Posts Tagged ‘ motion detection ’

Security Video Cameras

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Security video cameras are one of three major components of today’s digital video security systems which also consist of a Digital Video Recorder or DVR and one or more monitors.  The digital video camera is an interesting piece of electronic wonder, and as technology continues to advance so do the features and abilities of the security video camera.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how a security video camera operates.  We’ll also take a look at some of the more common features and options that are available on today’s digital video security cameras.

Security video cameras are electronic based devices that transfer light images into electrical images that can be viewed on a monitor.   One of the key factors in accomplishing this is the electronic sensor that is used inside the camera to do the conversion.  Cameras make use of one of two different technologies with either one yielding the same end result.


These sensors are called a Charged Coupled Device or CCD and a Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor or CMOS.  The lenses focus the light image onto this small sensor chip (most range from about 1/4 inch 1/2 inch square).  The chip is sensitive to light energy in such a way that when light strikes the chip and electrical impulse is created that can be measured and used to construct a video image.

Ironically, even in digital security video cameras, the video signal that is created is originally analog in nature.   The signal is passed through a special Integrated Circuit or IC chip known as a analog-to-digital converter as well as a Digital Signal Processor or DSP before it is sent out the camera to the DVR.  In most systems the signal is sent along a cable (RG-59, CAT5, etc) from the camera directly to the DVR or monitor; hence the often used phrase “Closed Circuit TeleVision” or CCTV.

Once the video data reaches the DVR, it must be worked on some more by the DVRs DSP.  The data is gathered or compiled into a file called a digital video file.  Security video cameras create digital video files that can be played back by most personal computers and DVD players.  This digital video file is actually several digital photographs taken in raped succession over a very short time (usually around 30 photographs or frames per second or 30 fps).

The digital video file can quickly become several Gigabytes in size, especially when there are multiple cameras (which is usually the norm) recording at the same time.  There fore to make handling of the file easier for the processor and to get the maximum amount of time-recording per given storage capacity, the file is reduced to a fraction of its original size.

This is done by a COmpression/DECompression or CODEC utility.  The utility may be hardwired (usually an IC chip) or it may exist in the form of software.  Basically, a CODEC is a mathematical algorithm that finds a way to store repetitive data only once, thereby reducing file size while maintaining video quality.  Security Camera King’s DVRs all use the latest, most efficient CODEC known as H.264.

Security video cameras come in a variety of shapes, sizes, features, and price ranges.  Covering all of these variations is by far, beyond the capacity of this article, however we will attempt to try to cover some of the more popular characteristics.  If you would like additional more specific information on a camera variation, try searching our knowledge base for more information.


There are basically four types of security video cameras based on shape.  They are:

  • Box cameras;
  • Bullet cameras;
  • Dome cameras; and,
  • A variety of different hidden or disguised cameras that take the shape of the device they are built into.

These cameras are further made in one of three different styles based on where they are intended to be used.  These are:

  • Indoor cameras;
  • Outdoor cameras; and,
  • Indoor/Outdoor cameras.

In addition, cameras can come with a myriad of features.  Depending on the manufacturer and camera model, some features may be considered standard issue for the camera while others will be considered an option, usually with an additional cost:

  • Infrared night vision;
  • Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ);
  • Motion detection;
  • Very high resolution output;
  • Audio capability;
  • Internet compatible;
  • Explosion proof; and,
  • Wireless.

Generally speaking, if you have a specific security video camera need, there’s one out there that can nicely fit the bill.


Night Vision Wireless Security Camera

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Tired of not being able to see things that go “bump” in the dark? If that’s the case, you need a night vision wireless security camera. These cameras take advantage of the latest technology in digital camera security systems, are easy to install, and are reasonably priced as well.

Can a night vision wireless security camera actually “see” in the dark? Well, indirectly the answer is yes. Although the camera doesn’t actually “see” in the dark, it uses infrared illumination to light the target area of the camera. This infrared illumination is actually invisible to the human eye, so we can’t see it, but the camera can. Before we get ahead of ourselves let’s back up and start at the beginning.

There are many types of digital video security cameras based on appearance and function. The night vision wireless security camera is one of those types that contains highly specialized features for highly specialized applications. Some of the other optional features that are available include the following:

• Pan-Tilt-Zoom or PTZ. This feature allows the camera to move “left and right” and “up and down” which greatly increases the field of vision of the camera. This camera can also “zoom in” on objects to enlarge their view.
• Motion Detection. Camera can come equipped with motion detectors that turn the camera recording on only when motion is detected.
• Audio Recording. Sounds can also be recorded as well as conducting two-way audio communication.
• Internet Protocol or IP ready. Cameras can connect to and use the Internet for networking.

Let’s keep the “focus” (pun intended) on a night vision wireless security camera. First, the camera operates by transferring light images into electronic impulses that can be measured to create digital video images. In digital video language, this transferring of images is normally referred to as “capturing.”

The night vision wireless security camera captures images by using a very special electronic sensor. There are actually two different types of sensors and although they capture images in a slightly different way, they both produce the same end result (a digital video image.) One of the sensors is a Charged Coupled Device or CCD and the other is a Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor or CMOS.

It just so happens, that both CCDs and CMOSs are inherently sensitive to not only the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation we call “visible light” but are also sensitive to infrared radiation or “invisible infrared light.” (We call it invisible because as mentioned earlier, the human eye cannot see it.) Specifically, most night vision wireless security cameras are inherently sensitive to a band of infrared radiation called “near infrared radiation” or for our purpose, we’ll call infrared illumination.

So where does the infrared illumination originate? There are some small amounts that are emitted (or radiated) from objects, especially heat and light sources. However, a night vision wireless security camera normally provides its own illumination using an array of infrared Light Emitting Diodes or LEDs that surround the camera lens or are right next to it pointing in the direction of the camera’s field of vision.

The infrared LEDs use much less electricity than a typical filament light, and the illumination they emit can’t be seen by humans but can be detected by the night vision wireless security camera. There are some camera/systems that do not include LEDs around the lens but may use separate infrared LED “illuminators.” These illuminators can also be used with cameras that do already have LEDs to extend their range.

This brings us to an important point. Since the LEDs provide the illumination for the night vision wireless security camera, every camera has a range. Be certain before purchasing your camera that you know what range you will require and that the camera you are purchasing can capture images within that range.

Finally, as the name indicates, a night vision wireless security camera does not require a video transmission cable to be run from each camera to the DVR as other non-wireless systems do. The camera takes advantage of one of many different types of wireless technologies to send its images via radio waves to a receiver or a DVR with a built-in receiver. One example of this technology is 2.4 or 5.8 MHz technology; the same used for wireless land-line based telephones. Talk about making installation easy!

Contact one of our security experts via our on-line “Live Chat” or via telephone if you have any additional questions concerning a night vision wireless security camera.


Church Security Systems and Surveillance

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Have you considered protecting your places of worship with church security systems? Although a church building is sacred ground, unfortunately it is also a fairly popular target of burglaries and vandalism. However, with a church security system you can deter criminal acts and document them with video recordings if need be.

Whether the location is an urban or rural area, churches are a target for criminal acts, most likely because they may be empty for a scheduled extended period of time. Nothing fits a burglar’s or vandal’s time schedule better than an unguarded building with no people in it at a specified time. As a result, churches often are “targeted” by criminal intruders.

Digital video church security systems can help deter crime and provide police, insurance companies, and courts with evidence of the crime. Digital video security systems have become very popular in the last several years due to their affordable price and wide range of optional features.

Often, just the presence of digital video cameras is enough to deter a potential vandal or burglar. Add a 24/7 professional monitoring service, and your digital video church security system now acts as a burglar alarm as well. In fact, there are many ways to utilize digital video systems as burglar alarms.

A basic digital video church security system consists of one to several cameras, a Digital Video Recorder or DVR and a monitor. The digital video cameras capture images and sends them as digital video data to the DVR. The DVR, which also contains a digital video computer processor, compiles the data into a digital video file. The file can then be viewed on the monitor in real-time (live) and/or stored on the DVR for future use.

There are many types of digital video cameras that can be purchased with optional features to specifically meet your church security system needs. Since a church is often left unoccupied for several hours at a time, perhaps one of the best options would be a camera with a motion detector.

The motion detector is a Passive InfraRed (PIR) sensor that detects motion by changes in infrared radiation in the cameras field of view. The PIR sensor is built into the body of the camera and is attached to a relay that turns the camera’s video recording on. After the motion ceases or after a specified period of time with no motion detection, the video recording stops.

A church security system that utilizes cameras with motion detectors has many advantages. One advantage of this system, is that the motion detector camera conserves DVR storage by only recording when motion is detected. This means that, depending on the capacity of the DVR and the system, the hard disk drive can store several days to weeks of video.

Video files are stored on a DVR in sequence so that when the DVR storage disk becomes full, the drive begins rewriting new files over the oldest files. This gives the user a chance to copy important video using optional CDs or DVDs or even Flash drives. The portable media can be played on just about any type of personal computer and can be provided to police, courts, and insurance companies.

Another advantage of motion detector cameras used in church security systems is conservation of power. Digital video cameras require a power supply usually in the form of low-voltage DC (Direct Current) electricity. The power can be supplied in the form of a wire run from a power distribution center, a plug-in transformer, or rechargeable batteries. In the latter case, the motion detector camera greatly extends battery life between charges since the PIR uses only a nominal amount of constant power saving more power for video capture by the camera.

Another optional feature that may be useful for church security systems is day/night vision infrared cameras. Infrared cameras can record video in total darkness using near infrared spectrum light. Infrared light is invisible to the human eye, yet the camera can sense it. Since many areas of a church are often dark, these cameras are great for video security surveillance.

As you can see digital video systems can make great church security systems. If you have additional questions or are considering the purchase of a system, contact one of Security Camera King’s security experts today on-line by clicking the Live Chat button or call us at 1-866-573-8878 Monday through Friday from 9AM to 6pm est.


Home Camera System with DVR

Friday, June 25th, 2010

A home camera system DVR or Digital Video Recorder is a standalone digital video security camera system suitable fur residential use. Recent advances in computer and electronic technology have provided the home camera system DVR user with an abundance of optional features, making the system versatile enough to be used just about anywhere.

A home cameras system DVR is basically a component system. There are different parts that make up the entire system and each individual part can differ to provide a specific function. These “parts” are the components and when put together create the system.

A typical home camera system DVR consists of the following components:
• Camera or cameras;
• Power supply;
• Processor/Digital Video Recorder with CODEC utility; and,
• Monitor

Cameras used in a home camera system DVR may be indoor or outdoor types. Outdoor cameras have a protective cover that keeps dust, water, weather and other environmental elements from penetrating it and harming the camera. These cameras are often rated based on a standard called an Ingress Protection or IP rating. When shopping for an outdoor camera, make sure it has a rating of either IP66 or IP67. Both ratings indicate complete protection from dust and water.

When creating your own custom home camera system DVR, you generally will require both outdoor and indoor cameras. Outdoor cameras may be used for monitoring the perimeter of your residence or for specific outdoor areas. Indoor cameras are generally used for monitoring rooms, doors, and areas inside the home.

Regardless if the camera is an indoor or outdoor model, each camera will need to be connected to a power supply, and a coaxial cable will need to be run from each camera to the processor/DVR. However, the coaxial cable can be eliminated by using wireless cameras instead.

A wireless home camera system DVR differs from a standard home camera system DVR in that each camera has its own transmitter and antenna. The camera transmits its video signal using the 2.4 or 5.8 GHz radio band to a corresponding receiver. The receiver is usually in the same location as the DVR. The receiver passes the radio signal in electronic form to the processor/DVR. Wireless cameras are quick and easy to install.

The digital video cameras used in a home camera system DVR are state-of-the-art electronic devices. They create a digital video image by capturing light from the lens on a special electronic sensor chip. There are two types of sensor chips; Charged Coupled Devices or CCDs and Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductors or CMOSs. These chips range in size from less than ¼ inch to about 1 inch. Generally, the larger the chip, the greater the resolution of the video image that is produced.

Cameras may contain special highly sensitive chips to produce digital video under different lighting conditions. Day/night vision cameras produce high quality color video with very little available visible light. Night vision infrared cameras produce high quality color video under normal lighting conditions and high quality monochrome or black and white video under infrared conditions.

Night vision infrared cameras contain Light Emitting Diodes or LEDs that project infrared light onto the target area of the camera. This illuminates the target area like a spot light or flood light; however the human eye cannot see this light. On the other hand, the camera can see the infrared illumination and indeed uses it to produce a clear, high quality video,

Day/night vision cameras require at least some sort of visible light; night vision infrared cameras can produce an image in total darkness. However, infrared cameras are limited to how far they can “see” in total darkness based on the LEDs used to illuminate the target area. If your home camera system DVR requires infrared cameras, be sure to check the range of the camera before purchasing to make sure you have one that will fulfill your needs.

Other available options for cameras include audio recording, and Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) functions. A PTZ camera with motion detection can be programmed to track moving objects.

The DVR of a home camera system DVR is like the hard disk drive on a personal computer. Its main function is to store the digital video files. Raw digital video files are extremely large which makes them difficult to store and handle. The DVR uses a CODEC utility to shrink file size but retain video clarity. DVRs can be purchased in a variety of storage sizes ranging up to several Tera bytes.


How To Optimize The Motion Detection Settings On Your DVR

Monday, August 10th, 2009

One of the greatest features of the modern day DVR is the ability to only record motion events. Before the day of motion recording, VCR’s would record video 24/7 which required you to fast forward or rewind through hours of video to find events you were searching for. In addition, because the recording occurred 24 hours a day, you would need much more storage. The modern DVR allows for much more efficient recording. By recording motion events only, you are able to reduce the time searching for events by only viewing motion events and you are able to conserve storage space.

Typically, motion recording can be configured using several options. These options would include sensitivity levels, an on screen, selectable motion grid and pre/post recording buffer. When setting the DVR to motion only recording, I recommend first setting the pro/post recording buffer. Basically, even when recording motion only, your DVR is still recording all the time. If you set the DVR to a 15 second pre/post buffer, then the DVR will record 15 seconds of video, and if there is no motion, it will begin to record over the 15 seconds of video. This all occurs in a buffer. When motion is detected, the DVR will then include the 15 seconds of video before the motion with the recording of the motion event, and then continue to record for 15 seconds after the motion event has ended.

The next option to configure is the motion grid. Many DVR’s will allow you to exclude certain portions of the screen from triggering motion detection. For example, moving trees, flagpoles, automobile traffic in the street are events that you probably do not want to trigger motion recording on your DVR. When you select the motion detection grid, you can usually select the portions of the camera view that you do not want included in motion detection. This will restrict your motion detection recordings to only the areas you are concerned with.

The last option is the sensitivity level. This should be adjusted for each camera based on the amount of motion it should take to trigger recording. For example, you probably would not care if a bird flew into the camera view, but you would want to know if a person walked onto your driveway. The sensitivity level will ensure that only the motion you want will trigger the DVR to begin recording.

By configuring all the motion settings properly, you will maximize the amount of storage you will get out of your hard drive, and you will streamline searching through recorded video for the events that occurred.