Posts Tagged ‘ Security Cameras’

Wide Dynamic Range Camera

Written By:
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!


High Quality Wireless Security Cameras

Written By:
Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Are you looking for a high quality wireless security camera?  Look no further because Security Camera King has a great selection of only the highest quality wireless cameras in the security camera industry.

You may not be familiar a high quality wireless security camera and you may be asking yourself, what exactly is this?  Cameras that send their video image data via radio waves are referred to as “wireless” cameras.   However, this may be a misnomer because they may not be entirely wireless.

Wireless cameras need power and that may be provided by means of a wired power supply.  If that is the case then the camera isn’t totally wireless, even though the industry uses that term.  A truly wireless camera will usually obtain its power from on board one-time use or rechargeable batteries.

There are several different types of wireless technologies that may be used such as the 2.4 or 5.8 GHz or the 900 MHz technologies which are basically the same technologies that are used for land-line based wireless telephones.  These technologies usually present a clear transmission that is relatively strong and is definitively strong enough to support high quality wireless security cameras.

There is one “down side” to these wireless technologies.  They work on the principle of Line Of Sight or LOS.  LOS means that the maximum range stated by the manufacturer is valid if there are no objects between the transmitter (or camera) and the receiver.  However, this doesn’t mean that the wireless feature won’t work if there is (are) an object(s) between the two.  Instead, depending on the physical make-up of the object, the range is just reduced.  Many things can affect the maximum range of a wireless camera such as windows, walls, buildings, trees, fences and such.  So it’s a good idea to survey your camera placement before purchasing your camera(s).

There is also another type of wireless camera that doesn’t transmit its video data to a receiver which is then cable connected to a DVR.   This other type is an IP (Internet Protocol) wireless camera.  IP wireless cameras use WiFi to connect to a router or modem which then connects them to the Internet.  Once connected to the Internet, these cameras are usually viewable from anywhere in the world there is broad band Internet availability.  In addition, these cameras can also be monitored on 3G and 4G smartphones.

Besides being convenient for security camera systems, high quality wireless security cameras are also found as hidden, covert cameras.  Security Camera King carries a full line of these cameras to fit just about any situation.  The following is a partial list of some of the high quality wireless security cameras that we offer for purchase:

  • Black and white or color button camera
  • Black and white or color Phillip’s head screw camera
  • Wireless dog baby monitor camera
  • Black and white or color wireless motion detector
  • Black and white or color wireless wall clock
  • Black and White or color wireless “EXIT” sign
  • Black and white or color wireless desktop speakers
  • Black and white or color vanity mirror with touch activation
  • Black and white or color carbon monoxide detector
  • Black and white or color wind tunnel camera
  • Black and white or color Alarm clock camera
  • Black and white or color cordless house phone camera
  • Black and white or color CD/Boom box camera
  • Black and white or color wireless suspended animation clock camera
  • Black and white or color utility box camera
  • Black and white or color Air Wick air freshener camera
  • Black and white or color tissue box camera
  • Black and white or color down view smoke detector
  • Black and white or color emergency camera

Most all of these hidden wireless cameras contain high quality 3.7mm wide angle lenses, a 1/4 or 1/3 inch CCD or CMOS sensor, and of course a transmitter and antenna.  Most also run on battery power or they are wired into the electrical appliance that they are in.

So if you are looking for a high quality wireless security camera, talk to one of our security experts to help you find the one that is right for you.  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.


Surveillance Camera Microphones

Written By:
Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Capturing video footage with your digital video camera system is great, but there may be times when audio is also needed.  In this case you will more than likely want to have some good surveillance camera microphones.

Many of Security Camera King’s digital video security cameras come with an on-board surveillance camera microphone to record audio.  Some of the more frequent applications of audio are using the camera at entrances and exits as a door guard, gate keeper, or other special applications.

Two-way audio using the Internet or a network allows you to hear what is being said or done and react by being able to talk back where the subjects can hear you through the camera’s on-board speaker.

Not all units have surveillance camera microphones for this purpose.  However, Security Camera King does sell powered microphones specifically for this purpose.  Our product# MIC is rugged yet produces studio quality sound and the microphone can be mounted almost anywhere. It has both the power plug receptacle and the BNC plug-in for the audio cable.  The microphone is sturdy and small so as not to be obtrusive when it is installed along with a digital video camera.

WARNING:  There are state laws concerning the recording of conversations without all those participating in the conversation being aware of the recording.  Check with your own state laws to make sure you are complying with state, federal, and/or local laws if you are covertly recording conversations and video images as well.  Oddly enough, there doesn’t seem to be too many restrictions on video capture, but there are plenty that deal with audio recording.

For many states where a surveillance camera microphone (with audio) is used, a simple notice or sign posted in the area of the camera is sufficient enough. (For example, “These premises are protected by digital video cameras with audio.  Both video and audio is being recorded.)   Other states may have more elaborate requirements to be compliant.

Quite often you may wish to have a security camera audio hookup on one particular camera in your system:  A baby monitor.  Having audio for a baby monitor increases the ability to keep a safe watch on a child.  It can alert you immediately if anything is wrong.

External microphones like product# MIC above are normally connected to the Digital Video Recorder or DVR by two wires with a BNC connector on the end.   The standard power plug accepts from 6 to 12 VDC.  Again, check the specifications of your camera as the camera may already have an on-board microphone/speaker.

Sometimes it’s more advantageous to have a separate surveillance camera microphone even if one comes on-board with the camera.   Chances are that if you are covertly recording video, you won’t want the camera mounted somewhere that will make it easily seen.  The same situation for the microphone applies, however the camera may be mounted in such a remote or unusual place that you will want a separate surveillance camera microphone mounted closer to the origination of the sound.  This could mean that the camera could be in one wall of the room and the microphone is installed somewhere quite distant from the camera such as the opposing wall or on the ceiling.

If you are installing a new system or replacing an older DVR with a newer DVR and it is one of Security Camera King’s featured DVRs the DVR will be able to accept audio input and audio output.  Even our entry level 4 Channel Elite-Mini Economy DVR has to Audio In ports and one Audio Out.  However, other DVRS may not include the ability to support audio so it is best to check the specifications sheet for that DVR before purchasing.

If you have any additional questions concerning surveillance camera microphone or security cameras or DVRs with audio, please contact any one of our security experts either via on-line “Live Chat” or by telephone at 866-573-8878 Monday through Friday from 9AM to 6 PM EST.


USB Security Camera

Written By:
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.


4 Channel DVR With Cameras

Written By:
Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

One of the most popular digital video security system configurations is the 4 channel DVR with cameras security system. This is especially true for the homeowner; quite often four cameras are enough to cover their situation. Four camera security systems are not limited to homeowners by any means; they also are popular for businesses and other commercial uses. In the following article, we’ll overview the general characteristics of the eight different 4 channel DVR with cameras systems that Security Camera King (SCK) has to offer. For specific details, see each system’s description and specifications on its own web page.

Before we dive right in talking about the 4 channel DVR with cameras, there are a couple of things we should mention. First, security camera systems are referred to as “X number of channel systems. “When the word “channel” is used in this manner it normally means the same thing as “camera”; therefore a 4 channel digital video security system can use up to 4 digital video cameras.

Secondly, sometimes the term “channel” is used in a different manner, such as channel A or channel B. This use of the term normally indicates a radio frequency and not a camera, just like the channel on an FM radio or television for example.

Finally, just for clarification, a 4 channel DVR with cameras system with wireless cameras and a receiver that is referred to as an 4 camera receiver with 16 channels usually means that the system can use up to 4 cameras and the receiver has 16 different radio frequencies to choose from (to prevent interference for example) for the wireless camera to use to transmit its data.

Now, let’s talk about Security Camera King’s 4 channel DVR with cameras systems. SCK has eight different complete package systems that it offers, however, for our discussion; we can narrow this down to four. Here’s why: SCK offers systems for sale (as well as individual component parts) because we can offer you a more competitive price on a system than by selling you each component separately. However we also recognize the fact that every system has different needs.

So, SCK has grouped their systems into different packages based on the most common differences it has found between its customers needs. Therefore, for each type of 4 camera security system, we offer two different cabling/power supply/connectors solutions.

In our standard cabling systems, we offer 4 channel (camera) space saving power supplies, 4 plug n play cables pre-terminated complete with connectors. The power supplies are typical outlet plug adaptors that have four leads, one to supply power to each camera. The plug n play cables are 100 feet long each and have a BNC male connector for the camera and DVR at each end as well as a 2.5 mm female power plug.

This cabling system is good for runs that are somewhat uniform and/or if you don’t want to hassle with cutting, stripping, and attaching connectors to cable. If you have any one cable run that is longer than 100 feet in length however, this will not work for you.

For individuals whose 4 channel DVR with cameras system’s design requires cable runs longer than 100 feet, or have varied lengths for most of the cameras, SCK offers the bulk cable package. In this package we offer an 4 channel power distribution box that adequately supplies the power to each camera from one central location, one boxes of 500 foot long Siamese RG59 18/2 combined cable (combines RG59 video transmission cable with 18 gauge 2 wire power supply cable), and no-tools required twist on BNC connectors for the cameras and DVR and 2.5 mm female power plug power leads for the camera power supply.

Considering that each DVR package type offers two different cabling options, that totals 8 different 4 channel DVR with cameras systems that SCK offers at great competitive prices. These systems can now be compared based primarily on the DVR types which are the Elite-Mini Economy, the Elite Mini HD, the Elite Series, and the Ultimate Series DVRs.

Of course, each system comes with a full complement of 4 digital video security cameras offering 420 TVL of resolution, our Product# OD-LX420IR50, with the exception of the Ultimate packages where we step-up the game to a higher resolution camera of 520 TVL, our Product# OD-LX520IR50. Both cameras are dome types, high definition color and high definition black and white infrared with an infrared range of about 50 feet.