Posts Tagged ‘ digital video’



Color Security System

Written By:
Friday, February 4th, 2011

Color Security SystemA digital video color security system is a video camera based protection and monitoring component system. Although a bear-bones system may only require two separate devices to operate, it normally consists of three or more. At a minimum a color security system requires at least one camera and a Digital Video Recorder or DVR. However, if you want to be able to watch what your system is recording, you will also want to use the third component, a color monitor.

The “work flow” of a color security system begins with, and is really based on, the digital video color security camera. A color security system may have only one camera, or it can consist of as many as sixteen when the system utilizes one DVR. The camera or cameras send their color video data to the DVR unit which contains an on-board computer processor designed specifically to do work with color video data and coordinate the color security system functions. Once the processor has interpreted the digital data from the camera, it compiles the data into a digital video file which can be viewed live if a monitor accompanies the system and/or saved for later use on the DVR hard disk drive.

The digital video camera in a color security system records digital images by converting light energy into electrical energy. It does this using one of two different sensors that create measurable electronic charges when light strikes their photosites. The sensors are known as Charged Coupled Devices or CCDs or Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductors or CMOSs.

These sensors have tremendously small diodes in an incredibly small amount of area. Most color security system cameras’ sensor chips are less than 1/2 inch square in size. The lens focuses the light image on this small area, which on a typical 1/2 inch CCD can contain 300,000 to 500,000 photosites. The sensors’ photosites are usually designated to detect red, green, or blue light. This configuration is often called a Bayer filter. When the data from all of the red, green, and blue sensing diodes or photosites is compiled it creates a high quality electronic color image.

The color security system further processes the electronic image by passing it through an on-board circuit chip called an analog-to-digital converter. This converts the electronic analog signals into binary or digital data that is then transmitted in a variety of ways, one of the most common being along an RG-59 coaxial video transmission cable. (Signals can also be sent wirelessly via radio waves).

The other end of the cable is connected to the DVR unit. The data from the color security system camera is still unrefined and it is the responsibility of the DVR unit with its accompanying Digital Signal Processor or DSP to add the finishing touches. It does this by using a utility, either in software form or contained in an on-board microchip, that reduces the size of the otherwise incredibly large digital video file without sacrificing a significant amount of quality.

Digital video, like cinematography, actually consists of several photographs (digital-based in this case) that are taken in a very short period of time. The human eye and brain are slow enough to fool into thinking they are seeing fluid, motion video if the photographs pass by quick enough. The number of photographs taken in one second is usually called the “frame rate” and is designated as “frames per second” or fps and is typically around 29 fps.

Consider the file size of a typical high quality digital camera. Now multiply that size times 29 and you have the size of the digital file for one second. Multiply that times 60 seconds, and again times 60 minutes, and the result for one hour of video at that rate is 104,400 times the size of one digital photograph. You can appreciate how large the file size can be.

Every color security system uses a form of the utility mentioned above. One of the most recent and efficient COmpression/DECompression or CODEC utilities is the H.264. Using the CODEC makes the files much easier to handle and increases maximum storage capacity of the DVR.

Security Camera King features several different color security systems including our Elite Mini, Elite, and Ultimate DVRs. We’ve designed our color security systems to give you the freedom to change components to make the system fit your specific needs. Contact one of our security experts today for more information.

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Digital Surveillance Software

Written By:
Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

The term “digital surveillance software” refers to a broad category of computer based sets of instructions that provides the instructions for either a computer or a computer based device to operate, control, and/or process binary (digital) data used or created for security and surveillance purposes. To narrow this definition down a little for the purpose of this article, digital surveillance software is the collective set of programming used to create digital video images for security and surveillance purposes.

Since the words “digital surveillance software” refer to such a broad definition, it may be easier to explain what it is based on how it is used and what it does. There are basically three broad categories of digital surveillance software. The first applies to standalone digital video security and surveillance systems; the second applies to personal computer based digital video security and surveillance systems; and the third and final category, for the purpose of our discussion, applies to smartphones and similar type devices used with digital video and surveillance software.

Standalone Digital Video Security Systems
A standalone digital video security system is a set of devices that are used for security or surveillance purposes to create digital video files that may or may not be recorded. The term “standalone” indicates that these systems do not require any additional assistance from exterior devices such as a computer. The digital surveillance software used in these systems can include the operating system of the Digital Video Recorder’s or DVR’s and any additional programs used on that system to control the various devices of the standalone system

A standalone digital video security and surveillance system in its basic configuration includes one or more digital video cameras, a DVR unit with a Digital Signal Processor or DSP, and a digital based monitor. In a standalone system, the cameras send their digital video data to the DVR where the DSP compiles the data using a CODEC or COmpression/DECompression utility to create digital video files. The files are then viewed on the digital monitor and or stored for later use on a hard disk drive on the DVR.

The digital surveillance software in this system can include:
1) The operating system of the DVR/DSP unit;
2) The CODEC utility program; and,
3) Any other specialized set of instructions to control the equipment.

For example, Security Camera King offers three major types of DVRs; our Elite mini series, or Elite series, and our Ultimate series. These standalone systems have a highly specialized DSP that creates digital video files and coordinates the functions between the three major devices of the system. This is usually referred to as the “operating system” and all of our units use a Linux based operating system.

The CODEC utility is a specific software program that is used to compile the video data into a digital video file. Digital video is actually several digital photographs taken in succession. Different rates may be used but a general standard is 29.9 frames per second or fps. This means the camera takes 29 digital pictures in one second so in one minute of video, the camera takes approximately 1800 pictures. You can see how the file size can become enormously large in a very short period of time.

The CODEC uses mathematical algorithms so the file size is a fraction of the original total size. This piece of digital surveillance software does this with very little loss of quality. There are many different types of CODECs such as MJPEG, MPG, H.264, etc.

A standalone system may also contain digital surveillance software that operates the equipment, including specialized functions. For example, Pan-Tilt-Zoom or PTZ cameras can move horizontally, vertically, and can enlarge objects. These movements may be controlled by digital surveillance software.

Personal Computer Digital Video Security Systems
There are digital video security systems that utile a personal computer to take the place of the DVR, DSP, and or monitor. Normally these systems contain a PCI card or similar printed circuit board that performs the bulk of the systems needs including storing the digital video files, controlling devices, and displaying the video on the computer’s monitor.

Any of the software associated with these functions, in essence, can be considered digital surveillance software.

Smartphones
Smartphones require small programs in order to adapt or interface with different systems and devises. These programs are called applications or “apps.” An app can also be of a digital surveillance software type.

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Wireless PC Compatible Security Camera

Written By:
Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Nothing can offer you the peace of mind in security and the power and flexibility of application and use like a wireless PC compatible security camera. Thanks to modern electronic technology advancements and the growth of internet applications, a wireless PC compatible security camera is also reasonably priced to be affordable for just about any budget.

What exactly is a wireless PC compatible security camera and how does it work? We’ll attempt to answer these questions in the following article in order to give you a better understanding of the device and help you to decide if it is right for your security and monitoring application.

Before we talk about a wireless PC compatible security camera, let’s describe a basic standalone system first. A standard digital video security camera system usually consists of one or more digital video cameras, a Digital Video Recorder or DVR, and a monitor. The digital video cameras are connected to the DVR by a video transmission cable, usually RG-59 coaxial cable. A cable must be run from each camera to the DVR unit.

The camera(s) captures light images and converts them into electronic video images. It also converts the data created for this into digital or binary form using an on-board analog-to-digital processing chip. The digital data is sent to the DVR where a Digital Signal Processor or DSP, a highly specialized computer processor dedicated to making videos, uses the data to create a digital video file. The digital video file can be viewed in real-time (live) and/or saved on the DVR’s hard disk drive for later viewing, copying, etc.

A wireless PC compatible security camera captures the image and creates the digital video image in the same manner. However, it differs by transmitting the initial digital data from the camera wirelessly and by storing the data on a PC’s hard disk drive. Basically it eliminates the use of a standalone DVR and processor unit as well as a separate monitor. This has advantages and disadvantages that we will discuss later.

Most wireless PC compatible security cameras are their own little system. The camera captures the image, transfers it into digital form, creates a type of digital video file and then sends it via an on-board transmitter to a corresponding wireless internet connection such as a wireless router or wireless modem. The camera unit usually has its own IP address that identifies it on the Internet.

Using a common Internet browser, the user can access the secure camera with a username and password, and monitor as well as control some functions remotely from any personal computer, Mac computer, Apple iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and even 3G and 4G smartphones. Some cameras have the ability to move horizontally and/or vertically to increase the range of the camera’s field of vision and may be able to enlarge objects in the field of vision. These cameras called Pan-Tilt-Zoom or PTZ cameras can be controlled remotely from a computer Internet browser as well.

These cameras normally use MPEG4 or MJPEG video compression to reduce the size of the digital video file to make it easier to send via the internet. Generally, you need not be an IT professional to install and operate these cameras. All you need to do for most wireless PC compatible security cameras is mount the camera and install some software from a CD onto your computer or download an application (app) to your smart phone and your ready to go.

These systems use the PC to replace the standalone DVR unit and monitor. If the user wants to record the video files for archiving or later viewing they can normally save them on their computer’s hard drive. If they choose to view them live, they can watch them on the computer’s monitor using most common internet browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.

As mentioned earlier, there are advantages and disadvantages to using wireless PC compatible security camera systems instead of standalone systems. Probably the greatest single advantage is lower cost due to the fact that a standalone DVR or monitor is not required as an existing personal computer can be used instead. Also, since the Internet is the medium for distributing the final video file, the cameras can be remotely accessed from anywhere in the world there is broadband internet access.

There are disadvantages. The system could be prone to computer viruses, Internet bog downs, and using so much of your personal computer’s resources that it effects the computer’s performance for doing other tasks.

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Camera Monitor Security Software

Written By:
Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Using camera monitor security software, you can turn an average webcam into your own digital video security camera. Though digital video security cameras are designed specifically for security and surveillance applications and provide the best option for this purpose, it is possible to use new or existing web cams, digital cameras, and even video cameras for security monitoring.

There are many different camera monitor security software programs available today. In fact, this software is not limited in application to just webcams and similar devices but also applies to the programs that are used on a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) for standalone digital video security systems. Let’s talk about the software that applies to webcams and similar devices first, and then we’ll mention some features of the camera monitor security software used on DVRs.

A typical standalone digital video security system is a component system which consists of at least three major components: 1) One or more digital video cameras; 2) A DVR with a Digital Signal Processor (DSP); and, 3) A monitor.

A digital video security camera converts the reflecting light energy in the camera’s field of view into electrical energy. This electrical energy can be measured and digitized (converted from analog to binary or digital form) and passed along to a DSP. The DSP compiles the data sent to it from the camera and creates a digital video file that is stored on the DVR and/or can be viewed in real-time (live) on a monitor.

Camera monitor security software allows one to use a digital video device not typically designed for security and surveillance applications, to be used for this purpose along with a personal computer. Using this software, the user can program the computer to become the DVR and monitor and link the digital video device to them.

This is not the same as a system that is specifically designed to work with a computer by inserting a PCI card and installing special software to use with the PCI card. An example of such a system is a Geovision system, (see our July 2010 Archive in our Knowledge Base or click this link http://www.securitycameraking.com/securityinfo/2010/07/ for information on Geovision systems). Geovision systems are designed to be used with standard digital video cameras, not webcams.

There advantages and disadvantages to using camera monitor security software instead of a standalone digital video security system. The following lists a few of each:

Advantages
• Allows you to use existing hardware so that only the software needs to be purchased.
• Significantly reduces the cost for a digital video security system.

Disadvantages
• Many programs/computers can only utilize one camera, which is seldom enough to provide comprehensive security coverage.
• Webcams are generally designed for “up-close” usage and may not provide an adequate field of view.
• Most personal digital video devices (webcams, digital cameras, etc.) are not weather-proof and cannot be used outdoors.
• Using this software, especially continuously, can tie up valuable personal computer resources such as memory and hard disk drive space which can significantly reduce the efficiency of the computer for other tasks.

The disadvantages of this specific type of camera monitor security software generally outweighs the advantages for use in security and surveillance applications. Nonetheless, it can provide an economic solution for applications where a computer and webcam are already available.

The other type of camera monitor security software mentioned at the beginning of this article is designed for use with standalone DVR systems. This software is usually a proprietary program that is designed by or for the manufacturer of the DVR. Modern DVR units are basically mini-personal computers but are specifically designed for video recording use. This software coordinates the interaction between the digital video security camera, the DVR, and the monitor.

In addition, the software may contain additional features such as:
• Motion detection;
• E-mail or other electronic communication alerts;
• Timing functions;
• Controlling camera functions such as Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ); and,
• Controlling monitor display functions such as the number of cameras, the frame rate, color or black and white, and other features.

As you can see, in either application, camera monitor security software is the programming link between the various hardware devices including the processor. It can be designed for specific or general applications and can be provided in a variety of different formats. If you need more information or are interested in purchasing camera monitor security software, contact one of Security Camera King’s security experts today.

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Security Cameras Monitoring Systems

Written By:
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.

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