Posts Tagged ‘ surveillance cameras ’



Video Games that Use Security Cameras in Gameplay

Written By:
Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

NES-camera

It may be hard to believe, but video games have been with us almost 50 years now. Coincidentally, that is about the same time CCTV cameras have been around with both technologies starting to come into their own in the 1970s. The 2 technologies didn’t actually crossover until the mid-1980s when graphics and game play options became sophisticated enough to incorporate an actual game play use for CCTV cameras. So, lets take a look at some of the games that actually found a way to work surveillance cameras into how the game was played.

METAL GEAR – 1987 – NES, MSX – by Konami

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The granddaddy of the spy game genre, Metal Gear, was like an 8-bit amalgam of the films “Rambo” and “Escape from New York”. In the game, you play as Solid Snake, a military spy trying to take out an evil dictator located in a bunker complex in the jungle, as well as his doomsday weapon, a walking tank called the Metal Gear. The game has a top down, birds eye view perspective. The game was also one of the first to require stealth, meaning the player had to sneak around the game undetected rather than going out guns-a-blazing, in order to survive.

How CCTV was used in the game:

The first of many games to actually incorporate CCTV cameras heavily in a game. Essentially, the cameras were either fixed in one location or moving back and forth on tracks.

In the original 8-bit Metal Gear games, cameras could not be avoided by walking under them. Instead, the player must hide behind a wall or “equip” the cardboard box before it moved over him. And in certain areas, you had to access a CCTV monitor to show you where enemies lie in waiting in adjacent rooms.

NIGHT TRAP – 1991 – Sega

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One of the more bizarre footnotes on game history, Night Trap, a B movie style horror / comedy game was one the first CD based console games. Appearing first on the SEGA CD platform, the disc format (still a new technology at the time) allowed for very compressed, primitive FMV (Full Motion Video). Night Trap is the first game where the ENTIRE game is viewed through the lens of hidden security cameras. Though practically unplayable by today’s standards, this game was groundbreaking and quite controversial for it’s time.. being one of the games that directly led to the video game content rating system.

How CCTV is used in the game:

You’re an undercover SWAT team that’s monitoring a monster-ridden house where a slumber party of sorority girls is taking place. This is happening in eight different locations, but only one camera can be viewed at a time. When Vampires (called “Augers”) invade the the house, the player has to find them and use traps to capture them.

Goldeneye 007 – N64 – 1998 by Rareware / Nintendo

Bunker-1

A game that was originally intended to be a 1996 N64 launch title was an adaptation of the 1996 “reboot” of James Bond franchise, “GOLDENEYE”. However, the game’s development dragged on for over 2 years. It was worth well the wait. Garnering near universal praise and adulation for its realistic first person spy shooter mechanics and addictive multiplayer mode, the game went on to sell an incredible 6 million copies.

How CCTV was used in the game:

Shoot out the camera.

In Goldeneye007, cameras have 3 dimensional line of sight. If you appear in front of them, they will trigger an alarm which will send soldiers to your location. Cameras can be shot down (which can be done through windows as well as from long distances), allowing you to move freely through an area. Also, it’s possible to access certain security cameras in certain enemy complexes which allow you to see rooms that lay ahead of you, then plan your strategies ahead of time.

Metal Gear Solid – PS1 – 1998 – by Konami

Metal_Gear_Solid_(PSX)_12

Coming about 10 years after the original Metal Gear game for the NES and MSX came on the scene, Metal Gear Solid shook up the gaming industry in 1998 by taking it’s sci-fi espionage story and giving it an unprecedentedly cinematic feel for the late 90’s. This sequel / remake took the game play options so far beyond it’s original incarnation that it felt like a completely different entity, despite sharing characters, stories, game play and themes in common.

How CCTV was used in the game:

Like it’s predecessor, Security Cameras in this game become a constant object of avoidance, but unlike the original, they can be avoided by hiding underneath them. And like Goldeneye, your character con occasionally access the cameras to avoid later obstacles.

Manhunt – 2003 – PS2 – Rockstar Games

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This game, created by the team behind the Grand Theft Auto franchise, is a controversial urban horror-centric game that, unlike many of the games listed here actually uses security cameras as part of the plot.

How CCTV is used in the game

Notorious for it’s violent imagery, this game uses it’s CCTV cameras as both a plot device and as a visual aesthetic. The plot involves a “Snuff Film” director that sends a death row inmate into an abandoned neighborhood to kill his way through gangs in order to satisfy his “audience”, which is being filmed by “thousands” of CCTV cameras located there. At specific violent parts of the game, the visual aesthetic switches to a gritty, static filled, but convincing analog video look.

Watch Dogs – 2014 – PS3/4 Xbox 360/One – by Ubisoft

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The newest and most ambitious game on this list, Watch Dogs is a 3rd person, open world / mission-based tech action-adventure game where players can freely roam the open world of a near-future version Chicago, but can progress by completing missions.

How CCTV is used in the game:
The game centers on a hacker and ex criminal bent avenging his family, using his hacking skills and smartphone to connect to the city infrastructure operating system called ctOS (CenTral Operating System). This allows you to access, monitor and hack everything the city… including manipulating traffic lights, finding information in suspects, and accessing over 25,000 security cameras all over the city in order to stop your enemies.

What makes this game different from past games that utilize CCTV networks is that your access point to cameras or anything else in the game is a cell phone, which immediately makes it feel incredibly modern.

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Where Should I Place My Security Cameras In My Business?

Written By:
Monday, September 8th, 2014

2 Megapixel Bullet Camera

Where Should I Place My Security Cameras In My Business? It would seem a rather simple question. Exactly what did you want to see? However yet, there are some elements to consider when designing your camera plan that you may not have considered. I have listed some of the things you might want to cover in a section by section breakdown that you can peruse on a “by application” basis.

Exterior Building Parking Lots: Clearly one of the most popular placements for cameras, parking lots can also be difficult to secure. They are often large areas where targets are undetermined to enter, exit, or travel. Additionally, you are often working with a number of unknowns and variables. This enormous unknown factor means you have to be prepared for something to occur anywhere within this large area. The use of pan tilt zoom, multiple varifocal, and megapixel cameras are common, and combining them is an even more effective way to cover your lots.

Exterior Building Yards: Yard areas are often where a company keeps some of their most expensive assets. Machinery, inventory, and other large and bulk items are kept in these yards. This can be a perplexing situation for security. Ideally cameras focused on specific areas, megapixel cameras, or auto-tracking cameras are excellent options, and of course, combinations of these are even better.

Exterior Building Perimeter: Covering the exterior entrances of a building can be tricky, and if possible shouldn’t be combined with cameras being used to cover yards or lots. The wider the angle of picture used to capture an area, the smaller the objects in that picture appear (and therefore yielding less detail). Therefore, for the sake of detail, you should use separate cameras for these purposes. Obtaining the largest, clearest pictures of persons entering and leaving a building or area is absolutely critical in many situations.

Exterior Building Zone Management and Security: No access and sensitive areas can be managed easily and cost-effective with the right cameras and recorder. Many recorders can be set to send you a text, email, or push notification if there is motion within a certain area of a camera’s field of view. Additionally, Pan Tilt Zoom cameras can be trained to change direction and zoom in and out if there is a motion activation in a certain area.

Exterior Building Vehicle Registration: Capturing vehicle information can be accomplished very easily. The key to this task is more a matter of camera proximity than type. Capturing vehicle information can be very useful to authorities in the event that something occurs on your property.

Interior Building Security: When considering interior camera locations, there are many considerations. Certainly you will want overviews of any area of interest, but there is more than just that to consider. You will want to cover your major entry points. In the case of your home, doing this with a covert camera may give you critical information identifying potential intruders unaware of the camera’s existence. In your business, a super high quality varifocal camera will give you a record of all who enter. You will also want to cover high importance areas with their own camera. Cash registers and counting areas, gun and cash safes, jewelry boxes, and theater rooms can all be perfect situations to place an additional covert or high end camera.

Interior Building Inventory Control: Clearly one of the most important purposes for cameras is to protect the valuables contained within a building. Placing cameras at high traffic areas creates a registry of people entering and leaving the area with inventory. Additional cameras placed in areas of particularly valuable or important items is always suggested as an additional way to account for those items. Another philosophy is to place a camera at the exits to monitor persons as they exit the building.

Interior Building Time Theft Prevention: Keeping watch of your time clock can be far more important than you realize. Its becoming more and more common to find that another employee has been punching the time clock on the behalf of their friend, or employees punching themselves back in from break and then returning to the break room. These are just a few forms of a new crime known as “time theft”. Essentially, its fraud. You could easily lose thousands of dollars at your time clock.

Interior Building Supervisory: Large area overview cameras are gaining popularity these days as well. These cameras assist the business owner in keeping tabs on their employees and the activities they are performing. They can be used to enforce and ensure safety policies are being adhered to, observing and training employees on the job, observing customers/clients for research on behaviors, and enforcement of rules, regulations and standards of your business. Lastly, interior cameras give you piece of mind by giving you the power to simply look and see what exactly is going on while you are away yourself.

Interior Building Monetary Assets Control: In any business there are precious investments that need to be secured. Everything from expensive machines or computers, to safes and registers, to raw inventory, to the very people in the business (customers and employees alike) has/have potential to be stolen or damaged. Keeping an eye on valuable assets is an obvious use for cameras.

Interior Building Entrant Registration: Even though this is the last entry in my camera locations blog, it may actually be the most important. A registry of entries and exits and a detail of the people of the persons coming and going could prove critical in the cases of many events. Placing a camera at each entrance that only views literally the space required to enter or exit the building, and raised to the optimal zone the people’s heads travel through should give you a nice big detailed picture of their face. When paired with an overview camera of the area, you can now track that person based on a) their apparel and look and b) simply going from camera to camera and tracing their movements. If that person is caught on recording stealing, vandalizing, or any other action of interest; you can now simply reverse through the footage until you get to the point where they had entered the building. At that point, you have that nice large image of their face. If there are other confined entry points (like other doorways) that allow access into areas of interest or importance or value, you could place other facial capture cameras as a way to make certain the person is the same, and to get more details about them.

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The Differences Between Megapixel IP Security Cameras and HD-SDI

Written By:
Friday, February 28th, 2014

Megapixel VS HD-SDI

What is the difference between Megapixel and HD-SDI Security Camera Systems? We get many calls on a daily basis with customers asking whether or not they should choose one over the other. There are good and bad things about both. You should be aware that even though both systems can record at megapixel resolution, there are vast differences about both systems that you may want to consider before making your choice.

You will find many different debates between both surveillance systems. The easiest way to choose which system is best for your application is to take a look at these differences below:

  1. Megapixel cameras are capable of recording on their own. They generally have all of the same features that you would find in the rest of our Digital Video Recorders (DVR’s) and Network Video Recorders (NVR’s). You will be able to set up one IP camera on its own, or set up a few of them without ever needing an NVR to record its footage. A lot of megapixel IP cameras these days have the ability to record onto a micro SD card. It will save you some money if you’re looking to set up a surveillance system on a budget. However, you’ll ask yourself, so why would anyone ever need an NVR? That’s because in some application, you’ll need more storage space. If you set up the cameras on their own, you’re going to be limited to the amount you can record on a micro SD card. In turn, you’ll only have the capabilities to go back and view a couple of days of recorded footage as opposed to a couple of months. Also, NVR’s are generally going to act as a central hub for all of the cameras where recording each one on their own will make it harder for you if you’re looking to view all of the cameras at once. With an HD-SDI system, you’ll only be able to record the cameras if you’re using some sort of digital recording software or hardware.
  2. With an HD-SDI surveillance system, you’re going to need to have all HD-SDI technology. Unfortunately, you will not be able to use your current DVR with HD-SDI cameras. They transmit a different signal through the wires.
  3. Even though you may not be able to use your current DVR you will be able to keep your analog system wiring. This is a huge benefit for anyone who cannot re-wire their home or business. There are some situations where wires have been installed during the construction of a building and running new lines are near impossible without doing damage to the structure. In this case, it would be best to leave the wiring alone and upgrade your analog security system to an HD-SDI DVR and set of cameras. You’ll then be able to get the benefit of recording at megapixel resolution instead of being limited to D1.
  4. Even though it’s usually not really noticeable, megapixel systems have a bit of latency. Latency is also known as lag. If you’re viewing your video in real time, you may have a situation where you need to view the video exactly as its happening. Depending on how the network is set up, you may have a bit of latency (sometimes one second or more) and having an HD-SDI system will usually solve this issue when directly connected. You are then bypassing any network issues and recording the signal directly to and from the system without the inconsistencies of data packets being delayed.
  5. Many people purchasing a new system have a limited budget to purchase their security system with. HD-SDI generally ends up costing more money than a megapixel IP system. The chip needed to process the video in an HD-SDI system is generally more expensive than the ones manufactured for megapixel. Price has dropped considerably in the past few years and megapixel systems have become way more affordable these days in comparison to the costs of HD-SDI hardware.
  6. Even though an HD-SDI system is a bit more costly for the hardware, at the end of the day you may end up spending less because of ease of use. With a megapixel system, you may be stuck hiring someone with more of a technical background to set up your network and make sure that all of the cameras are connected correctly. Megapixel cameras each have an IP address and they all need to be set up correctly onto your NVR in order to begin recording each camera. You will end up having to choose between directly powering your cameras with a power supply or whether you want to use Power over Ethernet (POE) to power each IP camera. If you choose POE, you’ll have the benefit of just running one Ethernet cable for each camera all back to a POE switch, and then from there back to the NVR. This is where things can get confusing for most people who don’t deal with this type of network setup on a regular basis. Once you factor the cost of hiring a network technician, you may end up spending more money. However, with an HD-SDI system, every component is basically plug and play. You won’t need to worry about setting up each camera individually and at that point, running the wires will be your most difficult task.
  7.  One last thing you’ll need to consider is the reliability of your new surveillance system. If you ever have your DVR or Hard Drives fail on your HD-SDI DVR, your whole system will go down. You will no longer be able to record anything that’s happening on your property. However, if you’re using an NVR for your megapixel system and it crashes, at least you’ll have the peace of mind that you’re cameras are still capable of recording everything that’s happening for the next couple to few days depending on what type of memory card you have installed in each camera.

It seems that there are quite a few things to consider when trying to decide on HD-SDI VS Megapixel. If you think about it, it’s really not that hard of a decision to make. Personally, I would choose a megapixel IP system over an HD-SDI. It looks like the future is pointing to megapixel over HD-SDI because of all the added benefits between costs to reliability. Please keep in mind that HD-SDI still has its uses though. There are definitely some instances where it will be a benefit over a Megapixel IP system.

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The Many Uses of Security Cameras

Written By:
Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Cameras have changed completely since their inception. Some of the first images were of a piece of paper with silver chloride. The images were mostly dark shadows with no real details. Nicephore Niepce was reported to be the first person to create those images. Unfortunately his “pictures” would become entirely dark over time. The entire process was very cumbersome. You would need special chemical baths for the film to be developed. This was all around 1786 unfortunately Nicephore Niepce did not live long enough to see the fruits of his labors. About twenty years later the Box camera came to light. Although cumbersome it did start to produce quality images for the time period. The severe downside was the exposure times are very long, 3 hours long to be precise. Through the 1900s cameras of this style were the norm. Most were limited in application.

As you can see these cameras need a serious stand built for them so they can be motionless during the exposure time, and whatever you are taking a picture of would need to be motionless as well. These cameras worked well for people when everything was going a little slower than today. Those pictures are a good fit for picture albums and other typeset print media, i.e. books and pamphlets.

Today cameras are all about where and what you can put them on or in. After a trip to the doctor’s office it is a little unnerving what they can now look at in full color. Cystoscopy is a test that looks at the inside of your bladder to determine if you have any urinary tack issues. Cystoscope is the instrument that is used. This picture is of an actual cytoscope:

cytoscope

This camera allows your doctor to look at what has been bothering you. Now this is as closed circuit Television as it gets. The video feed is piped directly to a monitor for the doctor to look at and any brave family members you have with you. A cytoscope is a water proof camera for obvious reasons, so it is great for wet environments.

Working Length: 370mm
Angulation: 210° Up & 150°Down
Field of View: 120°
Depth of Field: 3mm-50mm
CV-1.5 Insertion Tube OD:

(1.5mm Channel)
4.7mm x 5.4mm

These specs vary depending on where you get the camera scope from, but as you can see it is very small.

Another type of radical camera is a bronchoscope. It is designed to allow a doctor or physician to view the inside of your respiratory tract.

bronchoscope

Depending on the procedure the care provider will go through the patient’s nose or mouth. During the procedure the device will pass though the throat and into the airways of the person. The Scope itself consists of a camera with light attached. It is like your own camera crew only they are in your lungs. Once inside the camera can see any blockages or inflammation the patient maybe having an issue with.

bronchoscope

As cameras have grown in popularity people have gone above and beyond as what they will put a camera on. The following picture is a novice that understands the importance of being able to record around their vehicle.

cameras on van

On a professional level UPS has found the need to place cameras on their delivery trucks. There are three main reasons for this straight from the UPS driver. The first and most obvious would be to prevent and track theft. The second reason is to help the driver to prevent getting into accidents. The third reason is to prevent general mayhem from people around the truck, such as people trying to hitch a ride on the back of the truck. Apparently it happens more than you or I would think. Almost weekly people are being booted from stealing a ride on the back of UPS trucks. That is about as bright as skitching a ride on a skateboard by hanging onto someone’s bumper.

Another great use for IP cameras is to use them on rental items such as quads or four wheel drive vehicles. I have a customer that has set up several rental business with IP dome cameras on their equipment and then they sell the video back to the customers too, so not only does it video of any negligence people can get a movie of the crazy stunts they probably were not supposed to be doing as well. Motor cross as a whole has been growing with more widespread use of helmet cams. Riders are now able to share their sick rides through the forests, the dunes, or on tracks. Before all of this was only seen with recording equipment that the television and cable networks had.

Nascar has taken cameras to the next level with putting them on the cars. Nascar has a service called “RaceBuddy” It is very cool if you are into racing. You get six video feeds from the driver. Next you get in and outside views off the car. Also you get the backstretch cam which is amazing being able to see the leader with everybody on his tail. Then you get video from the pit crews and pit road. This is all done over the internet so many users can be logged in to look at all the different camera shots. What makes RaceBuddy so innovative is how they use the video stream on a website. Any camera or DVR has a limit to how many users can log in at one time. Taking the RTSP stream to a webserver so only the webserver actually logs in then multiplies the feed to users on the website is brilliant. This method lets as many people to view without overloading your own network.

RaceBuddy

School busses and regular public transit has been installing more and more cameras for public safety. The installed cameras on busses help resolve differences between passenger and another passenger or issues with the bus driver. There is now a way to make sure the people on the bus and the operator all doing the right thing. This also helps the operator do some of the more important tasks like drive in heavy traffic not mediate a dispute between riders.

schoolbus cam

Not that our loving children are doing anything wrong on the bus while going to school, but it is always good to be sure especially in a court of law.

Cameras are getting smaller and smaller as the technology matures. From the medical field to racing, and law enforcement cameras are making every picture worth a 1000 words. The scope of a camera has changed from entertainment to tools of the trade and these tools are getting more precise as time goes on.

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How to install a Home Security Camera System

Written By:
Wednesday, February 12th, 2014
home cctv security camera

Installing home security has been seen as an important field of action that uses technology to provide protection around a person’s home, while being controlled from tech support. These surveillance systems allow you to monitor your home and provide a safe environment for you and your family by using web browser on a computer or even a smart phone. The following is a brief listing of new ways that you are able to keep your home well guarded from different types of intruders.

There are many essential parts in a surveillance system. Some of theses include surveillance cameras, a DVR (digital video recorder), power supply, cables, and a monitor. The cameras are used to film areas that are under surveillance; however, the DVR is used to record footage and display live scenes through the monitor. The power supply, which is used to power the entire system, is connected to the digital video recorder. It is also possible to run the DVR through a power box and then connect the power supply to the box. There are many things that should be put in consideration when installing a surveillance system. However, one of the most important things someone should consider is the type of cameras that should be used.
If you are considering installing a video surveillance around your home, you should learn about the different types of cameras that would best fit any reason or situation you may have for possessing a surveillance system. There are a couple of features to consider when it comes to choosing from the variety of cameras for a surveillance system. The three main cameras choices that are most commonly selected include: dome cameras, bullet cameras, and box cameras. Dome cameras have low visibility, meaning they blend in well with their surroundings, and are always attached to ceilings. Bullet cameras are prominent and are obvious in their appearance as surveillance cameras.

After selecting which the appropriate type of camera, the next step is to choose where the cameras will be installed. Out door cameras would be in necessity of weather protection, but it is also possible to purchase waterproof surveillance cameras or protective camera housing. In indoor installation, cameras must be placed where they cannot be seen by other but still allow coverage of the area that needs watch. Bullet cameras are usually placed in corners of walls while dome cameras are less likely to be seen. After determining the areas where the cameras will be placed, the following step in installation.

Installation can be a complex process. It is a difficult process from setting up the wiring to placing the surveillance cameras in their position and the connection of all the equipment from the installation. Where you place the camera is important. The distance of the camera to the area you are focusing on should be given careful consideration and make sure it is clearly visible. You must make sure the camera is properly mounted so it will not shake or distort the picture or image.

For those worried about security, out door camera are suitable because they are used to prevent criminals from attempted robbery and break-ins. If you would want to know what happens while you are away, these surveillances may ease your mind. Video surveillance allowed you to monitor or record in personal areas. For example, parents may want to watch over their children while they are sleeping and lower risks of danger or even to catch a crime in your own front yard.

But before you install a security system in your home, you should be aware of the legal restrictions on video surveillance. If you are not aware of these legal aspects, you may potentially face charges. Knowing the laws of having a security system will lead us to finally installing the surveillance system.

It is important that the installation of the surveillance cameras is done properly. Poor installation will not get provide proper results you’ve hoped for. Some surveillance has motion detectors that activate once the gadget picks up any movement within the area.

Home security systems may be very complex and installation involves mounting. The alarm system is called a close circuit system. When doors or windows open, they trigger sound circuits because when closed wires are in wiring loops, opening breaks that loop causing those unsatisfying noises. Installing this means installing the sounder first. This alarm is used to scare away any intruder or to call attention for help. You must be sure that the mount is correctly mounted. We must know how to wire the system after mounting the alarm and installing the switches, fire sensors, and window foils. A knife or wire stripper is used to cut off ¾ of an inch of the wire ends. Then loop each wire under a different terminal screw on the switch. Run the wire to every entry detection switches and sensors. Then add the copper wires to the screws and twist together two silver wires. They should go in the sensors without breaks or interruptions.
To connect the sounder, use solder less connectors to join black wire from the battery to the sounder to make it operate correctly. Then connect the wire ends from the switch to smaller wires on the sounder. Test sounder after by opening the door or window. If it is correctly installed, the alarms should go off. Besides alarms, there are many more gadgets for security for your front door. For example, push-button locks allow you to lock and unlock using the Internet or a smart phone.

When installing the indoor cameras, you must follow the manufacturers. Bullet cameras generally need screws to be able to be hung on the wall, it is that simple. One the other hand, dome cameras require a perfectly cut circle from the ceiling where the camera is going to be placed. These systems involve whole home wiring. Video surveillance and 24/7 monitoring that carry many features.

Installing home security system helps raise awareness about your home’s security and often leads to people being able to lower the risk of a home break-in. It also teaches families about security and how to take control of the home environment.

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