Posts Tagged ‘ DVR’



Frame Rate vs Resolution in Security DVRs – Which is More Important

Written By:
Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

When configuring a DVR a very common question is what is the difference between frame rate and resolution and which is more important to have at a higher rate? Of course my answer is it depends… Both are very important but, depending on what you want to use the cameras for is which is more important than the other.

Now to begin you really need to understand what frame rate is. We will take a trip back in time to the 1800’s when cameras were first invented. They only took one picture at a time. The mechanism and film were designed that way. It was a physical limitation for decades. It was tedious and horribly long with the extra processing steps. You had to have fairly dangerous chemicals to actually develop the pictures. To take a picture, people had to stand as perfectly still as possible, because the camera’s shutter speed was so slow and the film need exposure times of ten minutes to an hour depending on the film. As film paper became more sensitive to light it reacted faster, so shutter speeds eventually had to be faster. I remember in the 1980’s the hot thing was Kodak High speed film. What set them apart from everybody else for a few years was Kodak figured out a way to get the film paper extremely sensitive. Coupled with cameras that had extremely fast shutter speeds Kodak figured out to how to take out the blur you may get when objects are moving. The pictures coming out of the Olympics that year were amazing there were no blur and the images extremely crisp. The faster shutter speed means a camera can take more pictures per second. Better film allowed for this by being more responsive to less light. A fact that is not well known by people is that the faster the shutter speed the less light comes in the iris which will create dim images.

Resolution is a separate aspect of the image compared to frame rate. CIF is 320 X 240 pixels. 2CIF is 720 X 240 pixels. 2CIF is a wider image than CIF depending on the need is if you would pick the wider shot or standard CIF. VGA is 640 X 480 pixels. D1 is 720 X 480 pixels. As image processing has improved the pixels have increased. With more pixels the colors become more vibrant and the images more clear. To better understand the clarity parts pixels are a very tiny piece of the puzzle known as your picture. The more pixels you can get the smaller the piece gets to represent that part of the picture. The down side is that this increases the need for better hardware to handle the increased load of imaging, which of course drives the price higher. That said the saying, “you get what you pay for”, could not be truer with DVR systems.

Resolution Comparisons

Now that we understand what both frame rate and resolution really are we can determine which is more important per the application. A few months ago I was helping a customer that had a DVR-EL4120ME. This DVR is capable of all the analog resolutions and the D1 at 7 frame rate but CIF at 30 frames per second. . I will say “John” was using this system to monitor a manufacturing process. The issue he was running into was that he was getting blurry images so he called his tech support GURU Daniel (that’s me). He goes on to describe what he is doing and the images he is getting. I logged into his system to see what he described. His process was happening so fast that he was not really getting an image of what he wanted, so I asked what is more important the resolution or frame rate. John said, “Gee I really don’t know. I thought resolution but with the images I’m getting I need help.” I told him no problem I have the knowledge to get it right. Instead of running the DVR at D1 and 7 frames per second, let’s adjust the system to CIF at 30 frames per second. POOF!!! Just like that the conveyor belt that was carrying some electronic device to be soldered could be seen. It was not about seeing exactly what was being soldered but making sure the robotic arm was hitting the part in time as it passed by. In minutes I was able to take John from not being that satisfied of a customer to being ecstatic about his equipment.

An example of the resolution being more important than frame rate is in monitoring your cash register. In many if not all retail environments keeping a close eye on the money is important. Typically people are not moving at warp speed so they do not look like a blur on camera. Giving way to frames per second while boosting resolution. Being able to make out the print on the one hundred, twenty, ten, five, and one dollar bills is important. People make mistakes on both sides of the register. The clerk gave the wrong change, the customer paid with the wrong bill etc. Now all of a sudden being able to make out the print is a big deal, so you know without a doubt who gave what to who.

Cash register

I can tell you having a customer have a meltdown at the main register is really not good so, as a manager you need a way to quickly defuse the situation before it carries over to other customers. Having your DVR configured to the highest resolution lets you see the 10, the 20, the 50, and 100 dollar bills. You can go back to where the DVR is setup, review the footage and know with confidence what happened or who made the mistake. Also, you can show the customer in real time “who” made the mistake.

Now you know the difference between resolution to frame rate and in which applications makes either feature more important. Should you run into a scenario when you are not able to compromise, IP cameras typically are the way to go. They support the mega pixel resolutions which are considerable higher than analog as well as 30 frame rate per second.

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How to optimize your DVR for Recording

Written By:
Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Many customers always ask questions about how to make the DVR more efficient. A lot of these questions are related to recording space, motion detection and bandwidth.

Today I will write about some of the settings I consider the most important to make your DVR more efficient, from disc capacity, motion detection and quality of recording.

DVR-LT04120-Front-350

How many days you want to store?

Having an Idea of how many days you want to get from a security system is crucial, because it will determine how much space is required to accomplish your recording day goals.

I always picture the storage size I need based on the amount of cameras I am installing in the DVR, also where they are going to be installed. The reason for this is because having cameras installed in places where there is a lot of movement it means more storage will be used, therefore more space is required.

Another variable I will take into account is the resolution and how should I be recording in the DVR;  Fundamentally you have 2 options, based on motion or continuous record (24/7 non stop)

Motion Detection, Alarm and Continuous Recording

All of our DVRs have the capability of using different types of schedule recording. You can, in theory record using different methods depending of your needs, i.e you could configure your DVR to record on motion, continuous, at certain times, a combination of both or even when an external alarm is triggered if connected to the DVR.

Motion is the common type of recording that customers choose when setting up the DVR and this will be the best scenario when it comes to save space and achieve your goal.

You could also save more space by configuring the DVR to record only when alarms are triggered then have a camera activate video recording when these devices get triggered. This is ideal for areas that no one is supposed to be there, such as a private vault or an office, where they need to open a door or pass through an area that will force to activate the alarm contact. This is ONLY ideal for those cases where you don’t want people to know that you are recording and there are no camera or visible alarms.

Continuous recording are considered the most hard drive space consuming when it comes to saving space. The system will record regardless if there is any object in front of the camera or if a camera is connected physically to the DVR. This method on the other hand is used in specific areas such as banks and heavy pedestrian traffic.

How to avoid false motion detection events?

Many times you will get false motion detection creating empty files in your drive and when searching for events like this can be very difficult because they are just like regular motion events. To minimized these types of false motion events there are a few settings we can adjust to reduce false events.

Anti Dither:

Anti-dither is a feature that is been around for decades and its function is to delay a trigger. To explain this much better imagine that you are going to take a picture and you setup a timer in your camera. In CCTV when DVRs are configured by motions you can set each camera to have a delay when something is on front of it. By having this set to 5 seconds as a test, then the object that will eventually trigger motion needs to be on front of the camera or in frame for 5 seconds for the DVR to realize that there is something in there. After this threshold is met then the camera will activate its motion feature then it will start recording.

Sensitivity:

Sensitivity is a parameter that will help you adjust how the camera senses motion based on object size. The lower the sensitivity the bigger the object needs to be and also the closer it needs to be of the camera to be detected. The higher the sensitivity level of the camera, the smaller the object is needed to trigger motion.

Region or Mask: 

When it comes to avoiding any type of false motion events, using region on a DVR will do the trick. This is basically setting spots on a check marked frame that you want to have no detection at all. Imagine the camera is installed in your backyard and is looking at trees in the background. Your crucial breaking points where possible intruders could get in is in the foreground of the same area. Then when trees move it will cause a lot of motion events just because of the fact that there are changes in the pixels, therefore the DVR will recognize that as a motion event. One thing you can do is use region to mask the background area where the trees are and the camera will basically omit that region in the image. Also notice that if motion is triggered in the foreground area and it meets the threshold of the Anti-dither, then you will have a motion event with the trees in the background as well. In another words, region does not remove part of the video if motion is detected, instead is just an algorithm that tells the DVR to not detect anything within the region.

Below a video that demonstrate how to mask an area:

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

The biggest challenge of motion detection configuration is to find the settings that do not produce false alarms and at the same time do not miss any actual intrusions. The rule of thumb is: the sensitivity should be as high as possible while not producing false alarms and also adjusting the sensitivity according to the environment. The default sensitivity level of our Security Camera Kind DVRs is 3 (on a scale of 0-6) and it is a good setting for most standard cases.

Follow this link to find a great calculator to figure out what storage size you need for your DVR and NVR.

CCTV HARD DRIVE CALCULATOR HERE

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How to configure TechproSS to display motion events when motion is detected

Written By:
Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Monitor Motion with TechproSS For Windows

Wouldn’t it be nice if you can get a separate window in your monitoring system that will display Motion events when they are triggered? Well, look no further because you can do it with our Client Software TechproSS For Windows if connected to a DVR, NVR and even and IP camera.

In this article I will show you how to setup this feature using one of our DVRs.

Video Detection Events

This feature on TechproSS For Windows allows you to see alarm events when they are triggered. The software is also capable of displaying events when there is video lost (Camera goes Blank) and video masking (Front of the camera gets covered by hands or spray).

You will have the option to display these events in the main window, or a separate window if you like. The window popup that is dedicated to show the alarm events will never go full screen, therefore you may want to set the video in the main window instead.

Where to download and Install TechproSS For Windows

You can download the latest version of TechproSS For Windows here.

Install TechproSS For Windows and click the desktop shortcut to run the software. The default user and password of the software is admin.

NOTE: This password is not the one that you use to access your DVR, it is just to access the software alone.

TechProSS-Login Screen
TechProSS-Main Screen

How to add a New Device to TechproSS

In this example we are going to add our 16ch Ultimate Mini DVR (DVR-LT16480MHD) to the Software.

Click on “Setting Manage”, “Device Manage”, on the right side menu.\

TechProSS-Device Manage

In the Device Manager, click the “Add” button.

TechProSS-Device Manager Screen

Enter the Title of the DVR and an optional description.

Enter the IP or Domain Name of the DVR, and the Port Number.

Select “DVR” from the “Type” drop down box.

Enter the user and password for login, and also enter the password in the “Confirm password” box.

Click “Save” to add the new device and “Ok” to close Device Manager.

TechproSS-Device Manage Screen2

Your DVR is now added and you can watch Live Video.

Test and connect to your DVR.

Click on “Device List” on the right side menu to show the list of devices.

TechProSS-Device List

To login simply double-click the name of your DVR. Another way to login is right-click and “Login”.

Once logged in, the red mark on the icon will disappear and a list of cameras and alarms will be available.

TechProSS-Device List Expanded

To view the live video, select the first video window, right-click on a device and then choose “Main Stream” or “Extra Stream”. This will load all cameras from that device into the video windows and will connect using the selected stream type.

TechProSS-Device List Extra Stream

Another way to add the cameras to the window is by dragging the device into the first video window to load all cameras; this will connect in “Main Stream” by default. Or you could select each video window individually and choose “Main Stream” or “Extra Stream” for the camera you want to add.

TechProSS-Drag and Drop

To logout right-click on your DVR’s name, “Logout”, or just exit the Software.

How to configure Alarm Monitoring

Click on “Config Manager”, “Alarm Config”, on the right side menu.

TechProSS-Alarm Config

Select the “Arm/Disarm” tab in the “Alarm Config” window.

TechProSS-Arm-Disarm

In the “Add arm by type” frame check the “Motion Detect” box.
Select your device and check “Motion Detect” for each channel you want to activate. Do the same if you have multiple devices.

Select the “Activation Strategy” tab in the “Alarm Config” window. Select a device channel to be activated by clicking the + next to the device name.

TechProSS-Activation Strategy

In the “Type” drop down box select “Motion Detect” (default).

In the “Activation action” frame select the “Channel” to activate when there is a motion detection event for this device channel. For example, if channel 1 picks up motion you can have it activate channel 1 from this device or any channel from any device. You can add multiple channels to be activated.

Set the default video “Window” for this channel. This will auto adjust based on the activation order. For example, if channel 1 and 2 are set to window 1 and 2 and both are activated then they will be in the windows you selected. If only channel 2 is activated then channel 2 will be in window 1.

Change the “Stay time” to the length of time for the activated video to stay open. Click the “Add” button to add the action.

To edit an existing action double click on the action in the list, make changes, and then click “Modify”.

Click “Apply” to save the changes to.

Check “Alarm arm enable” to start the video monitoring, and click “Ok” to exit.

This will be the default action when the software starts up.

TechProSS-Alarm arm enable

NOTE – logout and then log back in to the device to enable the changes

Optionally you can use the Top menu or the System Tray menu to arm the alarm.

These menu options are linked to the global settings in the “Alarm Config”.

If “Motion Detect” is unchecked it will also disable all motion events.

TechProSS-Motion Detect

TechproSS Alarm Window

By default the alarm video will show in a dedicated pop-up window.

TechProSS-Alarm Video Default

To change the Alarm Video window settings click the “Config” icon, and select “Option”.

To use the main window instead of the pop-up then uncheck “Use pop-up window to display alarm video”.

To set multi-view for the alarm video, change “Alarm video window amount” to your desired multi-view.

TechProSS-Alarm Record Basic Setup

Set all devices to login on startup (optional).

TechProSS-Login All devices

Click “Ok” to save the changes.

Restart the Software (Close the software and open it again).

To show the alarm pop-up window manually you can use the Top menu or the System Tray menu.

You can also click on “Tools”, “Alarm Video”, on the right side menu.

TechProSS-Tools-Alarm Video

I hope this article helps you create this simple task to maximize the productivity of this feature.

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How to use the Alarm Outputs on your Security DVR

Written By:
Monday, March 17th, 2014

The DVR is commonly used or mostly used as a recording device for Video surveillance, some DVRs have Audio Inputs (almost everyone now days), but your unit also may come with extra outputs to execute actions like turn lights on, unlatch doors, open the garage of your house, etc.

These outputs are located in the back of your DVR, and can be NO (Normally Open), or NC (Normally Closed). The NO output (Normally Open) means the initial state of the output position before activation, in this case there will be no continuity between connection points while the output is not activated; once the output is energized, there will be continuity between both connection points. Normally Closed output has the inverted effect, meaning there will be continuity between connection points while the output is inactive, and once the output is active it will be no continuity between the connection points. Keep in mind that these outputs are no power supplied, meaning they don’t supply power from the contacts, so you can use them as contacts to control external powered circuits; also, this contacts have certain tolerance, from 0.25 to 2 Amps, depending on the model of your DVR and the type of voltage you are using.

For example, if you want to unlatch a door at your office, you will need an external 12VDC Power Supply, a 12VDC Electrical Strike, and 18/2 AWG cable. You will have to mount the Electrical Strike at the door, run 18/2 AWG cable from the Electrical Strike to the location of your DVR, connect one wire of the 18/2 cable to one of the connection points on the NO output of your DVR, and the other wire to the negative side of the 12VDC Power Supply, and run 1 wire (preferable red) from the positive lead of the 12VDC Power Supply, to the other connection point of the NO output you are using from your DVR (see figure 1)

DVR Alarm Outputs

These outputs can be used for different applications like turning lights on or off in front or back yards, operate garage doors, temporarily deactivate or activate sensors like motion detectors or door switches. Best of all, these output can be program to interact with the cameras, for example you can activate an output every time the camera motion detection is activated, so if the camera detects movement, automatically will activate the output, and if you are trying to protect an area (for example, your backyard) you can connect a 12VDC relay to one of the outputs of your DVR, to energize a loud horn, so it will scary anything away, or if you may want to allow your pet to get into certain area of your house ( example given, the screen patio, or Florida room) you can have the output deactivate the motion sensor or the door contact of your alarm for this area, so it won’t activate the alarm.

Because of the low amperage resistance and the limited voltage capability of these outputs, they cannot be operated on circuits of more than 24VDC, and cannot be operated in AC voltage. The good news is that if you need to control an AC powered circuit with one of your DVR outputs, you can do it by using an External 12VDC or 24VDC Relay that can handle AC voltage on its contacts. The connection is a little bit more complex, but you still saving money by using the outputs on your DVR, instead of buying expensive controllers.

For instance, if you want to control the garage door at your house, the first thing you need to do is check the garage door controller manual to find out if the openers are 12VDC, 24VDC or 24VAC operated control circuits. If they are 12VDC or 24VDC operated circuits, you can used a 12VDC or 24VDC External Power Supply, and the same circuit show on figure 1, but you will replace the Electrical Strike for the points of connection for signal input at your garage door controller. If you garage door uses 24VAC for the control section of the garage door, you will need to get a 12VDC Relay that can handle AC voltage on its throttle, and a 24VAC Power Supply, to supply the voltage needed to control the garage door (see figure 2).

DVR Alarm Outputs

One of the most interesting applications I have seen using these outputs, is the utilization of one of these outputs to control the activation and deactivation of an AC system inside an office, where the AC unit will activate only if the camera see motion detection on the entrance of the building, and will give a deactivation signal after certain amount of time, by programming the temporizer in the thermostat of the unit, or if the DVR comes with the option, give certain amount of activation time to the output.

Some DVRs are also equipped with Alarm Inputs, which give you the option of adding devices to activate alerts and buzzers on the DVR, or you can redirect these inputs to activate an output, every time the device connected to the input of the DVR (example, motion detector) activate this input.

Just like the Domestic Burglar and Fire Alarms now days that come with Video and Audio Inputs, to connect cameras and microphones over the Alarm system, like Comcast Home Security Systems, the DVR gives you the option to connect no only Surveillance Cameras, but Motion Sensors, Door switches and contacts, microphones, and it gives you alerts every time one of these devices is activated.

Our DVRs come with these particular outputs, and one of the biggest advantage we have, is the ability to control these outputs over the network, so you can execute actions anywhere you have your computer or laptop, and an internet connection. It is also available in the Apps used on your smart-phone, so these outputs can be controlled anytime, and anywhere with a touch of the screen on your mobile device.

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What is the Difference Between Analog, HD-CVI, and IP Security Cameras Systems?

Written By:
Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

What is the difference HDCVI, DVR, and IP NVR
Security camera systems come in many different forms and its best to know the difference between them all to help decide what system works best. Here at Security Camera King we sell three different types of technologies. They all have their advantages and disadvantages and just like everything else the more advantages you get with a system can come at a price. Starting at our lower end models is our Analogue cameras which have been the pioneer of security cameras and have served us well. Going to the top is our IP camera systems which produce high definition quality picture and is becoming a standard in the security camera world. Then right in the middle is our HD-CVI camera system which utilizes Analogs existing cable technology but delivers the same picture quality as our IP systems. Given the different options of security camera systems to choose from can give a little confusion but once broken down and dissected will turn confusion into knowledge and help make the right choice for a security system.

When security cameras became popular the first technology was called Analog. These systems worked by using coaxial cable to transmit signals from the camera to a recording device such as a VCR or more relevant a DVR. This technology has worked well for years and is still around today. The benefits of Analog are that its cheaper than most other systems, it is very reliable, and has many options of cameras and DVR’s. Analog is considerably cheaper then and IP or HD-SDI system and still gets the job done. To put in perspective, the difference in cost, if placed side by side a comparable 8ch Analog system and a 8ch HD-SDI system you will spend over 50% less on a Analog system. You won’t get the same picture quality but if you’re looking for a dependable video security system that will provide you a quality picture then this is the best option. The reliability of Analog systems is considerably higher than other systems because of the technology it uses and how it has been perfected for years. They increase in dependability if they are installed correctly and if quality cable was used during the install. The last benefit of Analog camera systems is that they have a wide verity of cameras and DVR combinations to help fit your budget. Cameras can have different technologies that can help with license plate capture or allow you to see at night with a technology called Infrared light and DVR’s can allow you to record at better resolution and faster frame rates. Analog is not the top choice but can give reliability and more options than most other systems out there.

IP stands for “Internet Protocol” which is the next camera system on the list and for most would be the best system for the money. IP camera systems work by using a standard Ethernet cable to connect several cameras together to your LAN “Local Area Network” in your house. What’s nice about IP cameras is that you don’t have to use a recording device on the other end to operate them, they all consist of their own web based program that can be accessed through your computer or a phone for viewing or local camera recording. IP cameras have the most sophisticated technology that gives them ability to achieve these types of operations. If the need to record your footage we sell NVR’s “Network Video Recorders” that allow you to connect up to 128 cameras to a single recorder. It also make it a central viewing station for all of the cameras you set up instead of logging into each individual camera. The cameras themselves can have different types of lenses which gives it the ability to view far away objects without distortion or view a wide shot for more coverage. The best thing about IP camera system is that you can record at a high resolution. In some cases you can record as high as 10 Megapixels! That’s 5x the size as your standard 1080p HD TV. With that picture you can digitally zoom into a video with little to no distortion. There are also other benefits to IP camera systems like POE “Power Over Ethernet” which allows you to use one cable (Ethernet cable) to send power and data to avoid the use of and additional power cable. Doing so can save you time and money for installations and repairs. IP camera systems are becoming more affordable every day and will eventually become the standard in security cameras.

Getting the best shot is what most people are looking for in a security camera system and this can be achieve using the same technology as out predecessor the Analog camera system. HD-CVI can give you the reliability and price of a Analog system but the picture quality of an IP camera system. There are also a lot more benefits to using a HD-CVI camera system for example you can transfer video, audio, and data all through the same coaxial cable. This is something that is possible through IP but new to Analog. This is a benefit because it will save you on wiring and time with configurations on each unit. It also makes it possible to control the OSD functions of the camera at the DVR source. This makes it easier to manage your fixed cameras as well as PTZ’s (Pan Tilt Zoom) The biggest advantage is you can record at 720p resolution ,normally found on a IP camera system, for over half the cost. It is a growing technology but shows its true potential in the field.

Knowing the products and technologies in the security camera industry can give you the upper hand in selling or for personal use. Analog gives you reliability and options all at a reasonable price. IP producing quality picture and on the move to becoming an industry standard. Last but not least HD-CVI which gives you most of the benefits of IP with a similar cost to Analog. Now that its broken down you can digest the information to make the best choice.

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