Posts Tagged ‘ ptz’



How To Benefit From An Auto-tracking PTZ

Written By:
Monday, June 4th, 2012

How To Benefit From An Auto-tracking PTZSurveillance cameras have been in use for decades to deter crime and to capture video evidence to be used in the prosecution of crimes. However, criminals are aware of surveillance cameras and continually attempt to circumvent them, by various means. Taking advantage of human behavior is one way criminals avoid being filmed in a criminal act. Security guards and even homeowners cannot be everywhere at once. Therefore, many surveillance systems are unattended, in other words, the cameras videotape without the benefit of human analysis. The crimes and actions of others are being recorded and preserved, but the acts in some cases are only detected after the fact. However, new technology has once again caught up with the demand. New technology shows us how to benefit from an auto-tracking PTZ. PTZ is an acronym used to describe cameras that can pan, tilt and zoom.

Auto tracking is simply a camera’s ability to detect and focus on a particular object. Typically, the camera will have firmware installed that can be programmed to eliminate unnecessary recordings. You as an operator can program the camera to focus on and track objects of a particular size and shape such as humans, cars or even animals. Subsequently, you can eliminate any object based on size or shape. This is ideal when you want surveillance of foot traffic in or out of a building that is situated along a street because, you can program the camera not to record vehicles driving by.

How to Benefit From an Auto-Tracking PTZ

Less real time, monitoring is required when utilizing an auto-tracking camera. You can be assured the camera is capturing everything in its view that is considered relevant to the surveillance operation. Endless hours of editing have been eliminated, thus reducing labor costs. The cameras can be manually operated, as well, if the situation becomes fluid and additional coverage is required. Human operators can take over if the focus of the surveillance changes abruptly. Once the situation is under control, the camera will automatically go back to its programmed surveillance parameters.

Auto-tracking cameras eliminate the need for multiple cameras. Typically, when positioning cameras, security specialists take into account the range and angle of each camera. The specialists realize that while one camera is panning in one direction a dead spot can be created if another camera is not positioned to cover that area. To cover a large area would require multiple cameras. One auto-tracking camera can take the place of multiple cameras, while still providing the same coverage.

Traditional PTZ cameras, while highly effective, do have several weak points. Criminals, in some cases, can trick a motion-activated camera by tossing a ball or waving a branch to move the camera to a different field of view. Although flush mounted PTZ cameras are hard to avoid it can be accomplished with some effort. Auto tracking cameras can be programmed to ignore, small objects placed in their view. In other words, the camera cannot be tricked in moving its lens view to follow a ball or branch. It will however, begin tracking a human sized object, and will automatically focus its lens for the sharpest view, when properly programmed. Once a target has been acquired and the object meets the programmed parameters the camera will record and follow that object. Once a target is locked on, the camera can be programmed to send an alert to the operator, as well. Multiple auto tracking cameras with an alert capability can be monitored very effectively by one operator.

Traditional PTZ cameras many times have an alert system that notifies the operator when movement is detected. Subsequently, this leads to false triggers because, the camera cannot be programmed to ignore certain objects, such as swaying branches or blown debris. An operator once alerted must then monitor the cameras for the intrusion. This forces the operator to search for the cause of the alarm, taking up valuable time. Auto tracking cameras with programmable firmware only alert the operator when an object meets the pre-established requirements.

Where to locate An Auto-Tracking PTZ

In addition to its other features, many auto-tracking cameras can be programmed to ignore certain areas in its field of view. This ensures that the surveillance operation does not inadvertently record certain activities. For example, homeowners and businesses alike need to be aware that recording certain people or actions may be in violation of privacy laws. The cameras can be pre-set to avoid certain areas such as a neighbor’s home or property. Homeowners can position cameras to track an individual or vehicle as it enters their property. The auto focus can also capture license plate numbers if the cameras are used to monitor access in and out of a gated community. Businesses can use the cameras to monitor choke points in and out of their facility as well as loading docks, and parking lots. Access to most industrial complexes is in two stages. The first stage is where employees enter in their vehicles to park, and then they may be required to enter a screening area on foot. Cameras can be positioned to detect anyone enter the parking lot on foot while ignoring the vehicle traffic.

Complexes with a higher degree of security may have what is called a sally port. A sally port allows access from one side while securing total access by another barrier typically a fence. Once entered from one-side vehicles and individuals can be screened for any anomalies, before complete access is granted. Programmable cameras can be positioned to screen for such things as more than one person or vehicle entering at the same time. Certain model cameras also allow the operator to program distance, speed of an object, shape, level of zoom and size of the object. These features allow an operator to identify anything out of the ordinary, very quickly, without having to monitor multiple cameras. Humans carrying backpacks and even objects in their hands can trigger an alarm.

Secure areas in some cases do not allow objects to be carried in or out of the facility. In the past, each individual entering or leaving would need to be inspected by a security guard. Once the human size and shape is programmed, a briefcase or duffle bag or any object that interrupts that shape will trigger an alarm. This greatly increases efficiency and enhances the facility’s security. One security guard can now monitor multiple points where in the past each area required its own.

Auto-tracking cameras can estimate the size and distance of any object, which can greatly benefit homeowners. Owners can program their cameras to ignore small objects such as pets and alert the owners to the movement of their children. Perimeter cameras can ignore animals that enter the camera’s view and only focus on individuals and even vehicles. Ranchers can keep track of livestock without getting false triggers caused by smaller animals, as well. Several camera models are standalone systems that can be left in place for extended periods. The camera systems can communicate using cellular service to send emails and status updates. The cameras can be programmed to cover 360 degrees or only cover pre-established viewing angles.

Law enforcement has used surveillance cameras since the early 1970′s. The cameras main purpose when first introduced was to deter crime in public areas. The cameras also recorded criminals in the act, which aided in their identification and subsequent prosecution. With today’s technology, law enforcement can now conduct surveillance operations on a wider scale, while reducing the number of personnel needed. Certain so-called smart cameras can also identify individuals based on the color of their clothes, body size and many systems can be used in conjunction with facial recognition software, as well. Several models of auto-tracking cameras can be programmed to identify individuals in a crowd, and once identified, the camera will focus on and track the subject. These types of cameras can identify individuals even if they have attempted to disguise themselves. Studies have concluded that a person’s gait or style of walking is unique to them. This allows the cameras to identify individuals even when facial recognition is not feasible or possible.

How to Benefit From an Auto-Tracking PTZ If You Are a School or Day Care Center

Cameras that can be programmed to identify and focus on objects based on size and shape, are ideal for any institution that cares for children. Camera systems can be positioned to identify adult sized humans when they enter the premises. In this type of environment, it is recommended that you employ multiple cameras. One camera would be used to identify larger persons as they move about and another to keep track of the children. The cameras can also be used to monitor play areas, in particular outdoors. The perimeter of any playground is particularly important and there should be cameras positioned and programmed to alert the staff of anyone in the area. Auto-tracking cameras can be programmed to provide the size of an individual and the distance away, to help law enforcement, in any future investigation.

Schools can employ auto-tracking cameras to alert the staff about anyone entering the grounds and to help determine their size and if they may have a backpack on or are carrying an object in their hands. The camera’s parameters must be carefully programmed to prevent false alarms however. The cameras can also be set to ignore certain areas to maintain privacy. Keep in mind that blocking certain views may leave the institution vulnerable if becomes common knowledge. Once again, the perimeter is important when positioning security cameras. The cameras can be placed inside the building and even in individual rooms. The cameras can be used to alert staff about children wandering the hallways or of persons in areas that would normally be unoccupied.

Auto-tracking cameras will enhance any security protocol. The cameras can be used at night, as well as, in rooms without any light source at all. The systems can be wireless, or hardwired, and the number of cameras is determined by the equipment and security needs. Auto-tracking cameras can be used to enhance a current camera system without upgrading monitors or digital video.

Do not hesitate to ask any questions and contact us.

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Types of Dome Cameras

Written By:
Sunday, October 16th, 2011

There are so many type of dome cameras that it makes this category of digital video security camera incredibly versatile.  There are basically three types of security camera:  1. The box camera, a very popular and original security camera; 2. Bullet cameras, so called because of their shape; and, 3. Dome cameras, also named after their shape.

Generally, regardless of the type of dome camera, these cameras come with their own mount or the camera plate itself is mounted directly to the wall, ceiling, or other surface.

There are several ways of stating the types of dome cameras.  The types are basically arbitrary but there some common characteristics among cameras that allow us to place them in different categories (types) for the purpose of discussion.

First we can separate them into indoor and outdoor types.  Indoor dome cameras are made in such a way that they cannot withstand some of the rough treatment of constantly being outdoors.   Outdoor dome cameras on the other hand are designed to withstand weather and other natural elements such as dust and often have an IP rating.

An IP Rating or code is based on the International Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC) international standard 60529.  According to the standard, it “describes a system for classifying the degrees of protection provided by an enclosure.  IEC 60529 is NOT a ‘product standard’ and does not cover enclosure requirements other than the ‘degree of protection’ provided.  An IP rating is usually represented by two digits and may contain an additional optional letter.

An IP rating can be thought of as a more exact classification of the degree of protection offered from the security camera from intrusion by solid and/or liquid matter.  The rating is usually expressed as “IP 65” or “IP 65M.”  Generally speaking, the higher the IP rating the better protection that is afforded to the camera.

This term can be confusing when dealing with security cameras because some digital security cameras can be IP networked cameras, which has nothing to do with an IP rating.  For the benefit of clarity and distinction, an IP networked camera is a camera that can take advantage of Internet Protocol to transmit its video signals over a network or the internet.

This brings us to another type of dome camera, the IP (Internet Protocol) type camera.  These cameras connect, not necessarily to a DVR, but usually directly to the Internet which they use as a network.  Once connected to the Internet, IP dome cameras can be monitored anywhere in the world where there is a broadband Internet connection and this includes 3G and 4G smartphones as well.

In contrast, non-IP cameras normally connect to a Digital Video Recorder or DVR via a transmission cable such as coaxial cable RG59.  These cameras do not have a direct connection to the Internet although the DVRs they are connected to may have one.

Other types of dome cameras include InfraRed (IR) dome cameras.   These cameras normally contain an array of IR Light Emitting Diodes or LEDs that allow the camera to “see” in complete darkness.  The LEDs work like a flood light for the sensor inside the camera however, human eyes cannot detect them; the infrared “light” waves are completely invisible to us.

Continuing with our types of dome cameras, there are also Pan-Tilt-Zoom cameras or PTZ cameras.  These cameras can move left or right, up or down, and zoom in or out.  One PTZ camera can often replace the need for 2 or 3 or more stationary cameras.  These cameras often have a feature called automatic object tracking or object following.  They can detect motion and once detected, zoom in on and follow the object.  A good example of this is a PTZ with object tracking mounted in a parking lot.   It can follow people and/or cars as they enter/exit the parking lot.

Finally, there is one last category that we can use to classify the types of dome cameras.  These cameras are vandal proof dome security cameras.  Since most situations that include vandalism present themselves as such that the camera needs to be mounted very close to where the vandalism occurs, they are subject to abuse.  These cameras usually have tough body cases and Lexan windows to help with stand vandal attacks.

Security Camera King has a full line up of different types of dome cameras.  If you need more information you can contact our security experts by on-line “Live Chat” or by telephone at 866-573-8878 Monday through Friday from 9AM to 6PM EST.

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Outdoor Security Surveillance Cameras

Written By:
Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Boats, barns, house perimeters, land tracts, construction sites, parking lots, and automobiles are just some of the property you may need to protect with outdoor security surveillance cameras. Although all digital video cameras are not made the same, there are some unique features that make outdoor security surveillance cameras versatile in application.

Outdoor security surveillance cameras are made especially for use outdoors in stand-alone situations where they may be exposed to the weather and other elements. In fact, many outdoor security surveillance cameras are rated by their manufacturer with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Ingress Protection (IP) code. An IP code gives the user a definitive rating of what type of conditions the camera is rated for

Most outdoor security surveillance cameras are the same as an indoor model but are protected by being placed in some sort of enclosure. This enclosure protects the camera from substances that could damage it like water or dust. EIC IP rating provides a descriptive assessment of the protection. The code consists of 2 digits; the first digit represents protection from solid matter and the second digit represents protection from liquid matter.

Both IP code digits have different ranges. For the first digit, the range is from 0 to 6 with lower values representing large sized objects and a rating of 6 meaning absolutely dust tight. Many outdoor surveillance cameras are rated a 6 or 5. A 5 rating means the dust is not entirely prevented from entering but the dust that does enter is not enough to cause interference with the operation of the camera.

The second digit ranges from 0 to 8. A rating of zero means there is no protection while a rating of 8 means the camera can be immersed in water deeper than 1 meter continuously. Most outdoor security surveillance cameras are rated 5 (water projected at the camera from a nozzle in any direction shall not have a harmful effect) or 6 (water projected at the camera from a powerful jet in any direction shall not have a harmful effect. A good IP rating for outdoor security surveillance cameras is IP55, IP56, IP65, or IP66.

Outdoor security surveillance cameras have a wide variety of extra features so that a camera can be purchased to satisfy a specific need. Actually, a multiple camera system doesn’t have to have all the cameras the same. Each camera can have different features to suit the condition, yet all can easily work in unison on one system.

The following is just a partial list of some of the optional features available on outdoor security surveillance cameras:

  • Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) function. These cameras can move horizontally or vertically to greatly increase the total field of view area of the camera. They have a telephoto lens that can enlarge the view as well. These cameras can be used with Digital Video Recorder (DVR) software that can automatically track or follow a moving object.
  • Day/Night vision or Day/Infrared night vision cameras. Day/night vision cameras are incredibly sensitive to light and can require very little light to produce a high quality color video. Some cameras can produce video in lighting conditions equivalent to that of a clear, moonless night. Other cameras make use of infrared radiation in the near infrared spectrum to illuminate their field of view. These cameras usually use infrared Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) to illuminate their target areas. Human eyes cannot detect this infrared light so it is invisible to us in the dark. When operating in this mode these cameras produce high quality black and white or monochromatic video as there are no “colors” associated with infrared illumination.
  • Wireless technology cameras. These cameras have their own built in transmitter and antenna that send the video signal to a corresponding receiver (or DVR with a built in receiver). This eliminates the need for running a video transmission cable for each camera to the DVR. These cameras can also be battery operated allowing them to be mounted almost anywhere.
  • Internet Protocol (IP) ready cameras. These cameras can be connected to a broadband internet connection and be both controlled and monitored in a remote location anywhere in the world that there is internet accessibility (this includes 3G and 4G smartphones as well).

It’s pretty easy to see the versatility of outdoor security surveillance cameras, and the above list doesn’t even contain all the features that are available. For example, Security Camera King even offers explosion proof outdoor security surveillance cameras.

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Security Cameras Monitoring Systems

Written By:
Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Some of the most popular items used for protection and surveillance today are security cameras monitoring systems. These systems take advantage of the latest and greatest in both electronic and computer technology making them incredibly powerful and versatile to use. In addition to deterring burglary and/or vandalism, security cameras monitoring systems offer you the peace of mind of knowing that your business, residence, or loved ones are okay.

Most security cameras monitoring systems are component systems; that is, parts of the system may differ in function (i.e. one camera may have Pan-Tilt-Zoom or PTZ and another may not) or may be made by different manufacturers (i.e. the cameras may be produced by one manufacturer while the DVR is produced by another). Regardless of the differences between components, all of the separate parts can work together to create a functional and effective security camera monitoring system.

Security cameras monitoring systems work in the following manner. The digital video camera “captures” a light image and transfers it into an electrical image. This electrical based image is sent in the form of electronic data to the DVR or Digital Video Recorder. The DVR normally contains a special type of computer processor known as a Digital Signal Processor or DSP. The DSP compiles the data from the video camera and creates a digital video file of the data which can e stored on the DVR or viewed in real time (live) on a monitor.

The DSP normally uses a COmpression/DECompression or CODEC utility to make the digital video file smaller without sacrificing quality. This is necessary because digital video files are comprised of thousands of digital photographs. In fact, they are digital photographs, but they are taken at a high rate of speed, usually around 30 photographs or Frames Per Second or 30 FPS.

This means that for every one second of video, the file will contain the equivalent of data for 30 individual digital photographs. As you can see, the file can get very large in a hurry so a CODEC is a vital and necessary tool.

The security cameras monitoring system may also include a CD/DVD writer, SD card writer, or accommodate a USB thumb drive for archiving files or for providing copies of files on a portable media to police, insurance agencies, etc.

There are a variety of optional features available for digital video security cameras however it may be easier to differentiate between cameras if they are categorized first, based on two of these features. The first criteria to use for categorizing the cameras can be the shape of the camera itself. There are three basic shapes or types:
• Box shaped cameras;
• Bullet shaped cameras; and,
• Dome cameras.

Box shaped cameras look just like the name implies; they are rectangular shaped to resemble a small box. These cameras may be mounted on walls, ceilings, and other structures. Bullet shaped cameras are elongated and rounded in shape on the ends to resemble a bullet-type structure. They may also be mounted on walls, ceilings and other structures. Finally, dome shaped cameras are usually flush mounted on ceilings with a rounded dome protrusion just big enough to allow for the camera lens.

The second criteria for categorizing digital video security cameras is whether they are designed for indoor use, outdoor use, or both. Indoor use only cameras cannot be used outdoors because they may be damaged by exposure to dust, water, and other debris. Outdoor security cameras monitoring systems or indoor/outdoor cameras are enclosed in a protective case that allows the camera to function properly but prevents entry (ingress) of dust, water and other matter.

Many outdoor cameras will be certified according to the protection the enclosure provides using a International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard called an Ingress Protection code or IP rating. This code consists of two digits; the first digit represents protection from dust and the second digit represents protection from liquids. The first digit of the rating ranges from 0 to 6 and the second digit ranges from 0 to 8, the higher number indicating a greater rate of protection. An IP65 rating for example, means the enclosure is dust tight and provides protection from water projected by a nozzle against the enclosure from any direction.

There are many other option features available on the components of security cameras monitoring systems. If you are interested in additional information, check our knowledge base or security articles or contact one of our security experts today.

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Home Camera System with DVR

Written By:
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.

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