Posts Tagged ‘ digital video security’



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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Tilt and Pan Camera

Written By:
Friday, September 16th, 2011

Tilt and Pan or PT cameras bring a powerful punch to the benefit of the digital video security and surveillance world.  These cameras allow your system to reap the powerful benefit of camera movement.  Most PT cameras also offer a third feature, zoom.  When this is the case the camera is usually referred to as a PTZ camera.

PT cameras have been used in the video security and surveillance world for quite some time; even when the systems operated in a totally analog format.  However, as technology has increased, cameras have become more powerful in function and lighter in weight as well as more versatile in application.  Now, digital video cameras with PT functions are much more easily controlled.

Most of the older analog systems usually required a separate, big, bulky controller board that connected to the Digital Video Recorder or DVR unit to manipulate PTZ cameras.  This board was proprietary in that it was the only device that could be used to tilt and pan cameras.  However, since video security cameras have left the analog genre and become digital, there has been some merging that has occurred with the personal computer world.

There are still separate controller boards available for use with digital PT cameras, but these cameras can also be controlled by using software and a personal computer.  Many systems are now based on personal computer Graphical User Interfaces or GUIs and the PT functions can be controlled by a computer mouse or keyboard strokes.

One of the primary benefits of a tilt-pan camera is that one PT camera can literally take the place of several non-PT cameras.  Since these cameras can move in two dimensions and enlarge views as well providing they have zoom technology), they can cover the field of vision that would normally take several non-PT cameras to cover.  PT web cameras have many uses and are great for monitoring large areas such as parking lots, industrial property, and even high
ways.

Having one or more PT cameras is certainly a powerful advantage, but if these cameras are also PT Web cameras, their versatility in application and ease of access is incredibly increased.  A PT Web camera utilizes the Internet as the networking solution for the system thereby broadening the scope of access globally.

PT Web cameras are also known as IP ready or Internet Protocol ready cameras.  These cameras have built in web server technology so that the camera can connect directly to the Internet.  Once the Internet connection has been established these cameras can be used in many ways.

For example, more than one Tilt amd Pan Camera camera can be networked together using the Internet to carry their signals to a remotely located Digital Video Recorder or DVR unit that can record their digital video data.  Another way PT Web cameras can be used is as individual cameras that use the Internet to send their digital video data to personal computers which are used to monitor and record their digital video data.  This has great implications.

PT Web cameras that are connected to the Internet can be accessed anywhere in the world there is broadband Internet access.  This instantly converts the accessibility of the camera from a local system to a globally accessible system.  In addition to monitoring these cameras anywhere there is Internet access, these cameras can also be controlled remotely from the same point.

This access is not limited to only a personal computer with an Internet browser, but 3G and 4G smartphones can also monitor and control these cameras.  This means you could be sunning on the beach in Australia while panning, tilting, and monitoring your PT web camera security system in Paris.  What more is the only thing needed to use your smartphone to do this is the small software application or app; and Security Camera King makes smartphone apps available for their featured security systems for free.

In addition, tilt and pan cameras can also be programmed to track or follow moving objects.  This auto-tracking option is great for keeping a close eye on moving objects in the cameras field of vision, especially if the field of vision is not expected to contain moving objects.

So if you have the need for a digital video security cameras that can “look” left and right, up and down, consider purchasing a tilt and pan camera

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Digital Recording Device

Written By:
Friday, September 2nd, 2011

A digital (audio) recording device, according to the U. S. Code of Regulations (Title 17, Chapter 10, Subchapter A, paragraph 1001), “is any machine or device of a type commonly distributed to individuals for use by individuals, whether or not included with or as part of some other machine or device, the digital recording function of which is designed or marketed for the primary purpose of, and that is capable of, making a digital audio copied recording for private use…”

Huh?  Let’s try this again.  A digital recording device is any device that records in a digital (binary) format.  There are all kinds of digital recording devices.  Since the technological advancements that have come with the computer age, many other industries have borrowed the same technology but may have modified it slightly to meet their specific needs.

As far as the digital video security and surveillance camera industry goes there are basically two digital recording devices that immediately come to mind.  One is the digital phone/room recorder and the other is the Digital Video Recorder or DVR.

Security Camera King offers two different digital phone/room recorders, product# DPR-N88 and product# DPR-N308.  These two recorders are audio digital recording devices.  They work by recording to a storage medium a stream of discrete numbers that represent the changes in air pressure or sound.  In contrast, analog sound is created from a continuous wave that represents the changes in air pressure or sound.

Basically using a simple set of the numbers 1 and 0 (called binary or digital format) just about anything that is recorded as an analog set can be converted to digital.  There are several advantages to digital recording devices.  First and foremost is that digital recording does not degrade in quality over time like analog recordings do.  Another advantage of digital recordings is that, thanks to the ever increasing technology of the computer industry, more data can be stored digitally than can be done by an analog medium.

While digital audio recording record the changes in sound, digital video stores information that represents the changes over time in chroma and luminence for video.  Once again, the older (analog) method of recording video was, like analog audio, the creation of a continuous wave.

The security camera industry reaped the biggest benefit from the “computer age” when they started using digital recording devices called DVRs (which are also the second type of digital recording device referenced above).  In the security camera industry the main digital recording device is the DVR.  There are several types of DVRs which use several different methods for storage as a digital recording device.

The most common digital recording device for full size commercial or residential security camera systems is the Hard Disk Drive or HDD.  The DVRs HDD is a non-volatile (will not lose recorded information when power is disconnected), random access digital recording device.  Security Camera Kings systems’ HDD storage options ranges from 500 Gigabytes (GB) to 8 Terabytes (TB).

The HDD consists of rotating rigid platters (disks) on a motor driven spindle.  Digital data is magnetically written to or read from the platter by read/write magnetic heads.   These heads are extremely close to the platters but they never touch them.  As a result when the heads are directed to read or write the platter spins and the head either searches and reads for magnetic changes on the platter or writes magnetic changes on the platter which is literally a series of 1s and 0s.

There are other types of digital recording devices too.  For example, Security Camera King’s product# HC-SUNGL-DVR are sunglasses with the camera and DVR included and built into the glasses.  Of course, in this case the digital recording device is not an HDD but an electronic circuit designed for digitally recording the video and audio.  These sunglasses not only have 4 GB of storage built-in, but the DVR can also accept Micro SD Expansion memory cards of up to 8 GB.

Well hopefully this article has given you enough knowledge about digital recording devices that you’ll know what to look for and how they work.  If you have any additional questions about digital recording devices and how they may apply to you please contact one of Security Camera Kings security experts today.

 

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CCTV Video Storage

Written By:
Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Closed Circuit TeleVision or CCTV video storage is available in many different forms.  Sometimes the type of storage device and medium is dependent on the type of camera.  In the following article, we’ll take a look at some of the more common methods of CCTV Storage.

Before we continue our discussion on CCTV video storage, let’s briefly review how a digital video security and surveillance system works.  Normally the system consists of a digital video camera, a Digital Video Recorder or DVR, and a monitor (or several monitors).

The camera captures the video footage and transfers it into an electronic form, sends it to the DVR for storage, and/or to a monitor for live viewing.  If the video is stored on a DVR, it can be retrieved at a later date and viewed on the monitor at that time.

Since CCTV became digital (it used to be a totally analog system several years ago), the system’s components seem to mimic a personal computer system in many ways.   Although a CCTV DVR is not a personal computer, it has processors and other items, including a Hard Disk Drive or HDD just like a personal computer.  The HDD is where the CCTV video storage for the system takes place.

The CCTV video storage HDD is a non-volatile medium that utilizes random access digital storage.  Non-volatile means that the recorded data remains even if the unit is switched off.  Random access storage means the disk drive stores the data in a random fashion on the disk in such a way as to make CCTV video storage as quick a process as possible.  The disk contains read/write heads that float on a very thin space above the disks and save and retrieve the data magnetically.

The DVR normally uses a utility program known as a CODEC which stands for COmpression/DECompression to shrink the size of the incredibly large digital video file it creates before storing it on the HDD.  The CODEC reduces the size of the file while maintaining a high quality video image.  There are several CODECs available and as digital technology advances, quite often so too does CODEC technology.

The most popular and latest CODEC technology used for CCTV video storage is the H.264 CODEC.  This utility is used to prepare files for saving to the HDD as well as streaming them across a network or the Internet.  Digital video files can become quite large; using a CODEC enhances the ability of the CCTV video storage medium tremendously.

Once the HDD is full, it begins erasing old video and recording new video over it.  The smaller area taken up by the digital video files or the bigger the HDD storage capacity, the longer the period of storage without the need for transferring it to another storage medium for backup such as a DVD.

There are other types of CCTV video storage besides DVRs and their corresponding HDDs depending on the digital video system.  For example, cameras are available today that are IP ready (Internet Protocol ready).  These camera can be plugged into the Internet and stream their files to any location i the world where there is broadband Internet service (this includes 3G and 4G smartphones).

The device used to control and coordinate these types of cameras often looks like a desktop computer instead of the flatter DVR and is known as a Network Video Recorder or NVR.  Using compatible cameras and an NVR, cameras can be in more than one physical location (i.e. large distances apart such as in two different stores within the same city) and still record to the NVR.

There are other types of digital video security and surveillance systems that may not meet the characteristics of conventional CCTV systems, but none-the-less technically use CCTV video storage.  Often times these systems are remote, portable, or hidden/disguised systems that often contain everything (except the monitor) within one unit.

The CCTV video storage on these units is often saved to a variety of other non-volatile portable storage media such as CF cards, Flash Thumb Drives, and SD media. These units save the digital video file in the same manner as full size CCTV systems, but are much smaller and compact for the purpose of their designated use.

CCTV storage today has come a long way in a very short time and HDDs have increased from holding megabytes of data to Terabytes.  If you have any addition questions about CCTV storage, contact one of our security experts today.

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Security Camera CCD

Written By:
Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

We are asked quite often about the security camera CCD (Charged Coupled Device) and the CMOS or Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor.  In the following article we’ll discuss how a digital video system actually works and what importance a security camera CCD has within this system.

First let’s describe a digital video security and surveillance system.  It normally consists of three components; the camera(s), the Digital Video Recorder, and a monitor(s).  The camera’s function in this system is to capture a video image created by light reflectance and transform it into an electronic image based on electricity.  Both live and recorded material is played back by the DVR and may be seen by watching the monitor.

So now that we have a general idea of what each component does, let’s talk specifically about the camera and the security camera CCD.

A digital video camera works by using a combination of mechanical (lenses) and electronic (Integrated Circuit or IC chips and printed boards).  Whatever direction the camera may be pointed in, the area that you will see as a point of view from the camera is called the camera’s field of view.  The field of view is the specific area that will constitute the video image.

The field of view can be made larger or smaller depending on the focal length of the lens.  A standard lens has one focal length and therefore on field of view.  Varifocal lenses can vary their focal length (either manually or remotely).  The field of view contains objects that reflect light.  This reflected light is captured by the lens and when in focus, the lens focuses the reflected light on a sensor chip which is usually only 1/4 to 1/3 inches square.

This sensor chip, in our case, is the security camera CCD.  As the focused light strikes the security camera CCD, tiny pixels on the sensor emit a very small but measurable electric impulse.  Their may be more than one CCD and their maybe the use of one or more filters involved as well.

Once the light strikes the security camera CCD, the CCD gives off it’s electrical pulses and this are measured and interpreted by the analog to digital processor IC chip.  This is when the video image becomes digital.  As the processing continues in the camera, the camera’s Digital Signal Processor or DSP, in essence another IC chip, makes adjustments to brightness, color intensity, contrast, etc. to make sure the video image is of the highest quality.

Once the video image information, now binary or digital data is sent to the DVR the DVR stores it or plays it live.  Either the camera or the DVR compiles the binary data and creates a digital video file out of it.   These digital video files are the same type of digital video files that can be watched on a personal computer.

The security camera CCD (and the CMOS) has a unique feature about it that makes it even more versatile.  The CCD inherently can also create video images using on infrared light.  Infrared light is invisible to the human eye, so this makes for a very powerful, useful security device.  Most night time infrared cameras have an array of Infrared producing Light Emitting Diodes or IR LEDs that are arranged around the lens of the camera.   The human eye cannot see their light, but to the CCD, they work like using a floodlight.

In addition to the array of LED’s around the camera lens, IR LED illuminators may also be used.   Illuminators are just a group of more IR LEDs to add more light to the picture.  Some illuminators boast IR ranges of as much as 300 feet when using the illuminator along with the camera’s own lights.

Incidentally, since this type of video construction is done with only IR light, the image will be in either black and white or monochromatic.  But very seldom will the detail or resolution degrade so the IR video image is as good of quality as the day time color versions.

Security Camera King has a large variety of security camera CCD cameras and systems.  Be sure to check the “Specification” tab when looking at a camera that you may be considering to purchase to make sure that the camera gets the proper night time range that you will need.

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