New Video

Jan. 1, 2006
Learn to enjoy the view as you select and install CCTV systems.

Throughout this article, we offer details on cameras which use some of the hottest video technologies available. These manufacturers have surveyed the market and have come up with a recipe of features for their products which provide eloquent solutions for a variety of installation requirements. Here are some factors you should take into consideration when selecting the right camera for your installation.

Regardless of the type of camera or your special operation (application), the most critical phase of video is to start by obtaining the best image possible. Factors which affect image quality include:

Ambient lighting: Big and/or sudden changes in light levels in the viewing area may pose a problem for your installation, especially if you do not anticipate them prior to setting up your system. What would seem to be a simple task, such as putting a camera in an ATM, can turn into a major engineering challenge if there are headlights glaring into the camera or the camera faces direct sunlight at certain times of day. Positioning of the camera can mitigate these issues to a certain extent, after which it will be a matter of tinting the glass in the kiosk, or selecting a camera designed specifically to automatically compensate for sudden changes in light level. Besides external, uncontrollable light sources, the video system designer (you) can take measures to control the lighting in the area you are photographing. Traditional area lighting and specialized IR night lighting can put the issue of ambient lighting under your control and provide your client with the required image quality.

Environmental Issues: Those other site conditions, of which locksmiths are well aware, include whether the camera will be installed indoors or outdoors, or whether wind, rain, corrosives or vandalism are issues. With a little effort and the appropriate degree of creativity, you should be able to find a product and a method of deployment which will suit your application.

For example, if vandalism is anticipated, you select a housing designed to resist attack, or select a lens which allows you to place the camera out of harm’s way. Most cameras require that the temperature be somewhat stable, and condensation and rain drops on the lens must be controlled. If your camera will be exposed to vibration, then protect the camera from the possible resultant physical damage and the diminished image quality that would result if the camera is shaking while grabbing images.

Project Budget: This should only be a problem while you are in the video installation learning curve, while you are either too hungry for projects or lack the self-confidence or knowledge to make the right decisions. Some folks feel it is the right of passage to operate in the red on new technology projects they undertake, and perhaps writing off a few projects as tuition may be the right way to handle it. Fact is, you don’t need to be a novice to occasionally get yourself between a rock and a hard place. However it usually takes professionalism and perspiration to get back out again.

If the client is designing the system for you and using his checkbook as a guide, either be sure you’ll be properly compensated for your time or be sure you’re indemnified against the inevitable disappointment the client will experience when he realizes that bargain video does not deliver the value and performance he was expecting. In some cases, blow off the bargain hunters and move on to the next project. If the project is for an existing client, then take the time to educate the client as to what you think is the best approach, and he ‘ll probably listen to you. That’s why he was an ‘existing’ client; you showed him your stuff already, and he liked it enough to come back for more.

Connectivity: This term refers to how the camera connects to the rest of the system. The big industry buzz these days is network IP; that product group of cameras which hook up to an Ethernet network, and place the images, the processing and the viewing into the digital domain via the Internet. Other types of connectivity include: Coaxial cable, UTP (unshielded twisted pair wire) and wireless. Wireless telemetry includes Radio Frequency as well as point-to-point telemetry technologies.

Once the image data is converted to digital (or if it originates as digital), it then become fair game for DSP (digital signal processing) which includes, besides network/IP/Internet connectivity, digital video recording and data storage and manipulation techniques.