In the Toronto Transit Commission alone, there are 13,000 existing CCTV cameras. Putting cameras out there is only the first step of the battle when it comes to security. However these cameras must provide clear, and sharp footage to be effective. When it comes to security systems in Toronto and across Canada, it’s understandable that you’d expect that they provide you with the best picture possible, but how can you accomplish that with your CCTV systems?
Unless a business has decent quality CCTV footage (most don’t), it can’t be used by the prosecution in case of a break-in. Meaning for the majority of cases, there isn’t good picture quality with CCTV footage.
Picture quality is dependant on multiple factors. Depending on where the camera is located, lighting, how much area the camera is intended to cover, optics, and camera specs all contribute to what your footage results will look like.
CCTV systems can range anywhere from 420 lines up to HD 1080p and costs vary depending on what you go with. Below are five things to consider when trying to maximize the potential of your CCTV systems.
1. What Is the Camera Resolution?
Be sure and check your camera resolution and determine whether the camera will be used indoors or outdoors. CCTV camera footage resolution is measured in lines. For clear, sharp footage, you want higher lines. The higher the lines, the sharper the footage.
If you’re looking at mounting a camera indoors and covering only a 50 feet radius, cameras with lower resolutions will do the trick and ensure decent picture quality. However, if you’re mounting a security camera outside your home or business, you’ll need a higher resolution camera: at least 700 lines or better. This will get you greater facial recognition and higher image quality, obviously depending on certain other factors.
2. How Is the Camera Being Mounted?
While this may seem basic, it’s important to consider whether your camera is being placed inside or outside and what materials you’re going to be using to mount it. Common mounting solutions include ceiling mounts, wall mounts, corner mounts, pole mounts and parapet mounts.
If you’re mounting a camera indoors, it makes more sense to use a ceiling mount, while if you’re placing a camera outdoors, parapet mounts or pole mounts may be more practical. The mounting tools are important because they help determine what the camera will be able to see, how it may rotate, and it’s exact positioning.
3. How Much Natural or Street Light Is Near the Camera and Where Is the Light Coming From?
Regardless of what CCTV camera you’ve got or where it’s mounted, lighting is a serious consideration to ensure you’re getting the best possible picture quality. If you’re putting the camera outside, street lighting will not be enough for clear, sharp footage at night.
During the day, you want to make sure that the camera is positioned in a way that it is not directly hit by natural light. Glare could seriously impede your image quality and result in blind spots in your security coverage.
Installing an LED light illuminator with your outdoor camera is always advisable. Be sure and mount the illuminator at a distance from the camera to avoid a reflection or a glare.
Even for indoor cameras, it’s important to note where the lighting is coming from to avoid any glare from other windows or glass. It’s extremely important, both indoor and outdoors, to have the right angle with lighting for both the illumination angle and the camera’s field of view.
It’s key to ensure that your lighting covers as much of the area your camera hits. This way, you’re always getting the best picture quality possible and the image or person in the shot is recognizable with the help of lighting. Angles and how the light hits is very important so make sure you keep angles in mind.
4. What Is the Bandwidth and How Is This Affecting Overall Image Quality?
Another fairly important consideration when trying to get the best results with picture quality is bandwidth and how many cameras you have on your network.
If your business has multiple security cameras on site, it’s important to ensure that you have enough bandwidth to handle the load. While some cameras can perform with limited bandwidth, the more cameras you have, the lower the video footage quality will be.
Be sure to consider your network capabilities and upgrade them if your security system requires a greater load. Make sure your cabling is also good quality so that nothing gets lost in translation.
If you have too many resources depending on the same network, you’re going to get lag times with the video and poor picture quality. Forget facial recognition or clear images, if your bandwidth doesn’t match your requirements, security footage won’t be of much help.
5. How Do I Improve Night Vision and Movement?
We’ve discussed the importance of lighting and what you should consider for capturing clearer CCTV night footage. Most CCTV cameras have motion detectors to detect movement and the resolution capabilities can handle motion. But if you’re noticing that the results of your footage are slower or blurred as a result of movement, it may be time to upgrade your camera or network.
As far as night vision is concerned, monochrome CCTV cameras, coupled with integral infrared illumination, are extremely effective in capturing clearer images in low light. Here again, lighting plays a key role in ensuring that the best possible picture is captured with your camera.
No one understands the need for clearer footage better than police officers and video analysts. Both parties stress the importance of ensuring that there is enough space or your bandwidth can handle the cameras you’ve got onsite at your business.
In the case of a break-in, video analyst Michael Plaxton in conversation with CBC concludes that 80% of the time, clear video footage results in a plea from the culprit. While sharp, unobstructed images or video are important specifically to protect your business, it’s also important in catching the culprit if something does go wrong.
Apart from these considerations, it’s highly beneficial for your business if you select the right security system camera to start with.
If you’re currently looking for a surveillance system or looking to upgrade your existing system, contact Logixx to learn more about the best solutions tailored to suit your business requirements. Our experts offer a free consultation about the features of security systems across Canada that can be customized to suit your business needs.