Posts Tagged ‘ DVR’



Closed Circuit Security Cameras

Written By:
Thursday, April 12th, 2012

What Is Closed Circuit Television?

Closed Circuit Security CamerasClosed circuit television, or CCTV, is a broad term that describes cameras that send video to a specific monitor or set of monitors,

To give you a better understanding of the definition and name of closed circuit television, you should understand that even movie theatres use a version of closed circuit television. Closed circuit television is simply named such because it is different from broadcast television, which is what you actually watch on television at home — footage that is sent to many televisions instead of a select few. In most cases, when people discuss closed circuit television, they are referring to using a CCTV for security and surveillance purposes, although this is not always the case.

What Is A Closed Circuit Security Camera?

Closed circuit security cameras are quite simply security cameras that are designed and used for video surveillance that is watched over a closed circuit television. Homeowners and business owners can choose to have the footage from their closed circuit security cameras to one monitor or a set of monitors in their office or other location, and with the proper equipment, can even have this footage sent to a PC, laptop or even a smartphone.

There are many different kinds of closed circuit security cameras available on the market today that are used for a wide variety of security uses. From casinos, bars and clubs to convenience stores, retail stores and simple insurance agencies, most businesses realize that closed circuit security cameras and systems are the best choice for security purposes. Many households also make use of CCTV to monitor what happens in their home or yard.

What Kinds of Closed Circuit Security Cameras Are Available for Surveillance?

The first type of closed circuit security footage you may have ever seen was probably shot with an analog security camera. Analog

Closed Circuit Security Cameras

closed circuit security cameras basically take frequent pictures to give a view of what is going on; often four frames per second. Although it seems that four pictures per second would provide an accurate view, analog security cameras often produce blurry an

d grainy pictures. An individual who is walking at a normal pace will often produce a blurry picture simply because of the movement. Analog cameras are still sometimes used for closed circuit security, but they are not the best choice, as it is often difficult to make sense of the footage and distinguish who is doing what.

Digital closed circuit security cameras are much more up-to-date and produce much higher quality footage than analog cameras. Digital security cameras record as digital files that can be viewed on a PC or standalone DVR security system. The footage from digital security cameras is often much clearer than analog cameras, especially with new technology making them even more advanced than before.

Of these cameras, there are many different security cameras with many different features. There are indoor cameras, outdoor cameras, vandal proof cameras, cameras with motion detectors, night vision cameras that record in full color and even infrared cameras that can detect heat. In many situations, a simple combination of a few of these different types of security cameras can offer the clearest picture of their surroundings and be the most effective in the security of your home or business.

How Do I View My Security Camera Surveillance Footage?

The footage recorded by your closed circuit security cameras obviously has to be viewed somewhere. Older security systems record
on VHS tapes to be viewed on a VCR, but VCR tapes often run out of tape at inappropriate moments, can easily be ruined when tapes get “eaten” by the VCR, and VCR tapes are simply not as clear as the DVD-quality picture that some security cameras can take. For digital footage, there are two main options for viewing and surveillance; there are PC-based and standalone units available for viewing this important footage.

PC-based systems allow you to watch your security camera surveillance footage from your computer. They use your hard drive to store all of your data. For smaller units, such as for a home or a small business, PC-based closed circuit security systems are often sufficient. For larger residences or businesses, a standalone DVR unit is usually a better choice.

A DVR, or digital video recorder, is basically a small computer in itself. It is a standalone unit that hooks up to a monitor and allows you to watch your security camera footage. You can rewind, fast forward and pause your footage at your discretion. Different digital video recorders are required for different sized closed circuit security systems. If you install additional cameras, your home or company may outgrow your original DVR unit.

Who Should Install Closed Circuit Security Cameras In Their Home or Business?

Every home, business and parking lot should have closed circuit security camera surveillance. Security cameras and related systems are more affordable now than they have ever been, and there are security camera options that fit any situation and any budget. There is simply no excuse to avoid taking necessary safety and security precautions; there is just too much crime and violence going on in this world to take an unnecessary chance at home or at the office without proper security camera surveillance.

When you are protecting your home, you are protecting the dearest and most important thing in your life: your family. You are also protecting all of your most treasured and personal belongings, as well as your home and vehicle, which are probably some of the most expensive investments that you have. You should never put your home and your family at risk because of the lack of a proper security system, since there are so many options available for you.

Businesses and parking lots require an even more extensive security camera surveillance system. Every inch of a retail store or company parking lot should be viewable through a security surveillance camera to optimize safety and security. Businesses who have adequate closed circuit security camera systems often see a decrease in theft, vandalism and other crime. They also have video evidence in the event that a crime or tragedy does take place.

How Much Do Closed Circuit Security Camera Systems Cost?

Closed Circuit Security CamerasIt is difficult to give a rough estimate on the cost of equipment and installation for a closed circuit security camera and compatible equipment. There are many factors that play into the cost and complexity of installing a closed circuit security camera system.

Even if you are unable to get a ballpark budget for your future security camera system, don’t dispair. Although in past years closed circuit security camera systems were a luxury for most homeowners and small business owners, the purchase and installation of this lifesaving equipment has dropped drastically. For small residential situations, small stores and other small businesses, the cost is usually minimal, and the benefits of your safety and security easily outweigh any costs.

Even for large retail and corporate scenarios, people are often pleasantly surprised at just how inexpensively they can purchase this peace of mind. In some situations, installing closed circuit security camera systems can be filed as a business-related expense, which could earn you a deduction on your taxes at the end of the year. Also be sure to alert your insurance company of your new installation, as they may be able to offer you a cheaper rate or a discount because of it.

How Can I Get The Best Results From My Closed Circuit Security Camera System?

Reading articles on closed circuit security cameras and their related systems is often helpful when choosing, installing and maintaining a security system. These articles can often give you tips and tricks for effective usage of security cameras that you may have never even thought about.

Some basic tips for home and business owners who want their own closed circuit security camera system:

1. Purchase the proper equipment the first time around. Although for most residential and small business cases, you won’t need the most expensive or extensive security system. However, skimping on the important things, such as purchasing the wrong security cameras for your needs or not installing enough to provide adequate surveillance are common mistakes.

2. Always keep your security camera system in good condition. If a small problem arises, be sure to resolve the issue immediately. You don’t want a robbery or other crime to occur on the one night that your security cameras were down, do you? Never turn off or unplug your security system, even if you feel secure.

3. Follow manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to the care and maintenance of your closed circuit security camera system.

4. Use other safety precautions to get the maximum effect of your closed circuit security camera system. Posting signs around your property alerting potential thieves of your security cameras and system can often be enough to deter most pesky or dangerous criminals. Always have proper lighting outdoors, to allow a clearer view of your video surveillance and to give wrongdoers less places to hide on your property.

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Office Security Cameras

Written By:
Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Office Security CamerasDo you need an office security camera? These cameras can greatly enhance the security of any office. Do you fear who may be entering the office complex without your permission? Do you need to restrict the access of certain rooms within the building? Do you need to know when deliveries are made to the business even when you are not there? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may have questions about what type of security camera is the right one for your office.
Office Box Security Cameras

The most popular office security camera is the box security cameras. These box security cameras are inexpensive to purchase, inexpensive to install and relatively easy to operate. The office owner will need to determine the correct lens for each camera. For example, these cameras can be installed with infrared lenses to take photos in low light conditions. These cameras are limited in that they will only take photos in one direction. It may take several cameras to cover an entire building or even just one room. The box office security camera can be connected to a computer for monitoring. The box security camera is not waterproof, but can be installed inside waterproof housing. It is important to look for a box camera with large frames per second rate. Currently the largest frame per second rate is 30. A great additional factor is to buy a box security camera with a built-in SD card. This will provide backup should your network fail. The office owner will also need to consider the available bandwidth required by more than one box camera. Look for a box security camera with 5 megapixels to deliver the most clarity. The higher the megapixels the lower the frame per second rate will be. Box security cameras are among the largest cameras on the market today. Their size may deter some thieves.

Office Dome Security Cameras

Another popular option for office security cameras are dome cameras. These dome cameras are available for purchase in various colors to match the décor of the office. Office owners who need cameras outside can purchase waterproof models. Office dome cameras are available with interchangeable lenses so that they can be used in different circumstances. Like the box camera, when purchasing an office security dome camera consider buying a camera with a SD card. This will provide additional evidence should the authorities request it. Also look for a high frame per second rate and a camera with at least 5 megapixels. Make sure that you have the funds available for the higher amount of bandwidth required by multiple cameras. Since these cameras are circles, it is impossible for those in an area protected by a dome camera to tell exactly where the photos are being taken. The most popular of these dome cameras feature a frame per second rate near 30. Dome cameras often look better than box cameras in high end offices.

Office Bullet Cameras

Some offices prefer the bullet cameras. These cameras are available in large or small sizes. Since these cameras are waterproof, they make an outstanding option if installed to protect the outside of an office building. Like dome cameras, these cameras feature interchangeable lenses. Make sure to purchase the right lens to use in the particular circumstances. For example, if you have a room that is kept dark most of the time, the right lens would be an infrared lens since it can operate with limited light. On the other hand, if you will be installing the office bullet camera in bright sunshine, you may want to consider a lens with a special coating that helps to take great photos in these conditions. Understanding the differences in lenses will assure your maximum satisfaction.

Office Spy Cameras

Some offices prefer to use spy cameras. These spy cameras can be placed throughout the office and are disguised to look like normal office items. One popular option for many offices is clock spy cameras. Make sure that these cameras operate silently. Spy camera pens are a great option for employees that carry supplies outside the office are spy pens. It is vital to buy a spy camera that will work with the available light. Many thieves are very aware of the sound these cameras make so make sure that you buy a camera that operates silently.

Office PTZ Cameras

The last option is the most popular with most office owners. The pan, tilt and zoom spy camera provides many alternatives to the office Office Security Camerasowner looking for the most for their money. These cameras can be operated remotely to take the best photos. For example, the camera can be placed outside a door and operated remotely to pan an entire hallway. These cameras can also be tilted to see items at different heights. They can be tilted up to clearly see a person’s face. They can also be tilted down to see a package that has been left in front of a door. These cameras can also be used to zoom into a situation to see the details more clearly. However, office owners need to realize that the pan, tilt and zoom camera requires 24 hour a day, seven days a week to be the most effective. These cameras require the most elaborate wiring of any security camera. They also require the most power.

Major Factors to be Considered

Software

When looking to purchase an office security camera, there are several factors that apply to all security cameras. Remember that each camera will require software to operate. The software needs to be integrated with other software already in use in the office. Some cameras operate on Mac systems, while others do not. Be careful and buy a camera that will operate on the current system.

Power

Security cameras require electricity to operate. Think about how you will integrate the security system into the existing power grid. It may be necessary to hire an electrician to revamp the electrical system with new plugs. Make sure to meet city and state codes when making these changes.

Color

Cameras are available in different colors. Buy a color that will match the décor of your office. Also the power cords and cables come in different colors. Again, purchase a system that will integrate with your existing décor. Some office owners prefer to make the cameras stand out as a deterrent to crime. This is a personal decision that must be weighed carefully.

Monitoring

Security cameras are only as good as the people monitoring them. Make sure that you assign specific people the responsibility to monitor the cameras. Develop a contract that spells out exactly what you expect of your monitoring people to avoid any misunderstandings. Some offices prefer to hire a professional company to monitor the cameras.

Lenses

Security cameras will only catch the crime if the action is caught on the lens. Therefore, it is important to consider what type of camera and lens is right in each circumstance. Most security cameras will only cover 25 percent of a room. Those that cover a whole room often have very distorted photos with minimal detail. Different cameras require different lenses. Make sure to buy a lens that is ideal for the circumstances you intend to install the office security camera in.

Frame Rate

Security cameras come with different frame rates. Buying the largest frame rate available enables a great fluid picture that is easy to watch. Buy a camera that allows the user to install an SD card. It is a great backup should the electricity fail. Consider the available frame rate for the entire system. It may be necessary to install new computers to monitor your office security cameras successfully.

Megapixels

The larger the megapixels available are on the office security camera, the larger the photo can be enlarged. This will allow more details to be seen. Lower megapixels cameras often have trouble, known as noise, when the photo is enlarged. The ability to enlarge the photo will assist the authorities and you in seeing details that might otherwise be missed.

Television Line

Analog office security cameras will have a television line number. This number needs to be near 700. The larger the number the crisper the photo will be. Crisp photos enable the viewer to see the details clearly. A lower number may make it impossible to tell who is standing at the door or details about the package that has just been left.

The security of an office often depends on the use of great security cameras. They are an important part of any office security system. First, choose the right type of security camera for your office by choosing the right television line, megapixels and frame rate. The safety of all people who work in the office may depend on your security system. The property may depend on the quality of your security cameras. Make an informed decision now before it is too late. You may never have another chance.

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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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Nanny Cams

Written By:
Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Nanny cams are hidden cameras that have been installed in common, every day household items.  The camera is used (secretly) to monitor and record the daily activities of home caregivers; hence the name “Nanny Cam.”

A Nanny cam can be used remotely, where it’s video is transmitted by radio waves to a receiver hooked up to other devices (Digital Video Recorders or DVRs, sent over the internet,)  or you can use a “hardwire” run which, unless your careful, will more than likely stick out and be easily seen.

Are Hidden Nanny Cams Legal?

It is generally legal to videotape nannies without their permission; however, using cameras with audio can impose legal ramifications since it may fall under “eavesdropping” or “wiretapping” laws governing use of a device with an audio component to tape a sitter without consent.  These laws vary from state to state. Check with your local laws to confirm.

We all have expectations of privacy in private places. But should we expect privacy in the home of another? The answer is “NO.”
Parents and other proponents of nanny-cams argue that the installation of a hidden camera in their own home is not an invasion of privacy.

The court has agreed. In State v. Diaz, 706 A.2d 264 (1998), the leading case on this topic, the court ruled that a videotape made by a hidden camera in the residence of the parents of the child was admissible as evidence in the lawsuit against the nanny for assault and child endangerment. The court decided that since there was an absence of state action, the Constitution did not protect the nanny’s privacy in someone else’s house.

The court also held that a videotape without sound did not violate the Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act, but furthermore, that sound was admissible because the parents had consented to their child being taped.

States vary on this particular issue, but most agree that a videotaping your nanny without her knowledge is perfectly legal so long as there is no sound. Audiotaping without the nanny’s consent is an issue upon which the states are split.

There are a variety of reasons people choose a Multi Camera System. Many parents who are using a nanny service for the first time want to make sure that their choice of a nanny is good. Many times you will find out about a nanny’s behavior in the first month or two. The fact that one’s child has been entrusted to someone you hardly know can be a big leap of faith. Parents may be concerned about a sitter’s everyday behavior such as smoking or cursing, or they may have greater concerns of whether the caregiver is paying enough attention to the child, or is physically or emotionally abusing the child.

“I want to know when I leave and close that door what’s going on behind it. I want to know my child is safe and being nurtured, played with, sang to and loved,” says Maria. “I think the ethics go right out the window when it comes to protecting our children. Caregivers are paid to keep your kids safe and happy, not to get mad at your kids, yell at them and hit them or put them in a swing all day and neglect them.

Most nanny cams are set up so they do not record audio but do record video.  There’s a very good reason for this.

According to the US Code Title 18, Chapter 119, Section 2512 prohibits the interception of oral communication by “surreptitious manner,” such as a hidden camera, and so most nanny cams are not available with audio recording. Though some on the market may be available with the ability to record audio, these cameras should not be used due to the illegality of the recordings they produce. Nanny Cams are legal in all 50 states,but it is illegal in 13 states to record audio without express, or written consent of the nanny being recorded. This falls under the federal governments wire tapping laws.

However, there’s also a very good solution for all of this and that is purchase whatever kind of camera you feel most comfortable with and when installing it, simply do not connect the audio.

Why Use a Nanny Cam?

“2008 – A couple said they did everything possible to make sure the child was in safe hands when they discovered abuse by the nanny by using a hidden nanny camera.”

“Stephanie M. the subject of a widely publicized nanny cam video recorded by her employer faces two misdemeanor counts of child abuse in Cary, North Carolina.”

“A Florida nanny is behind bars for allegedly abusing an 11 month old child.  The abuse case was captured on a hidden nanny cam.  Investigator Adrian K speaks about some warning signs of abuse cases.”

“Nanny cam captures abuse on tape; A Florida babysitter is jailed after video shows her slapping an infant.”

Unfortunately, there are many more incidents like those listed above.  These real examples do indicate a very strong case for the use of a nanny cam.  The use of a nanny cam is not limited to monitoring the care of an infant.  The use of a nanny cam can not only protect children but may be able to support a nanny or baby sitter when children make untruthful claims of abuse to their parents.  The bottom dollar is anytime it’s necessary to keep track of who’s watching who the nanny camera setup is an excellent choice.  And the camera doesn’t lie.

What Exactly is a Nanny Cam?

A nanny cam is a digital video camera that may be hidden, disguised, or even fully exposed  and is used to monitor the day to day activities of your nanny and child(ren).  There may be one or more cameras based on the type of coverage you desire.  For example some parents feel comfortable placing just one camera in the child’s room, nursery, or play area.  Others prefer to have coverage in just about every room in the house; the choice is yours and with today’s high tech cameras and Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) it is not only possible but economically feasible as well so the average family can easily afford a digital video surveillance system.

How Do Nanny Cams (or Cameras) Work?

The following is a brief description of the technical aspect of typical digital video camera:

Digital video surveillance and security cameras have gone through many changes over the past few years and are ever changing with the increases in technology.  Older systems used strictly analog cameras with analog video recorders.  A bit of irony exists today because “digital” video cameras today still produce an analog image but it is converted to a digital image before it leaves the camera.

Nanny cams basically consist of three major components: 1. The lens; 2. The sensor chip; and, the Integrated Circuitry (IC) or IC chip.

Let’s begin our description with the lens.  The lens’ primary function is to capture light reflected from objects in its field of view and focus them onto the tiny sensor chip that converts the light energy into electrical energy.  Lenses may be specified as fixed or varifocal.  A fixed lens cannot move and the angle of vision or field of vision is fixed at one particular size.   A varifocal lens can move in and out changing its focal length and thereby changing the angle of the field of vision from wide to tight.

The aperture is also considered part of the lens.  The aperture is diaphragm type hole that the light must pass through as well.  This is for controlling the amount of light focusing on the sensor chip.  Generally, a very bright shot requires a small aperture so the shot is not completely washed out with light.  Under conditions when there is not enough light, the aperture opens fully to let as much light in as possible.

Once the light passes through the lens and aperture it strikes a photoreceptive sensor.   There are actually two different sensors that are available for use when manufacturing a nanny cam.  Each works in a different way yet they bear the exact same results; transferring light energy into electrical energy that can be measured.

One of the sensors is called a Charged Coupled Device or CCD and the other is called a Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor or CMOS.  Each of these sensors come in different sizes but for a typical high-quality nanny cam they are usually 1/4 or 1/3 inch square.  As the focused light strikes the surface of the CCD or the CMOS the sensor transfers the light energy into electrical energy which can be measured and manipulated to create a digital video image that can be viewed on a monitor.

The camera is basically the same as a camera that creates photographic images.  The difference is the nanny cam takes several photographic images, usually from 7 to 30 per second, also called frames per second or fps.  At 30 fps the human brain is fooled into thinking that it is seeing fluid motion.  This is the same concept that has been used for years in the motion picture industry.

On inherent quality of both the CCD and the CMOS is that they are also sensitive to Infrared Radiation, specifically IR in the near zone of the IR spectrum.  This means that by using IR Light Emitting Diodes as spot lights, these cameras can “see” in total darkness.  The human eye however, cannot see the light created by the IR LEDs which makes these cameras excellent for monitoring dark rooms.

The DVR

The DVR for a nanny cam can be a typical DVR that is used with a complete system or the camera may contain a “built in” DVR so that the camera and DVR is all one self-contained unit such as the pen camera.  The ink pen camera is a working ink pen, a camera, and a DVR all in one unit (this is a good example of how technology is used in the video surveillance industry).  When the user is ready to review the video footage they plug the pen into a USB port on their computer and sit back and watch the footage.

Other camera/DVR single units may use SD cards, Mini cards, USB Flash drives, and other portable memory media as their DVRs.

What Camera Do I Use?

Security Camera King has many hidden or disguised cameras that make excellent nanny cams. Below is a partial list of just some of the cameras or camera/DVR combinations available:

  • Button cameras – this cameras are actual buttons an come with extra buttons that are the same type as the one used on the camera to complete its total disguise;
  • Phillips head screw camera – That’s right a camera the size of an average screw head!
  • Desktop speaker camera – These look and work like typical computer desktop speakers but with one difference, one speaker has a camera inside;
  • Wall clock and alarm clock cameras;
  • A wall heater/air conditioning thermostat–although the thermostat does not actually work the hidden camera inside does;
  • Circular vanity mirror with touch activation;
  • Carbon monoxide or smoke alarms – these units usually don’t work as alarms but the do a great job of hiding the camera; and
  • Telephones and even a Tissue Box with embedded cameras.

Of course this is not a complete list of available cameras from Security Camera King but it should give you a good idea of what is available.

This still doesn’t answer the question as to what camera to use, but at least you have a better idea of what is available.  First, you need to determine how extensive your nanny cam coverage will be so you know how many cameras you will need to do the job.  As mentioned earlier, it can be a s few as one camera or as many as several.

The next step is to determine if they will be overt or covert cameras.  If your monitoring is overt standard box, bullet, or dome cameras would be sufficient.  On the other hand, if your coverage is going to be covert, you need to consider what type of disguised or hidden camera will satisfy each location.

If you determine that you only need one camera, a standalone hidden camera/DVR unit may be the answer.  However, if you desire entire home coverage with say, 8 cameras, it may be best to install a digital video security and surveillance system with a full-service 8 camera DVR.

And finally a word of caution.  Each state has different laws governing the use of cameras and especially audio recorders without the subject’s knowledge.  Make sure you confirm your state’s laws before attempting to record anyone covertly.  This doesn’t mean that you can’t record improper or criminal activity but planned, deliberate, covert recording may require special concessions on the part of the person recording.

As you can see, with a little guidance and pre-planning setting up your own nanny cam really isn’t difficult to do.  If you do encounter problems contact Security Camera King’s security experts and they’ll be glad to answer any questions you may have and get you up and running fast.

If you neeed more information on nanny cams contact one of Security Camera Kings security experts and they will answer any additional questions you may have.

 

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Micro DVRs

Written By:
Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Micro DVRsThere are certain applications for surveillance and security where a “standard” Digital Video Recorder or DVR is just too large.  For these applications the best choice is a micro DVR.  Micro DVRs can be so small as to fit inside the casing of an ink pen.  Let’s take a look at a digital video system that uses standard size DVRs first, and then take a look at micro DVRs.

A standard DVR is about the size of DVD player.  The front of the DVR has buttons and switches to control the actions of the DVR.  The back of the DVR is where all the connections are made to cameras and other items.

A typical DVR has space for at least one hard disk drive; some have room for 3 or more plus a CD/DVD writer.  Like the camera, the DVR has Integrated Circuit (IC) chips dedicated solely to digital imaging.  These chips are known as Digital Signal Processors or DSPs.  Most standard DVRs these days also come with several other features that may or may not take up more space inside the DVR.

The DVR’s recording and storage unit is the “hard drive” also known as a Hard Digital Drive or HDD.  This hard drive is a relatively large device when compare to things like IC chips.   The hard drive contains magnetic plates that are written on by a magnetic head.   Since the device is digital the only thing the disk contains is a series of 0s and 1s.

The hard drive actually spins the platters (disks) usually about 7200 RPM while the magnetic head does the writing.  These are great for storing large amounts of data. However they are very intricate as well.  The space between the magnetic head and the platter is less than that of the thickness of a human hair.  This typically means that these devices are very sensitive and were not designed to take a lot bumping, vibrating, and the like.

In contrast, micro DVRs are very small.  There are no moving parts on a micro DVR.  That’s because micro DVRs use RAM (Random Access Memory) memory instead.  There are no moving parts on micro DVR because they do use RAM type memory.  The data is saved on RAM which has no moving parts.

This used to make micro DVRs nearly impossible to own because of the incredibly expensive RAM memory storage devices that include SD cards, Flash thumb drives, mini SDs, etc.  However, great strides have been made in RAM memory technology and today it is not cost prohibitive to purchase an SD card with 8 gigabytes of storage room.

In addition, video images can be incredibly large.  That’s because a video image is really nothing more than a digital picture taken many times in succession in a short period of time.  Typically, smooth video is obtained by taking from 15 to 30 pictures a second.  Let’s consider how much memory would be needed for just one hour of uncompressed video.  Most photographs these days run about 1 megabyte in size so will use this figure for our calculation:

1 MB (per picture) X 30 pictures (also called frames) per second X 60 seconds in 1 minute X 60 Minutes = 108,000 MB for one hour of video

However technology has also greatly improved in another area as well.  In addition to storage the micro DVR and even a standard DVR normally compress the files by using a CODEC (COmpression/DECompression) utility.  A CODEC shrinks the size of the video file while maintaining high quality of the video itself.  It does this by using special mini programs called algorithms that save space by not repeating the same objects.   For example, if a picture is taken of a football game with the sky in the back ground, the sky usually doesn’t change it’s appearance much.  A CODEC only saves information for the sky one time there fore reducing the overall size of the video image.

Micro DVRs take advantage of this as much as possible to extend their recording times on the portable recording media.

Where are micro DVRs used?  You’ll most likely find micro DVRs on all small specialty cameras such as hidden or disguised cameras.  Some of these camera are so small they do not have the option of saving their data on portable media that can be removed and replaced.  These cameras usually have a USB patch cord that they connect to almost any computer to download their files so they can be watched on the computer.

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