessary to enclose the camera in weatherproof and vandal resistant housings.

Housings are designed to protect the camera, and the housing itself has some available features that make them a desirable choice. Some housings come with a heater/blower function that protects the camera from freezing temperatures and ice. The housings come with ratings from NEMA, the National Electronics Manufacturers Association, to give consumers guidance on selecting the best housing for the application.

Box cameras are versatile because of the ease with which the lenses are interchangeable, and the choices that can be made with housings. With the additional advantage of having some of the best specifications in the market, box cameras are still preferred by many users of security cameras.

Dome Cameras

The dome camera is the one commonly seen in public buildings. They are easily spotted because of their dome shape, often with a blue or gray tinted cover. They can be mounted on walls as well as ceilings, and with the proper housing and mounts, they can be mounted as a pendant or on poles.

Unlike the box camera type, dome cameras come in one piece. The lens is internal to the camera body. Though several choices of lenses are available, normally a dome camera’s lens is not changed once it is purchased and mounted. When buying a dome camera, it is important to know the range of distance that the camera will be watching, the lighting conditions, and any other dynamics that exist in the application. Changing lenses on a dome camera is impractical.

In the lens discussion below, there will be more said about the types of lenses. For the current discussion, however, let it be known that the lenses, though internal to the dome camera, should be adjusted and tested while installing. Removing the cover is required, and it is accomplished easily. Changing the lens is difficult and impractical, not the adjustment of the lens.

Bullet Cameras

Another common body type for cameras is the bullet camera. These are cameras that come with the lens already installed, as in dome cameras, and they are already shrouded with an external housing.

Bullet cameras are most often seen in outdoor applications such as building perimeters, light poles, public gathering areas, concourses, and many other areas that are susceptible to weather and vandalism.

Lens choices for bullet cameras are generally the same as with box and dome cameras, and they are most always accompanied with infrared LEDs to give a reddish light in total darkness so the camera can see in the dark.

Quick Word About Infrared (IR) Options vs. Day/Night (DN) Cameras

Infrared LEDs are common, either in cameras or external housings, in most camera types. Buyers should be aware, however, that in many cases, in low light conditions, a day/night camera is preferable to an IR (infrared) camera. The day/night cameras on the market, especially in box cameras, often capture better images than infrared in low light conditions.

Why is this? Infrared LEDs are triggered by darkness. The lens in IR cameras is usually not capable of seeing in low light conditions. If the ambient light is bright enough, as it often is, even though the buyer thinks it is a dark condition, the IR LEDs may not be triggered, or may be ineffective. In total darkness, however, when there is no ambient light, such as moonlight or street lamps, infrared cameras are the best choice. Again, knowing the conditions is vital to making the right choice.

Lenses

There are many specifications for lenses that may make one a better choice than others, but generally speaking, there are just a few basic lenses that need to be discussed here.

Varifocal or Fixed Lens

A fixed lens has only one focal length, which means that the lens is fixed on one space, with no capacity for adjusting the focus. If the optimal distance for a certain lens is to focus on ten feet away from the camera, it will see the ten feet distance very well. However, the further away from the ten feet distance the view gets, whether it is seven or thirteen, nearer or closer, the lens loses its focus.

A varifocal lens is one that can be adjusted within a certain range. It has a variable focal length. Do not be confused with the zoom function, which is discussed next, because it does not change on the fly. It simply means that the lens can be adjusted at the time of installation within a range of settings to accommodate variable distances.

The advantage of the varifocal lens is that a person can choose cameras that are uniform in appearance and function while still having the flexibility to focus each one for its own particular application. Having the focal length adjustment available keeps the buyer from having to replace a camera if the distances are different from what they had planned. There is so little cost difference between the two types of lenses, it is impractical not to use varifocal camera lenses.

Zoom Function

Some lenses come with a zoom function that is controllable from a keyboard by an operator. It allows the operator to zoom in, or to bring an image closer, for a better look. The zoom function for camera lenses operates within the limitations of its designs. If it is a 10x optical zoom, for instance, it means the lens can be zoomed in at ten times the magnification of its basic position. If the focal length is 5mm, the zoom feature on a 10x zoom lens could zoom in to a 50mm range, giving a narrower field, but presenting a larger image for inspection.

Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ)

PTZ cameras are the thoroughbred of the industry. Combining the zoom function with the ability to pan (side-to-side movement), and tilt (up and down movement), the PTZ offers maximum versatility in application.

Normally, the PTZ cameras are housed in domes, though they are typically larger than standard dome cameras.

A PTZ camera comes with a higher price, but it comes with a much higher better versatility. A PTZ camera is an excellent tool for watching large areas, such as parking lots, stadiums, junctions of major concourses within a building.

A PTZ controller is operated from a keyboard or joystick, and through the system software, an operator can switch among PTZs to control one, and then another, camera very quickly.

Another feature worth mentioning here is the auto-tracking function of some PTZ cameras. This is a setting that allows the user to set the PTZ function on automatic so that if a movement takes place within the camera’s view, the camera will track the movement, zoom in, and watch the movement until it is complete. It is a little more complicated than this, however, because a second movement, such as a car traveling in an opposite direction from another, may cause the auto-tracking feature to change over and watch the wrong car. Again, buyers should be cautious in selecting the additional functions. In most cases, there are downsides to making the wrong selection.

Technology Types

There are two basic types of technology that are used in the processing, or encoding, of images: analog, and IP (Internet protocol).

Analog Cameras

Analog is the tried and true technology that has been around since video cameras have existed. In the CCTV world, analog technology is used to transmit captured video footage to a digital video recorder (DVR) that encodes the captured images into digital format for viewing.

Analog cameras do not themselves encode, or digitize, the images. This work is done by the DVR, or a computer based DVR capture card.

IP Cameras

The IP camera is a newer generation of security cameras. Offering higher resolutions of 1, 3, or 5 megapixels, or even higher, many companies promote IP cameras as if analog technology will eventually go away. As a side note, high-definition (HD) technology in analog varieties is making analog very attractive still, primarily because of legacy issues and costs.

In the IP camera, the encoding is done at the camera. In other words, the image is digitized as it appears in the lens, before it is passed along to the network video recorder (NVR) where it is decoded for viewing.

One of the biggest advantages of IP cameras is that they can be implemented wherever a network already exists. There are downsides, however. Unless the bandwidth is large enough to handle the constant feeding of several IP cameras, a network can be slowed down considerably, causing a larger investment in infrastructure to be necessary. Bandwidth can be managed, however, by setting cameras only to show footage when certain triggering events take place.

A Misconception

One common misconception about choosing between IP and analog cameras is the notion that remote access, or viewing, is only possible by using IP cameras. This is simply not true.

Confusion exists on the issue because of the term “IP” and its common use in network jargon. Both IP and analog are capable technologies for offering remote viewing. The IP address of a DVR (analog) allows remote access so that cameras can be viewed over the DVR. IP cameras can be viewed remotely by going directly to an assigned IP address for the camera; however, in many cases, even in IP technology, it is more advantageous to go through the video management software at the NVR so more control can be gained.

Other Considerations

Wireless cameras are available for special needs. There are still infrastructure costs for transmitters and receivers, even though wiring is eliminated to the camera. Practicality is still a concern, and the application will dictate whether wireless is the answer.

Explosion-proof cameras are often brought into the CCTV discussion as well. One misconception about these cameras is that they will not explode if something like a plant explosion occurs. This is a misunderstanding. The meaning of “explosion-proof” is that the camera will not explode in special environments where gases might penetrate other types of housing and set off an explosion within the electronics of the camera. It does not mean the camera will survive a bomb. Explosion-proof cameras are, in essence, a tag placed on the types of housings, rather than the camera inside them.

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Video Surveillance Cameras

Written By:
Monday, March 21st, 2011

Today’s video surveillance cameras have made “leaps and bounds” in technological improvements compared to the cameras from just 10 to 15 years ago.  Not only that, but the camera’s prices have steadily decreased with the increase in technology.  All of this has lead to video surveillance cameras becoming a “household word” for family protection and safety as well as business protection and workplace documentation.

Original video surveillance cameras were based on analog signals.  These systems and components of the systems were often referred to as CCTV or Closed Circuit TeleVision.  CCTV was so named because although it closely resembled a typical television studio system, there was one major important difference.

Studio television cameras’ video signals were boosted by the broadcast station and sent via radio frequency via a large antenna.  Once the signal left the broadcast antenna, anyone with a receiver could pick up the signal.  Video surveillance cameras however, sent their signal along a cable, directly to a specific monitor and recording device.  In this respect, the system was a “Closed Circuit Television” system.  In fact, any system used for monitoring, surveillance, or security in this manner was referred to as a CCTV system.

Today, video surveillance cameras still operate on a CCTV based system, but to be accurate, we must redefine CCTV to make it somewhat looser in application.  Although modern digital video surveillance cameras also transmit their video signals via a cable to a Digital Video Recorder or DVR and one or more monitors, they also employ additional methods for transmitting their signals that must be taken into consideration of the definition of CCTV as well.

These cameras may also transmit their video data wirelessly via an on-board camera transmitter and antenna.  These cameras use modern day wireless technology often used in land-line based telephones such as 2.4 or 5.8 GHz technology or 900Mhz technology for broadcasting their signal.  These systems are designed to transmit their signals only a fraction of the distance of the older systems, as they are aimed at sending their signals to a nearby receiver, which is usually plugged in by cable, to a DVR and/’or monitor.

Another method that is employed today is the use of the Internet as a vehicle for networking and transmitting.  Both video surveillance cameras and DVRs have the capability for connecting to the Internet.  When they do possess this feature they are often referred to as Internet Protocol or IP ready, because they deliver their transmission using IP format technology.

Although it is true that individuals other than who the video images are intended for can gain access surreptitiously, the intent of these wireless broadcasts and Internet transmissions are directed to a limited number of very specific viewers.  Thus, although our definition for CCTV as now become a bit broader in scope, it is easy to see why even today, video surveillance cameras are often called CCTV cameras.

While we are on the subject of CCTV versus new video surveillance cameras, it would be prudent to mention that there is some carry over from the “analog days” of CCTV to the current “digital era” which can make the comparison of components or the selection of a system somewhat confusing.  This primarily involves the use of reference to the detail or resolution of the video image created by the camera and displayed by the monitor.

Electronic video images may show a varying degree of detail.  That is evidenced by the contrast between standard television broadcasts and those called High Definition (HD).  Television was originally displayed on a Cathode Ray Tube or CRT (also called the “picture tube”).  The CRT reproduced the image on its screen by shooting an electron beam horizontally at the rate of about 60 times per second.  To a large degree, the number of horizontal lines determined how detailed the video appeared.  The more lines, the smaller the lines, the greater the detail of the picture.

Today, however, most televisions are like computer monitors; they are either Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD), plasma, or Light Emitting Diode (LED) displays.  These monitors display tiny dots called pixels instead of horizontal lines, therefore, they can display a much higher detail picture.  Yet, many video surveillance cameras still specify their picture quality in terms of the older, horizontal line method.  Its important to know that the lower end of resolution or detail is from about 300 up to 650 TVL (TeleVision Lines).  Video surveillance cameras with 650 TVL displays can produce very high definition video images.

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CCTV Cameras Remotely Monitored

Written By:
Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

If you are looking for a security and monitoring system that can be viewed away from the site where it is being used you should consider using a CCTV cameras remotely monitored. These systems are useful for monitoring the home from work, the business while at home, or for any monitoring application where the user is not in the same location as the camera.

Before we talk about using a CCTV cameras remotely monitored, let’s go over a few basics. First, CCTV is an abbreviation for Closed Caption Television and actually has a slightly different meaning today than it did 15 or 20 years ago. Television broadcast stations use video television cameras to record their video images. Several years ago these cameras were analog video cameras. These images are enhanced and edited at the studio and broadcast using powerful antennas and radio waves.

Smaller but similar types of cameras were used for security and monitoring systems. They differed from television broadcast cameras in that their video signal was not transmitted through radio waves but via a video transmission cable that ran from each camera to the video recording unit. This created a closed circuit between the camera and the video recorder, hence the name Closed Circuit Television.

However, today CCTV has a slightly looser or different definition. Today most cameras are digital video cameras and they may transmit their images via a video transmission cable or via radio waves. Regardless of the method of transmission, a CCTV camera today refers to a camera that captures video and sends it to a monitor, recorder, or other private device that is not available for public access. In a sense it is still a “closed circuit” in that it is not “open” or available for public distribution.

How are today’s CCTV cameras remotely monitored? This is normally accomplished by using one of two different methods. Either the camera is a wireless camera that transmits its video signal and control data via a radio signal to a corresponding wireless receiver or the camera is connected to the internet and uses it as a network. There variations of these methods and we will attempt to briefly describe each one.

Wireless CCTV cameras remotely monitored normally have their own built in transmitter and antenna. These cameras send their signals using radio signals, the most common using the 2.4 or 5.8 GHz band technology that is often used for land-line based wireless telephones. Some boast ranges of up to 2.5 miles.

These cameras normally operate in such a way that their range is called Line Of Sight or LOS. This means that the range listed is the maximum specified range between the camera and the receiver unit using a Line Of Sight – where no objects stand between the two. However, that doesn’t mean that they will not function is there is something that impedes their LOS (such as a wall, window, building, etc.). If there is an object or objects that impede the LOS the camera usually functions but the range may be reduced. Exactly how much the range is reduced depends on the material the radio signal must pass through and how many objects exist. These cameras can be remotely monitored for this specific range.

Another example is Internet Protocol or IP ready cameras. These digital video cameras contain their own programming technology and server so they can be connected directly to the internet. These cameras can be remotely monitored around the world provided the user has access to a broadband internet connection. The user doesn’t even have to have a personal computer these days as the various electronic personal devices such as cellular telephones and wireless handheld video players can be used to monitor the cameras.

As for the older analog CCTVs? Even they can be monitored remotely. Older CCTV security and monitoring systems that require the coaxial video transmission cable can be connected to servers that connect them to the internet. These servers normally “capture” the analog video and convert it into a digital video signal. These files are normally extremely large so the server also uses programming to compress the file to make it quicker and easier to send over the internet. These servers make remote monitoring of analog systems just as easy as digital video systems.

So if you have a need to keep a watchful eye on your home or business while on travel, vacation, or simply away from the premises you should consider a CCTV cameras remotely monitored system.

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CCTV Camera Multiplexers

Written By:
Friday, July 23rd, 2010

A CCTV camera multiplexer is an electronic unit that is able to combine the video transmission signals from more than one camera into one single channel or transmission. These units are often used where processors, VCRs, Digital Video Recorders or DVRs, and monitors can only handle one input. The multiplexer, also known as a Mux, in essence reduces the multiple camera feeds by creating one output that combines all of the inputs to the multiplexer.

The multiplexer was originally designed to facilitate multiple analog video signals into one output signal for analog recorders. In other words, multiple analog CCTV camera signals were difficult to record simultaneously on an analog signal recorder such as a Video Cassette Recorder or VCR. The CCTV camera multiplexers provided an essential function of combining multiple analog video signals into one output. So instead of using four VCRs to record four different cameras, one VCR could be used.

Although CCTV Camera multiplexers were originally designed to accommodate the difficulty of recording or viewing multiple analog cameras on one source, they are not limited to analog camera use alone. Depending on the design of your system, multiplexers may be needed for use with digital video cameras and/or analog cameras.

CCTV camera multiplexers are available with a variety of multiple inputs and many different features as well. Each camera input to the multiplexer is usually called a “channel.” The most common CCTV camera multiplexers have four, eight, nine, or sixteen channel inputs. Most multiplexers connect to CCTV camera transmission cable using BNC connectors and are designed to use one output which is normally connected to a VCR.

Multiplexers may be either simplex or duplex in function. A simplex multiplexer can only handle the camera inputs, combine them in to one viewable output, and send that output to a device such as a monitor or VCR. A full duplex CCTV camera multiplexer has the same capability of the simplex multiplexer, however it not only allows recording from all the available camera inputs but can display the VCR tape simultaneously.

The majority of CCTV camera multiplexers provide the output display signal in full color. There are a few that are available in black and white only and most color multiplexers provide the option of displaying black and white.

If you are considering the purchase of a CCTV camera multiplexer, be sure to check the display resolution to ensure it meets your requirements. Video display resolutions vary widely between multiplexer units. Video displays of 2CIF (704 x
240) or NTSC 865 x 525 are fairly common.
Additional features may be found on individual CCTV camera multiplexers depending on the manufacturer, type, and other factors. Some of those features may include motion detection, timer and programmable switching, user defined and password protected camera masks.

CCTV camera multiplexers that include motion detection can be a big plus. Since the recording is often being done by a VCR, either additional tapes must be added when the current tape is filled, or a loop-able tape is used and when it reaches the end of the tape, it re-records over the beginning. If the multiplexer has motion detection, it often can be used to turn on and off the recording function of the VCR. If full time recording is not necessary (such as an empty parking lot) and recording is only necessary following a motion event (such as a car parking in the parking lot), this can save tremendous amount of VCR tape space.

Many multiplexers also come with timer and programmable switching. This function allows you to set recording times and cameras on and off. If your system only needs to record in the evening for example, you can program this on the multiplexer. In addition, programmable switching allows you to select what cameras you want recorded.

Password protected camera masks are another useful feature. Since your system contains more than one camera, there may be camera views that you prefer to be restricted to only certain individuals. You can create a camera mask to cover the other camera views so that only the cameras you choose are displayed.

CCTV camera multiplexers can be a useful accessory for any video monitoring and security system, especially older analog type camera systems. Multiplexers come in four, eight, nine, and sixteen input types with a variety of features to suit almost any need. Check with your digital security expert today to see what a multiplexer can do for your system.

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