Posts Tagged ‘ security camera ’

Professional Security Camera

Friday, November 18th, 2011

The professional security camera digital video recording system is rapidly becoming one of the most popular security and surveillance documentation and monitoring tools in use today.  Thanks to advancements in digital technology, not only is high-quality color digital video possible, but its also economically priced, easy to install, and versatile in application.

A professional security camera digital video recording system is any system that captures digital video images and records them on some type of storage medium for later use.  The difference between a digital video recording system and an analog video recording system is how the video image signal is created; however this lends itself to other differences such as how the video “footage” is stored, how it is transmitted, and what kinds and types of images are available.

First, let’s look at how an older analog video recording system works, and then we’ll compare it with the newer professional security camera digital video recording system.  Both systems have a camera that “captures” the video images and a recorder that stores those images for playback at a later time.  Each system may also use monitors to display real-time (live) video as it is captured.

Without getting too technical, an analog digital video camera contains a sensor chip.  This sensor chip converts the image’s light energy, which is focused onto it by the lenses, into electrical energy that can be measured and used to create a video image.  The images are transferred from the professional security camera to the video recorder and monitor using a coaxial video transmission cable.

The analog video recorder records the audio and video as magnetic signals, usually on a magnetic tape.  What is actually happening is that the camera is taking several pictures per second but it appears to the human eye as smooth motion video.  This is the same way its precursor, film video works.

Film cameras actually take several film pictures or photographs per second.  Once the film is processed or “developed” a projector rolls the film from the full reel to an empty one.  As the pictures pass in front of the projector lens in rapid succession, they give us the impression of a moving video.  Since film is basically a linear storage device that can be hundreds of feet long, the term “video footage” was used to refer to motion pictures.

Since analog video is stored as a magnetic pattern, each time the recorded video is played it has the potential for degrading the signal.  In addition, time can also degrade the magnetic signal as the signal’s weaker points can fade.  Analog video is stored on a variety of formats but the most popular magnetic video tape is VHS or BETA.  The video recorder either uses a video tape loop that re-records after reaching the end of the tape or individual video tapes that must be replaced when the recorder reaches the end of the tape.

Professional security camera digital video recording systems use basically the same technology to create digital video.  Cameras record image light energy and transfer it into electrical energy.  However, the fundamental difference in a digital video camera is that the camera also contains an analog-to-digital converter which turns the analog video signal into a series of 1s and 0s, or in other words, digital or binary data.

This simple change has revolutionized the professional security camera industry.  Since the digital video signal is now stored as a digital file, many other technological changes have taken place that have made digital video recording systems differ from their older analog parents.  Here are some of the differences (some are more advantageous than others) of using digital video recording systems:

  • Personal Computers can now be used to control and record the cameras;
  • Standalone digital video recording systems save their data to Digital Video Recorders or DVRs that have the potential for storing thousands of times more data in the space of an analog medium;
  • Cameras can be networked, controlled, and monitored using the internet;
  • Components of the system are smaller, lighter, and more efficient using less energy;
  • Digital signals are 1s and 0s – they do not fade or degrade like analog signals can.

Professional security camera digital video recording systems have become so popular that they are now the norm in the security video industry, rather than the exception.  If you are interested in learning more, check out Security Camera King’s “CCTV Learning Center.”


Portable Surveillance Camera

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Portable Surveillance cameras are becoming more and more popular these days especially with technology advances yielding smaller and smaller cameras. Generally but not always, the smaller the camera device the easier it is to hide or disguise and the smaller it is the easier it is to make it portable.

Portable Surveillance camera systems differ from standard counterparts simply because they are portable. A typical digital surveillance camera is not portable, in fact it is usually securely mounted to some surface with screws.

However, if a system is portable, what does that mean for the “system.” It means that the camera and the DVR must be in the same “unit” in order to be entirely portable. In addition batteries or some sort of portable power pack are also required for a portable surveillance camera.

Portable surveillance cameras have many applications. “Helmet cams” are one such application that enables “hands free” portable video recording because the unit is attached to a helmet that is worn by the user. Some examples of helmet cam use include skydiving, the aerospace industry, medicine, mining, and down-hill skiing.

Another type of portable surveillance camera is often referred to as a “bumper cam.” Although the camera is usually not attached directly to the bumper, an on board high speed digital color video camera system is normally attached on a vehicle with the camera’s target area being somewhere behind or at the rear of the vehicle. This type of camera set up is often used to aid the driver when backing up or for monitoring the “rear view” when abnormally large payloads make this difficult using just mirrors.

Perhaps one of the most frequently used overt applications of a portable surveillance camera is in surveillance and security of mass transit vehicles.  School buses are now being equipped with on board high speed digital color video camera systems to monitor the students’ as well as the drivers’ activities.  The mere presence of a portable surveillance camera unit in school buses has drastically reduced the number of disorderly conduct cases among transporting students.  When incidences do arise, the system can provided a recorded audio/video account providing protection to both students and drivers.

Subways and mass transit buses are employing on board systems not only to provide security/surveillance but to deter and prevent false injury claims. Mass transit vehicles equipped with portable surveillance cameras systems have shown drastically reduced crime rates. In addition, these systems can provide monitoring of passengers in the event of an accident, helping to keep false injury claims at a minimum and insurance rates low.

Yet another popular application of portable surveillance cameras is legal work for police. FBI, DEA, etc.. In addition, police departments across the world are instituting the use of on portable surveillance cameras to provide evidence and monitor activity of potential law breakers. Highway pursuits, disorderly conduct cases during police stops, and an array of other activities are recorded and may be used as evidence if necessary. They also can protect officers from false claims of inappropriate behavior.

Portable surveillance cameras consist of a small, compact color digital camera, a self contained power supply if necessary, and a high speed video processor and recorder. Most systems also include a small liquid crystal display or LCD monitor.  Many on board systems record video to compact flash cards or other types of “flash” memory so that vibration that could interfere with hard drive use has no effect on recording.

There are several additional features available today for portable surveillance cameras. Systems can be purchased that include an optional Global Positioning System or GPS module. These systems can record the coordinates as well as the speed of a vehicle and display it on-screen superimposed over the video captured by the system’s camera.

Timer kits are also available. They are useful for racing applications where lap times, equipment changes, and over all race timing are required. This can be an invaluable tool for any race team.

As you can see there are a wide variety of applications for on board high speed digital color video camera systems and there is also a wide variety of accessories and features that are available to enhance their productivity. Speak with one of our digital security experts to determine which system and features are right for your application by contacting them via on-line Live Chat or by telephone at 866-573-8878 Monday through Friday from 9AM to 6PM EST.


Digital Color CCD Camera

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Most video security cameras today are digital color CCD cameras or digital color CMOS cameras.  How do you know which to purchase?  Is one better than the other?  What does CCD and CMOS mean?   Read on to find out the answers to these questions and more.

First let’s describe a digital video security and surveillance system.  It normally consists of three components; the camera(s), the Digital Video Recorder, and a monitor(s).  The camera’s function in this system is to capture a video image created by light reflectance and transform it into an electronic image based on electrical impulses.  Both live and recorded material is played back by the DVR and may be seen by watching the monitor.

So now that we have a general idea of what each component does, let’s talk specifically about the camera and the security camera CCD.

A digital video camera works by using a combination of mechanical (lenses) and electronic (Integrated Circuit or IC chips and printed boards).  Whatever direction the camera may be pointed in, the area that you will see as a point of view from the camera is called the camera’s field of view.  The field of view is the specific area that will constitute the video image.

The field of view can be made larger or smaller depending on the focal length of the lens.  A standard lens has one focal length and therefore one field of view.  Varifocal lenses can vary their focal length (either manually or remotely).  The field of view contains objects that reflect light.  This reflected light is captured by the lens and when in focus, the lens focuses the reflected light on a sensor chip which is usually only 1/4 to 1/3 inch square.

This sensor chip, in our case, is the security camera CCD or Charged Coupled Device (There is another sensor that is used for the same purpose called a Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor or CMOS.  Although it works a little differently than the CCD it produces the same results).  As the focused light strikes the security camera CCD, tiny pixels on the sensor emit a very small but measurable electric impulse.  There may be more than one CCD and there maybe the use of one or more filters involved as well.

Once the light strikes the security camera CCD, the CCD gives off its electrical impulses and these are measured and interpreted by the analog to digital processor IC chip.  This is when the video image becomes digital.  As the processing continues in the camera, the camera’s Digital Signal Processor or DSP, in essence another IC chip makes adjustments to brightness, color intensity, contrast, etc. to make sure the video image is of the highest quality.

Once the video image information now binary or digital, is sent to the DVR the DVR stores it or plays it live.  Either the camera or the DVR compiles the binary data and creates a digital video file out of it.   These digital video files are the same type of digital video files that can be watched on a personal computer.

The digital color CCD camera (and the CMOS) have a unique feature about them that makes it even more versatile.  The CCD (and CMOS) is inherently able to see infrared light.  Infrared light is invisible to the human eye, so this makes for a very powerful, useful security device.  Most night time infrared cameras have an array of Infrared producing Light Emitting Diodes or IR LEDs that are arranged around the lens of the camera.   The human eye cannot see their light, but to the CCD, they work like using a floodlight.

In addition to the array of LED’s around the camera lens, IR LED illuminators may also be used.   Illuminators are just a group of more IR LEDs to add more light to the picture.  Some illuminators boast IR ranges of as much as 300 feet when using the illuminator along with the camera’s own lights.

Incidentally, since this type of video imagery is done with only IR light, the image will be in either black and white or monochromatic.  But very seldom will the detail or resolution degrade so the IR video image is as good of quality as the day time color versions.

Security Camera King has a large variety of digital color CCD cameras.  Check our on-line catalog to see all the digital color CCD cameras that we have to offer.


USB Security Camera

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

USB security cameras are both affordable and easy to install which makes them an ideal choice for security and surveillance monitoring both in the home and at the office, especially if you are not interested in buying a full system.  USB security cameras utilize a personal computer as part of the security system instead of a Digital Video Recorder or DVR.

“USB” is a computer acronym that stands for Universal Serial Bus.  These cameras require a coaxial cable or similar cabling for transmitting their video images to a processor or personal computer.  They do this via the personal computer’s USB plug.

Most USB security cameras do not come with a PCI card that can do most of the processing work for the computer.  Instead the USB security camera relies fully on the processing power and storage capacity of the personal computer.  Often a CODEC or COmpression/DECompression software or circuitry is used to reduce the size of the digital video file while maintaining high video quality.  On a PCI based USB system the CODEC(s) might be hardwired onto the card in the form of an Integrated Circuit (IC) chip.  Most of the time USB security cameras run straight off the computer so the CODEC is usually programmed in the software that must be loaded onto the computer before you plug in the camera.

USB security cameras utilize the USB port on a personal computer to connect to the computer.  In addition, they normally come with software that processes the digital video signal and allows you to use your computer as the processor/CODEC device, monitor, and DVR storage unit.  As you can see, this not only makes these systems easy to install, but reduces the cost by eliminating the expense of purchasing an additional processor, monitor, and DVR.

The computer monitor can be used to view the video, either live or from stored digital files.  The DVR is just like the personal computer’s hard drive disk, so the computer’s hard drive can be used to store the files.  If archiving or transferring the files is necessary, you can use your personal computer’s CD/DVD writer or USB flash drive to copy the files.

USB security cameras provide video at the same resolutions available as stand- alone units.  Cameras normally capture video in full color under visible light conditions and in black and white or monochromatic under infrared light recording.

The cameras in this system use either a Charged Coupled Device or CCD or a Complimentary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) to capture the light transmitted through the lens into electrical energy.  This energy can be interpreted and converted into high quality video.  Due to modern technological advances, these sensors can be highly sensitive to light and produce images in very low light conditions.  In addition, CCDs and CMOSs are inherently sensitive to near infrared radiation which makes them excellent for use as night vision infrared video cameras.  The camera sees the infrared light, normally produced by infrared Light Emitting Diodes or LEDS, but humans cannot see this light at all.

A USB security camera has lot’s of benefits, but they all come at one huge cost.  Regardless of the processor speed and storage capacity on the hard disk, USB video capture really taxes the resources of the computer.  It may be difficult to even try using to USB security cameras because of the load placed upon the computer’s processor.

Typically you won’t see this happen on a security camera system because the processors are made specifically to handle the type of digital processing that digital video requires.  Plus, there are no other high-demand functions for the DVR processor.  When using a USB security camera on a computer it may require so much of the computer’s resources that the computer can do nothing else (like check e-mail for example).

So in conclusion the choice is yours.  Purchase a complete system with cameras, DVR, etc. or go the cheaper route and purchase a USB security camera which could consume your computer during use.


Vandal Proof Security Camera

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Vandal proof security cameras are excellent for mounting in areas where the security digital video camera might otherwise be tampered with.  Although they may not be able to sustain the injury inflicted upon them with something like a hard swing from a baseball bat, they are built with “vandal-proofing” technology in mind.

There are basically three types of digital video security and surveillance cameras:  1. The box camera; 2. The bullet camera; and, 3. The dome camera.  THe box and the bullet cameras, mainly because of the way they are mounted, are fairly easy to tamper with.  Especially the bullet camera, it can easily be persuaded to move on its mount thereby re-aiming the camera in a totally different direction and field of view.

The fact that the cameras are often even used for monitoring vandalism is a serious and often forgotten situation.  Therefore, the very essence of fighting vandalism becomes the specific target once the camera is installed.  After all, the vandal proof security camera is one of the most visible components of the entire security and surveillance system.  If the system (specifically the camera) is installed properly, it will be in the hot spot which is the area of highest vandalism occurrence.

To combat vandalism, consider exactly what you are trying to monitor or catch on camera and mount the camera accordingly, to make that the camera’s field of view.  However, if possible there are some things you can do to help prevent vandalism of the camera.  For example, a camera may normally be mounted (arbitrarily) at about 8 feet.  At this height the camera is too vulnerable.  If possible, consider the multiple angles of view to the same field of vision and see if there is a possibility of mounting the camera at 15 feet or more.  This should place the camera out of jumping distance of most would-be vandals.

In addition, use a vandal proof security camera.  Security Camera King offers several different models of vandal proof security cameras.  In fact, most of their bundled systems come with either product# OD-LX420IR50 or for the Ultimate series product# OD-LX550IR50; both are vandal proof security cameras.

These models possess certain characteristics in order to reinforce anti-vandalism.  For example the dome camera is mounted flush to the ceiling or wall with the necessary cabling coming into the camera from behind the cameras through the wall.  This means no exposed power supply or video transmission cable that can be readily seen from outside of the camera and subject to being tampered with.

These vandal proof security cameras are constructed of tough metal exterior housings.  These housings are designed to take a beating.  If the camera is mounted properly, it’s going take a very tough object to cause damage to it.

Not only are they inside a metal housing, but the structure of the housing is made so that once the camera is mounted, any visible screws are kept to a minimum as well.  The vandal proof security dome camera is also very “tight” in design; nothing is sticking or hanging out.  This also helps to deter vandalism.

Another feature of the vandal proof security camera is the clear shield which the lens is placed behind. A camera’s vulnerability to vandals is probably its lens.  The lens has to function (be aimed at the proper field of vision) but simultaneously be protected somehow so as not to interfere with its function.

Therefore to provide the greatest protection to the lens the clear shield on a vandal proof security camera is usually made from Lexan®, chemically known as polycarbonate resin thermoplastic.  You may not be familiar with the chemical name “polycarbonate resin thermoplastic” and you may not even be familiar with its registered trademark name, “Lexan®,” but you certainly are familiar with some of its uses.  Lexan is commonly used in space and sports helmets, clear high performance windshields and aircraft canopies, and bullet proof windows.

These features are generally unique to the vandal proof security camera.   In addition to these extra features with careful consideration concerning mounting you can easily keep and maintain a good working vandal proof security camera for years.

If you have any more questions about vandal proof security cameras please contact one of Security Camera King’s security experts via on-line “Live Chat” or telephone at 866-573-8878 Monday through Friday from 9AM to 6PM EST.