Do you want to observe the general comings and goings? Vehicles? Or do you want to see specific faces, merchandise, or a crowd en mass?
Next, decide what picture quality you need in your surveillance systems. Quality can refer to both how detailed the image is and how fast the frame rate is. Frame rate measures the number of many individual pictures that make up the video. "Real-Time", what you see on television and on VHS tapes, is 30 frames per second. Most often, surveillance systems record at slower rates, which result in more jerky-looking images but saves on recording space. A system with higher Recording/Playback rate is preferred.
How will your surveillance system be monitored? Will you simply record at all times, and only review the tape when a problem occurs? Or will you have a dedicated employee watching for trouble? Also, with multiple surveillance system cameras, you have the option of connecting each to its own monitor, or combining multiple images onto one monitor.
What's the priority for the surveillance system? Is it the deterrence of potential crimes or the capture of perpetrators? If you are more interested in deterring certain activities, large, visible cameras are your best bet. Trying to catch criminals without them being cognizant of the surveillance, requires hidden surveillance system cameras, which cost more for hardware and for installation.
One of the newest trends in the surveillance system industry concerns digital recording. Only a few years ago, most closed-circuit TV systems were paired with the familiar Time Lapse VCR to record images. However, digital video recorders (DVRs), which record onto hard drives instead of tape, offer a positive alternative.
For businesses that do not want to change tapes constantly, DVRs definitely are the way to go. While security VCRs offer a time-lapse mode that lets them record for long periods of time, the resulting images are not a good record of events - they record only one snapshot every eight seconds. To get higher quality, the tapes need to be change every day, if not more often. DVRs, on the other hand, can record for weeks or even months without the video data needing to be archived or written over. However, if you're on a tight budget and willing to invest in fading technology, good time-lapse VCRs, designed specifically for security use, start at $300 to $400.
When choosing a CCTV camera, consider the space of your surveillance zone: Are you 5 feet or 15 feet away from your surveillance target area? It's best to locate your camera as close to the surveillance area first, and then choose how much zoom you need.
To determine the field of view required, take photos of the areas to be covered from the proposed camera locations. The type of lens you need depends upon what you want to see, how far away it is and how wide the viewing area. Do you want to capture a person's face or a car license plate? Each camera location will determine which lenses would maximize your surveillance potential. For example: A 4mm wide angle lens will be able to view an area 20' high X 26' wide at 21' away.
Will the cameras be subject to damage? If they will, damage resistant cameras would be a must.
Is the space well lit or dimly lit? Are the lights turned off at night? Do you want to monitor the area with the lights turned off? If so, infrared CCTV cameras will be required.
You have a broad range of video surveillance cameras available to you. Understanding the different kinds will make it easier to determine which will suit the application best.
Outdoor Cameras - Outdoor cameras need to be able to withstand extreme temperatures and humidity and usually come in a weatherproof casing that also helps protect against vandalism.
Infra-Red Cameras - These cameras have infrared LEDs installed around the lens of the camera. This provides the light the camera can use to 'see in the dark' even when no outside light is available. In some low light installations, a day/night camera will work as well.
Day/Night Security Cameras - Day/Night cameras have a super sensitive imaging chip in them. This allows these cameras to work great in low light with no infrared lighting needed. Low light means that there is some light available but not a lot, for example from street lights or even moon light. If your application has absolutely no light then you'll need to use infrared instead.
Mini Security Cameras - Mini cameras are some of the smallest available, but still offer extremely good resolution and are ideal for unobtrusive surveillance. The compact design of these coin cameras make them very easy to hide and difficult to see.
Bullet Cameras - Bullet cameras are small, compact and can be placed almost anywhere. These cameras are great for covert surveillance. The lens is built into the camera and cannot be Alarm Systems switched. The main advantages to the bullet camera are their low cost and their small size.
Dome Cameras - Dome cameras are a popular style. Dome cameras present a streamline and professional look to any company, organization or building. They are available in both black & white and color formats. Some dome cameras come in an armor dome to protect against vandalism. Typically, they're only used indoors.
Budget: Just like any technology, the more you spend, the better the system you get. Keep in mind Alarm Systems a low system is better than no camera at all.
By: DL Consultants, LLC
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Vigilance and Security, a wholly owned subsidiary of DL Consultants, LLC, is a fast growng internet reseller of a broad line of cutting edge security camera and surveillance systems appropriate for home, as well as, small and medium business applications. Our clients include parents, homeowners, warehouses, convenience stores, restaurants and retail establishments.