Posts Tagged ‘ charged coupled device ’

Outdoor Motion Activated Security Camera Light

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

An outdoor motion – activated security camera light offers triple action security against break-ins, vandals, and criminal activity around the home or office. This camera is excellent for monitoring and protecting residences and commercial properties alike.

The outdoor motion – activated security camera light is an all in one miniature security system unit. The unit consists of a strong beam (up to 500 watts) halogen floodlight that is attached to a Passive InfraRed (PIR) motion detector. Whenever the PIR detects motion, the floodlight turns on, projecting a brilliant light on the intruder.

That’s just the beginning. In addition to the flood light and motion detector, the outdoor motion – activated security camera light also contains a state-of-the art high-quality color digital camera that can document the intruder and their activity. This constitutes triple action protection for your home, business or property.

The PIR motion detector is connected to a relay within the unit’s housing. It can detect changes in infrared radiation in its field of view. When a significant change in the infrared signature occurs (for example, when a person walks in front of it) the PIR triggers the relay to the “On” state, turning on the floodlight and the camera.

Most outdoor motion – activated security camera lights contain a high-quality color digital video camera that can also produce still photographs. Thanks to the nature of how a digital video camera works, these units are able to do this task with ease. Here’s how it works.

Outdoor motion – activated security camera lights contain a  a sensor that transfers light energy into electrical energy that can be measured. Images in the camera’s field of view reflect light, which is then focused by the lens onto the sensor. The sensor is either a Charged Coupled Device (CCD) or a Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS). The sensors’ measurements are converted into binary digital data.

On standalone digital video security systems, this data is sent to the Digital Video Recorder (DVR), which is much like the hard disk drive of a personal computer. The outdoor motion – activated security camera light has its own on board microchip circuitry that does this instead. It also saves the file to a hard disk type of storage device, usually comes with on-board memory (16 Mbs for example), and a Flash card memory device that accepts replaceable memory cards, (such as a SD card). These files can then be transferred to a computer where they can be viewed.

How can one outdoor motion – activated security camera light provide both still photographs and digital videos? The old movie projector is a good example of how it works.

Before the “digital age” movies were made using a camera that took several pictures per second. Generally to the human eye, 15 to 30 pictures (or frames as they are now called) per second gives the impression of fluid motion. So for every second of movie that we watch, 30 frames (pictures) flash through the projector.

The digital video camera works on the same principle. However, instead of using film tape, the camera creates electronic digital data. So the outdoor motion – activated security camera light can provide either high-quality still photos or digital video.

Another feature of outdoor motion – activated security camera lights includes an adjustable illumination period of the floodlight. Most lights allow an adjustable “on” time from one to five minutes in length. Depending on the settings, the camera may or may not capture images for the full duration, (the larger the memory, the more pictures and/or video length). Many cameras commonly take 3 still photographs or up to 10 seconds of video each time that motion is detected.

Many cameras also provide a time and date stamp. When the camera is installed the on-board clock and calendar are set. Every time the camera is triggered to operate, a time and date are super -imposed over the image to document the exact period of time recorded.

An outdoor motion – activated security camera light performs the functions of a floodlight, motion detector, and camera all in one. It offers triple action security protection for a fraction of the cost of a total digital video security system. These units are not only a handy combination of security features but are easy to install and set-up as well.


Surveillance Spy Cameras

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

If you need to keep an eye on someone without them getting an eye on you try using surveillance spy cameras. Actually, these cameras not only allow you to keep an eye on someone but also something like a pet, a house, a boat or some other type of property.

What exactly is a surveillance spy camera? Typically, a surveillance spy camera is a special type of digital video security and surveillance camera.

A digital video security camera usually has one of three different shapes. Box cameras look like rectangular box shapes and are typically mounted on walls, posts, and other areas. Bullet cameras resemble box cameras but have rounded ends, hence the name “bullet.” Dome cameras are normally flush mounted on a ceiling or wall and have a small protective bubble or dome that covers the camera. The presence of these cameras is somewhat obvious and their usually is no attempt to hide or disguise them.

Surveillance spy cameras on the other hand are digital video cameras that are much smaller, so small in fact that they are often hidden or disguised as other objects. They may contain their own Digital Video Recorder or DVR and power supply and be an entire standalone system, or they may require an external power supply and be incorporated into an entire digital video security system that has both hidden and visible cameras, a standalone DVR with a Digital Signal Processor or DSP, and a monitor.

How can surveillance spy cameras be so small? Let’s look at how a full-size digital video security camera works then will look take a look at a surveillance spy camera. Digital video cameras have three main components within the camera; the lens, a sensor chip, and the electronic circuitry used to operate the sensor chip and convert its information into digital data (a series of 1s and 0s).

The lens is a highly machined mechanically functioning glass (or plastic) that focuses the cameras field of view onto the sensor chip. Generally, the higher quality and type of lens, the higher quality of the video produced. Lenses determine how far, how wide, and how detailed the target area will appear.

There are two types of sensor chips, a Charged Coupled Device or CCD and a Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor or CMOS. These two chips work a little differently but accomplish the same objective, transferring light energy into electrical energy. These chips are usually square or at least rectangular in shape and usually range from 1/4 inch to 1 inch in size.

Electronic circuitry is used to interpret the chip, read its information, and convert it from an analog signal into digital data. The electronic circuitry may also provide other functions such as audio recording and movement of different camera parts.

Surveillance spy cameras contain the same components but the components are designed to be very, very small while still performing the needed task. For example, most of these cameras are extremely small. Their lens is not a full size variable lens but is a very small wide angle lens instead. This eliminates the need for a large lens attachment.

Secondly, surveillance spy cameras usually use one of two sizes for their CCDs or CMOSs, 1/4 inch or 1/3 inch. The incredibly small sizes of these sensor chips allows them to be used (hidden or disguised) in very small objects such as ink pens (see Security Camera King’s product # HC-PEN for example) or wristwatches (see our product # HC-Watch).

Finally, with the latest improvements in Integrated Circuit (IC) chip technology, incredibly complex circuits can be made in circuit chips that are only 1/4 inch in size also. For example, the electronic circuitry needed to activate and read the sensor, convert the information into digital data, and transmit it wirelessly to a corresponding receiver can be fit with a IC chip less than an inch in size.

In addition, surveillance spy cameras can also have their own miniature DVR in the form of a small memory chip. As computer memory technology advances, these chips become smaller yet hold more data. The data on the memory chip can be downloaded to a personal computer using a USB cord.

Security Camera King has a very wide assortment of surveillance spy cameras available for purchase. These cameras come in all sizes and types (view the products individually on-line by clicking on the left hand side of the page “Security Cameras” then “Hidden Security Cameras” or “Wireless Hidden Cameras” or “Hidden Camera Systems.”


Spy Camera DVR

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

A spy camera DVR or Digital Video Recorder usually differs from typical digital video security system DVRs because of the necessity for portability. Most spy camera models capture video at a lower size than standard which also requires lest DVR capacity.

Before we talk about a spy camera DVR, let’s discuss what a typical digital video security system is and how it works. Then we’ll discuss how this differs from a spy camera system and finally, what different types of spy camera DVRs are available.

A typical, full sized digital video security system consists of three major components: 1. Digital video camera(s); 2. A DVR with a Digital Signal Processor or DSP; and, 3. One or more monitors. Each digital video camera captures video images by changing light energy into electrical energy that can be used to create digital video files. The DSP uses the data created by the digital video camera and actually creates the digital video file. The DSP stores the file on the DVR for later viewing on a monitor or the file can be viewed live on a monitor.

There are several optional features, deviations, and additions that can be made to the previous description, but that is a basic digital video system in a nutshell. There are two specifics we should mention about the digital video camera that may come into play with the use of a spy camera; how the images are captured and infrared imaging.

Digital video cameras work by focusing light from images onto a fairly small electronic sensor chip. There are two different sensor chips that can be used and although they differ slightly in how they transfer light energy into electrical energy they both produce the same product, data that can be used to create a video image. The sensors that are used are either a Charged Coupled Device or CCD and a Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor or CMOS.

Both the CCD and the CMOS are also inherently sensitive to infrared radiation, specifically wavelengths or radiation called near infrared. This means with the proper lighting and filters a digital video camera can be designed to capture not only normal visible light images, but also infrared light images invisible to the human eye.

There are basically two methods of collecting security and surveillance video. The most popular method is overt recording. When capturing video overtly, there is no attempt to hide the video equipment. Covert recording is an attempt to capture video without the subject’s awareness. Covert recording systems are often called spy cameras or spy camera DVRs.

Most spy cameras achieve their status as “spy cameras” by disguising themselves within or as other objects. For example, Security Camera King has a vast selection of disguised or hidden (spy) cameras that are imbedded in or appear as exit signs, wall clocks, telephones, and many other items.

Some of these devices may also contain infrared Light Emitting Diodes or LEDs to illuminate areas in total darkness. As mentioned earlier, these infrared LEDs project a light that is invisible to the human eye but can be detected by an infrared digital video camera. As a result, these cameras can record video in total darkness.

Most of the spy cameras mentioned thus far can be connected to a basic standalone digital video security system that includes a standard DVR. The DVRs used in these systems are the like the hard disk drive in a computer. They contain a spinning plate and a magnetic head that moves about the plate recording the digital video files.

However, when we think of spy camera DVRs it is not the hard disk drive mentioned above. These spy cameras are often very small and compact or are imbedded in very small and compact objects. For example, Security Camera Kings product # HC-PEN Ink pen or HC-WATCH Wristwatch both record color video and audio. Their memory or spy camera DVR is built in solid state memory. Normally a special USB cable is used to transfer the data from this DVR to a personal computer.

Other types of spy camera DVRs may utilize a variety of small, non-mechanical solid state memory devices as their DVR medium of choice. For example, some spy camera DVRs consist of thumb drives, Flash memory cards like SD cards, Mini Compact Flash cards and the like.

Modern technological improvements have created physically smaller yet larger in capacity spy camera DVRs. Check out our full line of spy cameras in our on-line catalogue.


Digital Video Recording System

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

The digital video recording system is rapidly becoming one of the most popular security and surveillance documentation and monitoring tools in use today. Thanks to advancements in digital technology, not only is high-quality color digital video possible, but its also economically priced, easy to install, and versatile in application.

A digital video recording system is any system that captures digital video images and records them on some type of storage medium for later use. The difference between a digital video recording system and an analog video recording system is how the video image signal is created; however this lends itself to other differences such as how the video “footage” is stored, how it is transmitted, and what kinds and types of images are available.

First, let’s look at how an older analog video recording system works, then we’ll compare it with the newer digital video recording system. Both systems have a camera that “captures” the video images and a recorder that stores those images for playback at a later time. Each system may also use monitors to display real-time (live) video as it is captured.

Without getting too technical, an analog digital video camera contains a sensor chip called a Charged Coupled Device or CCD. The CCD converts the image’s light energy, which is focused onto it by the lenses, into electrical energy that can be measured and used to create a video image. The images are transferred from the camera to the video recorder and monitor using a coaxial video transmission cable.

The analog video recorder records the audio and video as magnetic signals, usually on a magnetic tape. What is actually happening is that the camera is taking several pictures per second but it appears to the human eye as smooth motion video. This is the same way its precursor, film video works.

Film cameras actually take several film pictures or photographs per second. Once the film is processed or “developed” a projector rolls the film from the full reel to an empty one. As the pictures pass in front of the projector lens in rapid succession, they give us the impression of a moving video. Since film is basically a linear storage device that can be hundreds of feet long, the term “video footage” was used to refer to motion pictures.

Since analog video is stored as a magnetic pattern, each time the recorded video is played it has the potential for degrading the signal. In addition, time can also degrade the magnetic signal as the signal’s weaker points can fade. Analog video is stored on a variety of formats but the most popular magnetic video tape is VHS or BETA. The video recorder either uses a video tape loop that re-records after reaching the end of the tape or individual video tapes that must be replaced when the recorder reaches the end of the tape.

Digital video recording systems use basically the same technology to create digital video. Cameras record (with the advent of digital imagery, the term “record” is also used synonymously with “capture”; meaning that the camera “captures” light images) image light energy and transfer it into electrical energy. However, the fundamental difference in a digital video camera is that the camera also contains an analog-to-digit converter which turns the analog video signal into a series of 1s and 0s, or in other words, digital data.

This simple change has revolutionized the security camera industry. Since the digital video signal is now stored as a digital file, many other technological changes have taken place that have made digital video recording systems differ from their older analog parents. Here are some of the differences (some are more advantageous than others) of using digital video recording systems:
• Personal Computers can now be used to control and record the cameras;
• Standalone digital video recording systems save their data to Digital Video Recorders or DVRs that have the potential for storing thousands of times more data in the space of an analog medium;
• Cameras can be networked, controlled, and monitored using the internet;
• Components of the system are smaller, lighter, and more efficient using less energy;
• Digital signals are 1s and 0s – they do not fade or degrade like analog signals can.

Digital video recording systems have become so popular that they are now the norm in the security video industry, rather than the exception. If you are interested in learning more, check out Security Camera King’s “CCTV Learning Center.”


Camera Mounted Infrared Illuminator

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

A camera mounted infrared illuminator is used with most night vision infrared digital video surveillance and security cameras to provide invisible light that is used to create an infrared digital video. The illuminator is normally aimed in the exact same direction of the camera lens so that it can provide infrared light beams to illuminate the target area. Infrared illumination can be “seen” by the camera, but cannot be seen by the human eye.

Let’s take a closer look at how a night vision infrared digital video security camera works in order to appreciate the need for the camera mounted infrared illuminator.

A night vision infrared digital video security camera can produce high quality color video footage when there is enough visible light present. When there is not enough visible light present or when in total darkness, a sensor on the camera switches it into the infrared mode. Digital video recorded under the infrared mode is high quality video footage as well, but is monochromatic or black and white, since infrared light does not emit color.

These cameras create a video image by using one of two sensors that convert light energy into electrical energy that can be quantified and used to create a digital video picture. The sensors that are normally used are the Charged Coupled Device or CCD, or the Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor or CMOS. The camera lens focuses the light from the image onto the sensor which then converts the light image into an electronic image which can be viewed on a monitor or stored as a digital video file.

Both the CCD and CMOS can be constructed with various sensitivities to light. Some cameras can produce full-color, high quality digital video with as little as .002 lux or less of light. These cameras are usually called day/night vision cameras and still require visible light to operate properly; they are infrared sensitive cameras.

A camera mounted infrared illuminator is required on night vision infrared digital video cameras to provide plenty of “light” to illuminate the subject. However, in this case the light is actually infrared radiation from the near infrared spectrum. This light or radiation has a similar effect as a flood light or spot light would on a normal visible-light digital video camera.

Most camera mounted infrared illuminators are created from several infrared Light Emitting Diodes or LEDs. The LEDs are able to create a sufficient amount of radiation that can be focused in the direction of the camera’s field of view. The advantage of using LEDs is that they use a relatively low amount of electrical energy and are small and compact.

The LEDS are normally arranged in an array that surrounds the outside of the camera’s lens or is in a grouping off to the side of the lens but aimed in the same direction as the camera. Generally the more LEDS used the greater the angle and the longer the distance of the effective infrared field of view. For this reason, every night vision infrared digital video camera has an effective target range.

If you are considering the purchase of an infrared night vision camera, be certain that the camera matches the range that you need for the job. There are a variety of different cameras available based on their effective range. Range values for cameras usually begin around 20 to 30 feet with cameras that have ranges of up to 200 feet or more. Cameras are more expensive for higher ranges, because of the extra LEDs that are used for the camera mounted infrared illuminator.

Some cameras ranges and angle of field of view can be extended by using additional infrared LED illuminators. However, these are not camera mounted infrared illuminators; they are mounted separately on their own and must be manually adjusted to ensure that they are aimed properly at the field of view of the camera.

Camera mounted infrared illuminators are an integral and necessary component of any infrared digital video camera. They supply the infrared “light” or radiation that is needed to illuminate the target area for the camera. Normally, the source for this radiation is an array of infrared LEDs that surround the camera lens or are located on the camera. Additional LED illuminators can also be purchased as accessories.