Posts Tagged ‘ security cameras for business ’

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.”


Wide Dynamic Range Camera

Friday, November 11th, 2011

A wide dynamic range camera is a camera that is used where the field of view contains and extremely wide range of lighting conditions.

For example, let’s say you owned a tourist attraction that was a cavern that lead to the outside world by a tunnel.  Tourists would typically enter the cave via this tunnel.  To prevent vandalism, theft, and for general safety you decide to install a digital video camera surveillance monitoring system.  The entrance camera is outside, directly across from the tunnel entrance.  Standing in front of the tunnel, the sunlight on this bright sunny day is just about directly overhead such that the only outside light that enters the tunnel is diffuse light and the lighting system of the tunnel itself.

A non wide dynamic range camera will more than likely show the sunlit objects in its field of vision very well.  However, the entrance to the cavern will more than likely be depicted as a nice black spot with the inability to see hardly anywhere inside the tunnel.  This is when you need a good quality wide dynamic range camera.  This camera has special circuitry to provide a clear image of parts of the field of view that are well lit by the sun as well as the entrance to the cave.  No black spots here!

Remember there are basically two type of cameras when talking about wide dynamic range.  Most cameras regardless of their other features have a wide dynamic range setting that you can use to adjust the camera.  Depending on the circumstance these cameras may work fine for your application.

On the other hand, there are also cameras that specialize as wide dynamic range cameras.  These cameras are designed to specifically resolve the light range problems.  Therefore, in our example above, the tunnel entrance to the cavern would not appear as a large black spot but rather as a typical image as if the sun had moved and was now shining directly in the entrance.

How is this possible?  Let’s take a quick look at how these cameras operate, then we’ll describe exactly how their wide dynamic range feature works.

A digital camera has something called a field of view.  This is the area that is “seen and captured” by the camera.  The lens on the camera focuses this entire field of view onto a sensor chip.  These sensor chips are commonly 1/4 or 1/3 inches square but in some cameras they may be as large as an inch.

There are two different sensors, each going about converting the light image into an electronic image in a different manner yet both yielding exactly the same results, an electronic video image.  You’ve probably heard or seen mention of these sensors.  One is the Charged Coupled Device or CCD and the other is the Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor or CMOS.  When light strikes these chips they emit a very small electrical impulse that can be detected and measured and by combining all of them together, yield an electronic video image.

The electrical impulses pass through several different Integrated Circuit (IC) chips that enhance the picture that is seen.  Ironically enough, everything that is done pertaining to the video image is analog until the data passes through the final IC chip which is called an analog-to-digital processor.

Just before this circuit and directly after gathering the data from the sensor chips is the Digital Signal Processor or DSP.  The quality of the DSP most certainly affects the quality of the video image produced.

The DSP is also where the wide dynamic range camera performs any necessary enhancements (for example our cavern example above) that makes black or white outs appear as a normal image.  Here’s how the wide dynamic range problem is solved.

A wide dynamic range camera will take two images of a scene for every frame of video.  The first image is taken to optimize the camera’s ability to see dimly lit areas and the second image is adjusted to accommodate the brighter lit areas.  Both of these images are sent directly to the DSP where they are combined together by the DSP to produce and image that can be seen and recorded clearly.

Since some lighting conditions cannot be changed, the wide dynamic range camera can compensate for the situation and provide you with excellent quality images without lighting disturbances.  If you have any additional question about wide dynamic range, contact one of our security experts.  We love to help!


TV Security Cameras

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

A TV security camera system or a television security camera system is becoming one of the most popular tools for providing ultimate security and surveillance monitoring both for business and residential applications.. These systems are assembled by the user or installer with individual components, each of which may be specialized to suit the needs of the individual application. This makes replacement and changes easy while maintaining affordable prices.

TV security cameras are also known as CCTV (Closed Circuit TeleVision) security cameras or digital video security cameras. The name comes from the fact that the TV security cameras they used a few decades ago were really just smaller sized television cameras and TV security cameras can also be thought of as a short way of saying “Closed Circuit Television Security Cameras.”

When security cameras were first commercially available (circa 1949) the systems were basically smaller television systems. The term Closed Circuit Television or CCTV was derived from the fact that these security systems, unlike broadcast television, were contained and transmitted through a closed circuit. In other words, you had to be connected to the system via a cable in order to receive any images from the TV security camera.

Today this is not necessarily the case, as the term CCTV now has a slightly “looser” meaning. Today TV security cameras can send their digital video data through hardwired transmission cable to a DVR or monitor, wirelessly through a transmitter and receiver then to a DVR, or in network fashion using the Internet to send the video anywhere in the world where there broadband Internet access and a personal computer or a smartphone.

A basic TV security camera system contains the following components:

  • TV security digital video cameras;
  • Digital Video Recorder or DVR; and,
  • Optional monitors.

There are several sizes and types of TV security cameras as well as additional features that are available for a CCTV security camera system. The following is just a partial list:

  • Indoor or Outdoor cameras;
  • Dome shaped, Bullet Shaped, and Hidden or Disguised cameras;
  • Wireless cameras;
  • Day/night vision cameras;
  • Infrared (IR) night vision cameras;
  • Cameras with Pan, tilt, and zoom functions;
  • Cameras that record audio; and,
  • Portable cameras that can be mounted to vehicles.

Regardless of the type of camera, they all send their electronic video image information to a DVR that can compile it and turn it into a digital video file which can then be viewed on a monitor or stored on the DVR for later use. If the TV security camera system is a stand lone system, the processor and DVR are normally located together in a case that looks like a desk top personal computer. Sometimes these units will include an additional capture board which does most of the video processing for the processor, freeing the processors resources to do other things, like display multiple videos at one time or remotely control a camera.

After the DVR processes the video file it is made immediately available for viewing on a monitor and at the same time can be saved to the DVR for later use. The DVR begins recording video at the “beginning” of the empty disk and when the disk becomes full, it automatically records over the oldest material first. Depending on the system, this can provide hours to days of recorded monitoring before the files are replaced. In addition, most units have the ability to add a USB flash drive or CD/DVD writer to copy specific segments of video, for example one that needs to be furnished to police departments or as evidence.

A TV security camera system offers tremendous versatility for each of its components’ features. DVRs can be purchased with small digital storage space to extremely large digital storage space. DVRs can come with internal CD/DVD writers for archiving video footage. Processors and capture boards take advantage of the latest compression technologies but many different CODECs can be used such as mpg, mjpeg, and H.264.

As you can see, a CCTV Security Camera system is so versatile that it can be designed for just about any application. Scientific advances have provided for incredibly hi-tech features at a fraction of the cost. It’s no wonder the TV security camera system is one of the most popular tools in modern security coverage today.


Store Security Cameras

Monday, June 7th, 2010

As any corporation or small business owner will tell you, having the proper security will pay for itself. Store security cameras provide the type of security that can keep a store’s profit margin from shrinking. Imagine the difficulty in prosecuting a shoplifter or employee without video evidence. Not to mention the deterrent factor because, cameras prevent many crimes from ever happening.

Designing a store’s security system is not a haphazard affair. There is a science to the design and implementation of a security system. Cameras for the most part, do all the heavy lifting. The camera lens does not become sleepy, its eyes do not wander and it can follow the most precise directions without fail. However, human interaction is needed to analyze the collected data and provide direction to the system.

Essentially, security cameras are there to protect your assets. The assets are inventory and customer relationships for the most part. Video recordings are also a tool that can be used to repudiate claims from employees and customers in a liability lawsuit. Customers and employees alike steal from the company, it happens in every store. Practically speaking the percentage of thefts is reduced simply because of cameras. Some people tend to act more civilized when they know they are being recorded. Cameras can also be used to analyze customer and employee relationships.

The complex security profile of most stores requires a variety of cameras and options. Stores must have cameras outside their stores, as well. Parking lots pose a hazard to shoppers late at night and in some cases, in the middle of the day. High quality cameras can be programmed to pan and tilt through a designated coverage area. Ideally, others cameras would also be programmed to ensure there are not any dead spots. In most cases, the cameras would not be monitored 24 hours a day by security personnel. Once an incident has occurred store security or law enforcement will have access to the recordings.

The outdoor security cameras are not likely to be infrared but should have the ability to record viewable images in low light. Store security cameras should have a backup power source in the event of a power outage. This is another reason the cameras must have night vision capabilities. The parking lot will be considerably darker when the power goes out.

Most businesses have insurance against theft. However, the majority of insurance policies require adequate security measures. In other words, the store must have done everything possible to prevent the theft. Prevention includes store security cameras. Nevertheless, thefts do occur regardless of the preventive measures. Therefore, another stipulation is video evidence that can be used to prosecute those responsible. Cameras must be located to keep an eye on the money. Security cameras should monitor all cash register activities. This includes the change out of cash drawers, countdowns and all customer transactions. Certain cameras should have a tracking feature so the manager that counts down the drawer can be tracked to the cash room or store safe.

Very few people have access to the video monitoring room. The integrity of the data must be preserved. The collected data must be archived in such a manner that tampering is not an issue. Video evidence from store security cameras will be closely scrutinized by law enforcement and attorneys in the event the evidence is presented to the courts. Security personnel should give the impression that video feeds are being monitored 24 hours a day. If people were led to believe no one is watching them, they may also believe that by disguising themselves they can shoplift and get away with it. If no one is watching the cameras, no one is aware of a theft, is the belief of some people.

For the most part, cameras would not need two-way audio unless the store also has a fuel station. A camera at the pumps with audio allows operators to give directions to patrons without leaving their station. However, customer service counters may benefit from cameras with two-way audio to analyze employee and customer relationships. All in store cameras should record in color. Identifying someone by the color of their clothing may store security camera be important for investigative purposes.

Internet protocol or IP cameras are becoming more popular as technology advances and cost become more economical. When security experts analyze a stores security profile, they typically recommend off site monitoring. Off site, monitoring provides greater data security. Each camera will have an IP address that automatically streams all live feeds to the Internet. Normally there is a dedicated server where multiple individuals have access and the collected data is stored using a network video recorder. On site, personnel can view all images in real time. At anytime the system can be decentralized allowing each store to collect and archive data.

For enhanced security, in store security cameras should be infrared or IR cameras. Cameras that record in low light cannot record images in complete darkness. The typical night vision camera will require light from the moon, stars, streetlamps or emergency lighting systems. Most businesses will have emergency lights that provide minimal illumination in the event of a power outage. This light would be enough for the typical night vision capable camera. However, the generator system can fail during a blackout. The store would be in total darkness at this point.

IR cameras can record thermal images by using energy or thermal radiation given off by all objects. Video recordings will protect the store against injury claims, and any number of lawsuits that may arise from the incident. There will be thefts by employees and customers during the blackout, as well. Stores must focus on and be prepared to protect their assets regardless of the situation.

The sales floor is not the only place for cameras. While shoplifting by customers can shrink the bottom line, employee thefts take an even bigger piece of the profit. Store security cameras should be at loading docks, storerooms, time clocks and storage areas. Stealing from a company involves more than stealing merchandise. Many companies have their employees sign in by computer, or an electronic time clock. Employees simply slide their name badge through the time clock slot. This times them in and they are considered on the clock. Managers get busy and many times do not notice or simply do not care whether someone has shown up for work or not. However, checking the time clock may indicate someone is timed in yet is not on the premises.

Cameras that monitor the time clock will save the company money. There have been documented cases where one employee gives their name badge to another to time them in and out. The employee that shows up for work slides their badge, as well as, the badge of the one not showing up. Having video evidence will stop the theft. This is protecting the company’s assets.

Loading docks are an ideal place for employees to remove items from the store. The more brazen ones back up to the dock and start loading goods. This does not happen if there are video cameras prominently placed to cover all loading bays, trailer yards and even employee parking areas. Storerooms are an ideal place for employees to gather to grab a meal off the shelf. Cameras should monitor all activity within the storeroom. The cameras are there to protect the company and employees. The cameras will document employee fights, assaults on one another and vandalism. Cameras should be in all cold storage areas, as well. Areas without cameras, is where the activity that employees do not anyone to see, will occur.

Many businesses are aware of how people view video surveillance. Some people simply believe surveillance of any kind is intrusive and should not happen. However, a large percentage of the population has come to accept cameras as a part of life and of doing business in today’s world. Notwithstanding their right to have security cameras some businesses try, to incorporate them in such a manner they do not appear intrusive.

store security cameraBox style cameras that are motion activated make it quiet obvious they are following your every move. At times you can even hear them pan and tilt. This may be unsettling to some people. Dome style cameras have a dome cap or lens shield and in most cases, it is tinted dark to obscure the lens. The camera is flush mounted on ceilings and can pan, tilt and zoom. Someone who glances quickly at it does not readily identify it as a camera. You will see these dark globes in many retail stores.

One or more cameras are continually monitoring the cash registers. Cameras are mounted to capture the face of anyone entering or leaving the store. Cameras should also monitor all emergency exits. Security personnel want to know where all employees and customers are at all times. Part of this stems from the number of child abductions that happen in retail stores. Once a parent announces they cannot find their child, the cameras are immediately monitored by security personnel. Exits are of particular importance, and cameras located to screen faces should be of the highest resolution.

Most experts will tell you it is extremely difficult for anyone to pick a face out of a crowd based on a photograph. The camera can however. Facial recognition software is being used more often. Scan the picture of an abducted child into the system and the camera can scan crowds and with amazing accuracy pick out that face out of hundreds. This system is expensive and only a small number of non-law enforcement agencies or companies use the technology. As the costs go down and privacy concerns are more fully addressed, private business may begin using the technology more often.

Cameras are extra eyes that rarely fail to do the job. They extend resources and eliminate the need for humans to make judgment calls. Human guards cannot be everywhere at once but cameras can be. By using cameras, security personnel can better plan their activities. This is not to say, that cameras will completely do away with the need for human guards. The relationship is always evolving between humans and technology. High quality cameras can be programmed to respond with an alarm when it hears certain noises such as gunshots. Cameras can also be programmed to sound an alarm if it suspects someone is trying to shield or has masked its lens. This alerts security personnel that someone may be attempting something. Contact Security Camera King today to find the right surveillance system for your store.


Why have security cameras in your business?

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

There are many benefits to having security cameras installed in your business. The cost of adding security cameras for your business can vary, but usually a general rule of thumb would be $500 to $1500 per camera depending on the level of equipment you select and complexity of the installation. Often, you can install your own security camera system and save a lot of money. Once you have security cameras installed in your business, your employees will know that they are constantly being monitored and this would benefit you in increased employee production and reduced shrinkage. If they know you are watching they are less likely to steal from you or to being doing anything they are not supposed to be doing. also, a networkable surveillance system for you business will give you the ability to monitor your business remotely from anywhere that has an internet connection. That means that you can watch your security cameras and your business from home, or while you are on vacation. This should allow you to work less hours. Of course, having a security camera system installed in your business would deter thieves and often provide you with usable video of thieves that can assist in prosecution.