Posts Tagged ‘ digital video camera ’

Infrared Wireless Security Camera

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

An infrared wireless security camera offers the ease of do-it-yourself installation and the versatility of total darkness digital video recording. Weather you choose and indoor or outdoor type camera, these cameras can be mounted just about anywhere provided you can provide them with a power source to operate. In addition, infrared wireless security cameras do not require any other special add-on equipment to function.

Infrared wireless security cameras are used for many different applications. The following is just a short, partial list of some of those uses:
• Residential Indoor Applications. In areas that are not always lit, such as storage areas, garages, or any room that is dark. These cameras are excellent for use as baby monitor cameras.
• Industrial (and/or Commercial) Indoor Applications. In any area that is not well lit especially storage facilities, chemical or hazmat storage and use areas, retail store “back” rooms, night time exits and entrances, etc.
• Residential Outdoor Applications. Anywhere outside the house that you want to cover a perimeter zone that surrounds the house: Drive ways, garages or shops not attached to the main home, entrance gates, boats, and barns.
• Industrial (and/or Commercial) Outdoor Applications. Outside store perimeters, no-trespassing areas that may be difficult to patrol in darkness, night-time (or no-light condition) equipment operation areas, rooms and offices that are vacant at night, areas where money and other valuables are stored.

These cameras have the added advantage of performing as a normal visible light digital video camera when sufficient light is available and as an infrared light digital video camera when there is an insufficient amount of light. When the cameras are operating under visible light conditions, they provide a high-quality color display; and when operating under infrared conditions they provide a high-quality black and white or monochromatic video image.

As the description indicates, an infrared wireless security camera does not require the use of a video transmission cable. Non-wireless cameras must have an RG-59 coaxial or similar cable run from each camera to the Digital Video Recorder or DVR. This cabling can complicate installation and some users may feel that, although the cable can be hidden most of the time, when it is visible it can be obtrusive.

Infrared wireless security cameras use one of many different types of wireless technologies to send their video data to a corresponding receiver, or directly to a DVR unit that has a built-in receiver. One of the most popular wireless technologies used for this purpose is the 2.4 or 5.8 GHz technology due to its crisp, clear mostly interference free transmission/reception. (This is the same technology used on many landline-based wireless telephones.)

If the signal is received by a corresponding wireless receiver, the receiver is usually located near the DVR unit and is connected to it by a cable. Some DVRs made specifically for wireless applications have on-board receivers that “catch” the cameras’ transmission and relay it directly to the DVR for further processing.

Most infrared wireless security cameras radio technologies are based on something called a Line Of Sight range or LOS. An LOS range means the camera’s maximum transmission range is based on LOS. This means the camera’s maximum transmission is specified based on a situation where there is an unobstructed view (or LOS) between the camera and the receiver. Although obstructions do not usually cancel the transmission, they do reduce the maximum range based on their material composition.

The interesting thing about infrared wireless security cameras is that they are intrinsically sensitive to infrared radiation. The digital video camera uses one of two sensors, a Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor or CMOS or a Charge Coupled Device CCD, to convert light images into electrical signals that create digital video images. Both of these sensors can detect not only visible light, but infrared light of the near-infrared wavelength. Furthermore, the cameras’ sensors can “see” the infrared light, but the human eye cannot. There for the light used for infrared illumination is literally invisible to the human eye.

Infrared wireless security cameras normally used infrared Light Emitting Diodes or LEDs to create the illumination for the camera. These LEDs may be configured in an array surrounding the camera lens, off to the side, or entirely separate on an infrared “illuminator.” Generally, the more LEDS the longer the range of capturing in total darkness conditions. For that reason, always check the specifications before purchasing the camera to make sure it meets your required range.


Security Lights with Camera

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Talk about “getting caught in the act,” that’s exactly what security lights with camera will do. Using a security lights with camera device will not only illuminate the subject with a flood of high wattage bright white light, but it will take still pictures or video images of them too.

It’s a proven fact that the incidence of crime is decreased in areas that are well lit by bright security lights. Obviously, criminals and trespassers are less likely to frequent areas that are strongly lit because of a higher probability of being caught and ultimately being prosecuted. In addition, both the London, England and New York City police departments have also proven that the mere presence of video cameras reduces the incidence of crime. So why not combine these two into one with a security lights with camera system that offers the power and protection of both?

Generally, a security lights with camera system is a self contained unit. However, using motion detectors, digital video camera illuminators, and digital video cameras, it is conceivable that a custom made security lights with camera system can also be constructed. However, for this article we will limit our discussion to the more common self-contained units.

The self contained security lights with camera system is usually one unit that consists of three major components: 1) A high wattage extra bright floodlight; 2) A motion detector relay; and, 3) A digital video camera and mini Digital Video Recorder or DVR. The unit can be mounted just about anywhere that a regular house current AC power line can be connected to it. The specific locations for mounting the unit are virtually endless. Here’s a partial list of suggested uses or places to mount the unit:
• Front and back of residences near possible points of entry;
• Boat slips and docks;
• Entrances to storage facilities;
• Inside storage facilities that are normally not lit at night;
• Back entrances to stores and other business locations;
• Entrances to barns and/or equipment sheds;
• Property that is posted with “No Trespassing” signs; and
• Machinery and other valuables kept outside.

A typical security lights with camera unit will contain a high-wattage motion activated halogen lamp. Most units use halogen elements rate at about 500 watts. Mounted somewhere on the unit (usually directly below the lamp) is a built-in digital video security camera. Both the lamp and the camera are activated by an on-board motion detector so that when motion is detected, a relay activates the camera and turns on the security light at the same time.

The motion detector used in these units is usually a PIR or Passive InfraRed motion detector. The PIR works by scanning the field of view of the camera and security light. It detects the inherent infrared radiation being emitted in this field of view. When a sudden change in the infrared radiation signature occurs, it interprets this to be an object in motion (such as a human walking past it). The PIR sensor is connected to a relay that is then switched to the “On” position activating both the security light and digital video camera at the same time.

The camera immediately begins taking pictures or digital video footage. Since digital video is actually several digital photographs taken at a high rate of speed in succession, the security lights with camera unit allows you to set it in advance to take either digital still photographs or digital video. The digital photographs or video are saved by the on-board DVR.

The mini on-board DVR usually consists of some sort of built in memory that can be expanded by adding additional memory devices to it (such as a thumb drive, an SD card, etc.) To access the digital photographs or videos, simply remove the portable digital memory media and plug it into your computer.

The entire one piece unit is normally rated as an outdoor device meaning that it can protect the components from weather and other elements (like dust). Installation usually consists of:
1) Mounting the unit and adjusting the aim;
2) Connecting it to a typical residential type AC power line;
3) Inserting the portable memory media; and,
4) Setting the camera and light for duration of the “On” state and the type of digital picture format.

That’s all there is to it. So if you are looking for maximum security at a safe distance with relatively low price, you should consider purchasing a security lights with camera system today.


Heavy Duty CCTV Cameras

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

There are times when a situation calls for something more rugged than standard Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras and that is when it’s time to consider heavy duty CCTV cameras. Heavy duty CCTV cameras are built tough to withstand use and abuse and still keep working.

A standard digital video color security camera has no moving parts unless it contains additional features such as Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ). The PTZ function works by using servos or motors to move the position of the camera up and down or left and right to increase the camera’s field of view. Zooming involves moving the lenses in such a way as to enlarge the size of the target.

Most heavy duty CCTV cameras have these movements reinforced in some manner so that they do not become a factor in making the camera more susceptible to damage. Since the average camera has no moving parts per se, that contributes greatly to making the camera inherently rugged.

In order to understand this concept of no moving parts, the following is a brief description of how the typical digital video camera works. Light images enter the camera through the lens. If the lens is a fixed focal length lens (i.e. not a zoom lens) there is no need for it to move. As the light passes through the lens, the lens focuses the image on an electronic sensor that usually ranges in size from 1/4 to 1 inch square.

The sensor is an electronic component that can change light energy into electrical energy that can be measured. The electrical energy is compiled into a signal which passes through an analog to digital circuit that converts the signal into binary or digital format. The digital information is then sent to a Digital Video Recorder or DVR via a digital video transmission cable or, if the camera is wireless, as a radio signal to a corresponding receiver.

Note that none of these processes involve moving, mechanical type parts. The lack of moving parts is one less factor that could contribute to the “sensitivity” of a heavy duty CCTV camera. Not that a camera with moving mechanical parts can’t be used as a heavy duty CCTV camera, it’s just that this is one additional advantage of the construction of these cameras.

By comparison, think of a typical camcorder that records its video image to a tape, DVD, or a hard drive. Drop that camera one time on a hard surface with some respectable force and chances are you’ll be sending it in for repair or replacement, and chances are the moving mechanical parts are what break.

So what kind of heavy duty CCTV cameras are available? Generally, security and surveillance applications can be classified into two types, indoor and outdoor. Indoor cameras are made with no additional protection from water, wind, hail, etc, as they are designed to be used indoors, under the protective cover of a room.

Outdoor cameras are one type of heavy duty CCTV cameras that are designed specifically for the purpose of being used outside without the protective cover of a room, roof, or building. These cameras differ from indoor cameras in that they are contained within a protective enclosure. Normally, the enclosure is a heavy duty metal box or molded Plexiglas or Lexan.

Heavy duty CCTV cameras for outdoor use are often rated by the manufacturer as to their ability to protect the camera from foreign objects. One common standard that is used is called the International Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC) Ingress Protection rating or code also called an IP code or rating. The IP code consists of two digits; the first digit represents the degree of protection from solid objects and the second digit represents the degree of protection from liquids.

The first digit of the IP rating (solids) ranges from 0 to 6, where 0 represents no protection and 6 represents absolutely no penetration from dust or other large objects. The second digit ranges from 0 to 8 where 0 represents no protection and 8 means the camera is protected from liquids to the extent that it can be submersed in water beyond 1 meter in depth. The highest IP rating is IP68.

There is also a wide variety of specific use heavy duty CCTV cameras. These cameras may be manufactured in such a way that they are marketed as vandal proof or even explosion proof. These cameras may use special mounts designed specifically for that purpose.


Digital Security System

Friday, November 19th, 2010

A digital security system is any system that integrates digital data for the purpose of creating, sending, or recording information that can be used to protect something. That’s a pretty broad definition, but then again digital security system is a pretty broad phrase.

Since most security alarm systems primarily deal with on/off states (door open/door closed) we could consider them to be inherently digital, but that’s not really what we mean here. What we mean by digital security system is a video security system that operates on the basis of digital data transfer as opposed to an analog system.

For example VHS and Beta video tapes, cassette tape recorders and players, and record albums are all examples of analog devices or media. CDs, DVDs, hard disk drives, and LCD monitors are all examples of digital devices or media.

Older video security systems (often referred to today as “legacy systems”), were strictly analog in nature. The video camera, basically a smaller version of a television studio camera, transferred light energy into electrical energy that could be used to produce a video image. The electrical energy produced by the camera was sent to a Video Tape Recorder (VTR).

The VTR saves the video image as a magnetic recording on magnetic tape. The magnetic recording is in analog form meaning that the signal is recorded with weak spots and strong spots. The analog VTRs used for this purpose are either VHS or Beta format.

The greatest disadvantage of an analog security system is that the analog system is subject to distortion and degradation. Each time the recording is played a slight loss of the signal, especially in the weak spots, is experienced and over time the signal can also deteriorate.

A digital security system or digital video camera initially creates the video image in the same manner as its analog counterpart. However, a digital video camera contains an “analog to digital” converter circuit that transfers the analog signal into a digital signal.

The signals of digital security systems do not have strong and weak points like analog video. The data is only a continuous series of 1s and 0s. This data is sent via a video transmission cable just like the analog video; however instead of using a VTR to record the signal, a Digital Video Recorder or DVR is used. The DVR unit usually contains a highly specialized computer processor called a Digital Signal Processor or DSP the reads the cameras digital data and assembles it into a digital video file that is saved on the DVR.

There are two great advantages of a digital security system as compared to an analog system. First, since digital security systems use digital data, the recording typically doesn’t degrade on magnetic mediums as easy as analog signals do and, the data can be saved to media that doesn’t degrade at all (such as CDs or DVDs). Second, since digital security systems create digital data, the technology and equipment used with personal computers can be integrated for use with the digital security system.

Advances in technology with Integrated Circuit (IC) chips, digital memory storage, use of the Internet, increased speed of computer processors to name of few can all be used to the benefit of a digital security system. For example, miniature IC chips can be used with cameras the size of a pinhole to capture, digitize and transmit video. As computer hard disk drives vastly increase their storage capacity, digital video security systems reap the benefit of longer recording times without rewriting over old data. Faster and broader applications of the Internet allow a user to access their digital system from anywhere in the world there is broadband internet accessibility. And finally, as computer processor speeds and capabilities expand, video quality also gets higher and higher.

Current legacy (analog) security system users don’t despair. Although your systems are typically no longer available for purchase, it is possible to convert them to digital. Thankfully, as the digital revolution has occurred, several devices have been created that help merge some analog devices with digital equipment.

For example, analog security systems can use the internet to monitor their systems like security digital systems can. Users can purchase analog to digital capture cards and servers which transfer the signal from an analog to a digital state and incorporate into files that are computer compatible. For a nominal added expense of these devices, even analog systems can assume some of the advantages of digital security systems.


Security Cameras Monitoring Systems

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Some of the most popular items used for protection and surveillance today are security cameras monitoring systems. These systems take advantage of the latest and greatest in both electronic and computer technology making them incredibly powerful and versatile to use. In addition to deterring burglary and/or vandalism, security cameras monitoring systems offer you the peace of mind of knowing that your business, residence, or loved ones are okay.

Most security cameras monitoring systems are component systems; that is, parts of the system may differ in function (i.e. one camera may have Pan-Tilt-Zoom or PTZ and another may not) or may be made by different manufacturers (i.e. the cameras may be produced by one manufacturer while the DVR is produced by another). Regardless of the differences between components, all of the separate parts can work together to create a functional and effective security camera monitoring system.

Security cameras monitoring systems work in the following manner. The digital video camera “captures” a light image and transfers it into an electrical image. This electrical based image is sent in the form of electronic data to the DVR or Digital Video Recorder. The DVR normally contains a special type of computer processor known as a Digital Signal Processor or DSP. The DSP compiles the data from the video camera and creates a digital video file of the data which can e stored on the DVR or viewed in real time (live) on a monitor.

The DSP normally uses a COmpression/DECompression or CODEC utility to make the digital video file smaller without sacrificing quality. This is necessary because digital video files are comprised of thousands of digital photographs. In fact, they are digital photographs, but they are taken at a high rate of speed, usually around 30 photographs or Frames Per Second or 30 FPS.

This means that for every one second of video, the file will contain the equivalent of data for 30 individual digital photographs. As you can see, the file can get very large in a hurry so a CODEC is a vital and necessary tool.

The security cameras monitoring system may also include a CD/DVD writer, SD card writer, or accommodate a USB thumb drive for archiving files or for providing copies of files on a portable media to police, insurance agencies, etc.

There are a variety of optional features available for digital video security cameras however it may be easier to differentiate between cameras if they are categorized first, based on two of these features. The first criteria to use for categorizing the cameras can be the shape of the camera itself. There are three basic shapes or types:
• Box shaped cameras;
• Bullet shaped cameras; and,
• Dome cameras.

Box shaped cameras look just like the name implies; they are rectangular shaped to resemble a small box. These cameras may be mounted on walls, ceilings, and other structures. Bullet shaped cameras are elongated and rounded in shape on the ends to resemble a bullet-type structure. They may also be mounted on walls, ceilings and other structures. Finally, dome shaped cameras are usually flush mounted on ceilings with a rounded dome protrusion just big enough to allow for the camera lens.

The second criteria for categorizing digital video security cameras is whether they are designed for indoor use, outdoor use, or both. Indoor use only cameras cannot be used outdoors because they may be damaged by exposure to dust, water, and other debris. Outdoor security cameras monitoring systems or indoor/outdoor cameras are enclosed in a protective case that allows the camera to function properly but prevents entry (ingress) of dust, water and other matter.

Many outdoor cameras will be certified according to the protection the enclosure provides using a International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard called an Ingress Protection code or IP rating. This code consists of two digits; the first digit represents protection from dust and the second digit represents protection from liquids. The first digit of the rating ranges from 0 to 6 and the second digit ranges from 0 to 8, the higher number indicating a greater rate of protection. An IP65 rating for example, means the enclosure is dust tight and provides protection from water projected by a nozzle against the enclosure from any direction.

There are many other option features available on the components of security cameras monitoring systems. If you are interested in additional information, check our knowledge base or security articles or contact one of our security experts today.