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12 Things You Should Know About Surveillance Cameras

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12 Things You Should Know About Surveillance Cameras

When shopping for a surveillance camera system, it's easy to become overwhelmed by the large number of options and the accompanying technical language. Just stroll into any large box store and you'll notice a slew of different brands all claiming to sell the same camera. Every brand claims to offer excellent resolution and night vision, and it can be difficult to pick through the claims.

Many individuals are unaware that there is another type of security camera that is available to the general public but not sold in big box or warehouse retailers. These security cameras are designated as "commercial-grade" security cameras, and they are the type of camera that these large box retailers use to protect their inventory. Look up at the ceilings of consumer electronics stores and warehouse chains to see a white dome camera larger than the ordinary consumer camera in each aisle. Take a moment to absorb that... These firms don't even utilise the cameras they sell to the general public, and there's a reason for that.

1 - Consumer-Grade Security Cameras vs. Commercial-Grade Security Cameras

There are two types of security cameras, as you've just discovered. Consumer-grade cameras, which normally come with 8 or 16 cameras and a video recorder and sell for less than a thousand dollars (US $), are what you'll find in stores. Commercial-grade cameras, the second category of camera, start at around $400 (US) per camera, which is much more expensive. Commercial-grade video recorders start from around $500 (US $) and go up to $5000 depending on the amount of storage, camera connectivity, and image processing functions.

2 - Quality

On the surface, these two camera categories may appear to be similar, but as you look inside, the distinctions become clear. Consumer-grade cameras aren't meant for high-performance applications where failure isn't an option; commercial-grade cameras are. Consumer-grade cameras are typically designed to operate well when there is plenty of available light, but when the lighting is poor or missing (think sunset or darkness), their pedigree becomes apparent. Commercial cameras outperform their less expensive counterparts because they contain larger internal video sensors and higher-quality components that can adjust to low light and capture superb footage.

Consider this: if a competent still camera costs at least $250 (US $), how can a more advanced video camera be sold for less than $40? It's just not adding up. Manufacturers must take shortcuts in order to offer such low prices, and the final effect is subpar performance. What good is a security camera that only works in ideal situations, such as strong sunlight? Consumer-grade cameras can be useful in some scenarios, such as nanny cams or checking up on a pet, but they often fall short when it comes to gathering evidence of a crime.

The remainder of this post will focus on commercial-grade security cameras, as they are the greatest option for monitoring your possessions and catching criminals.

3 - Various Lighting Situations

When coping with harsh lighting situations, commercial-grade surveillance cameras prove their supremacy. For example, it is customary for a company to have a camera positioned at its front door. A tremendous amount of sunlight will shine through the doorway when someone opens it, filling the camera's sensor. A consumer-grade camera will adjust its shutter to compensate for the increased light that has been let into the room. As a result, the entryway seems adequately exposed, even though the store itself now appears dark due to the camera's mounting chamber being darker than the region of the doorway.The business owner in this situation ends up with a well-exposed doorway but an indoor shot that is too dark to be useful. Meanwhile, because they are standing in an under-exposed store, the face of the person entering inside the store is never captured. Though the example described here is for a store, mixed lighting circumstances are common in residences as well.

A specific light-handling feature in commercial-grade cameras solves this problem. HDR, which stands for "High Dynamic Range," is a software and hardware solution used by these cameras. HDR takes an exposure of the room and an exposure of the entryway in this example, then merges the two photographs to create a properly-exposed composite image of the two locations. The image appears to be entirely normal to anyone because the doorway and room appear to be at the same brightness level. As a result, faces are appropriately exposed at the entry and throughout the store, achieving the purpose of videotaping everyone who enters.Commercial cameras now include HDR as a basic function. Unfortunately, by the time buyers realise their low-cost consumer camera lacks HDR, it's generally too late because the cameras and recorders have already been installed.

4 - Seeing in the Dark

Now let's look at why consumer-grade cameras are so bad at night vision. In order for a camera to see in the dark, it requires a light source to illuminate the area beneath it. Unfortunately, consumer camera night vision illuminators are only built for a small range and have a fixed brightness. This means they usually over-expose what's close by in a picture, making people and objects look "blown out" and lack detail. So much for figuring out who the bad guys are. Commercial cameras, on the other hand, are frequently fitted with more advanced night vision infrared (IR) illuminators that can automatically change brightness to the scene."Smart IR" is a feature that adjusts the camera's infrared light output to the scene. The subjects look correctly exposed and in full detail when using Smart IR. A camera's utility is restricted if it can't record and produce a properly exposed and sharp image both during the day and at night.

5 - Is a High-Resolution Camera Enough?

Camera resolution is another significant aspect to discuss. It can be difficult to determine how much is sufficient. The term "resolution" is used in this article to refer to the number of dots (pixels) that make up a video image; the more dots, the more detailed the image. The same is true with high-definition televisions, with 1080p and 4K being the most common resolutions today. The picture information in a 4K resolution is roughly four times that of a 1080p resolution. These two resolutions are also used in surveillance cameras, and it's logical to suppose that the more dots in your video image, the better, right? Both yes and no. When it comes to surveillance cameras, having such a high-resolution 4K image has some unintended implications. More isn't necessarily better in this scenario.

When looking at a typical camera image, it's difficult to detect the difference between 1080p and 4K resolution. One of the biggest advantages of 4K resolution is the ability to resolve information after the fact, which means users may zoom in on details like faces while a security event is being recorded. However, while 4K resolution has some advantages, it also has some disadvantages. 4K photos are huge and take up a lot of storage space on the recording device. In fact, there's a lot of it.

If you want to use a 4K camera system, you'll need a very fast Internet connection as well as a strong home network, ideally an enterprise-grade network. As previously said, 4K camera images are extremely huge, and this is a significant amount of data to move around the home's network and, if desired, to an offsite cloud recording service (more on that below). Here, you should seek guidance from your HTA Certified technology professional, as they will be able to establish whether a 4K camera system will work in your case. Some of the better camera system brands feature options that allow you to tweak some of the recording characteristics so that slower network connections can still function properly.

6 - Is the camera system compatible with other systems?

We've covered a lot of crucial reasons why you should consider commercial-grade cameras so far, but we've only scratched the surface. A surveillance system is rarely a stand-alone system in today's networked environment. It's important to know if the camera system you're considering will work with other items.

Integration is a term used to describe "smart" devices that can communicate with one another through a network. Commercial camera systems may often interface with other smart devices, such as voice control products, thanks to the emergence of the linked house (aka "smart home") and products that offer you the power to manage lighting, audio/video, door locks, alarm systems, and more. A voice-controlled device like the Amazon Echo, for example, can display a camera image just by asking for it. When a security sensor is triggered as a result of an incursion, this is another example of the value of integration. The alarm is first activated However, the lights in the house can be turned on automatically, and the perimeter doors can be locked securely, trapping the burglar. Systems that formerly had little in common can now work together to create new features and benefits.

7 - A Growing Trend...Remote Video Storage

Another game-changer that comes with an Internet connection is how video is accessed and stored. Cloud video storage is a relatively recent technology, and what makes it so remarkable is that all video from your cameras can now be uploaded to distant storage. What is the significance of this? If bad individuals got into a house and stole the family jewels in the past, there was always the danger that they might also steal the security video recorder, which would be a terrible tragedy. There were no gems and no footage to help the cops catch them. However, with cloud video storage, this will never happen again.When the bad guys break in and seek for the tape recorder, there may not be one to steal this time. Each camera can transmit its video immediately to the cloud via the Internet, and once there, the film is permanently safe—which means a considerably better possibility of apprehending the thieves and recovering the gems. Cloud video storage has become a commonplace aspect of the security landscape, with increasing security video users choosing for cloud backup in addition to or instead of an on-site recorder. The way video security clients save their video is being influenced by networking, and the trend toward the cloud will continue to develop.

8 - Hacking...and How to Avoid It

It's tough to ignore the significant benefits customers receive from connecting their security cameras to the Internet, even if, as the media regularly points out, there are hackers lurking everywhere. It's become a fact of Internet life that no computer is completely secure, and security camera systems are no exception. Various vulnerabilities and exploits found by security experts and hackers alike have plagued the surveillance camera market in recent years. Only a few security companies have avoided the unpleasantness of discovering that their recorders and cameras were hacked and controlled by an unauthorised individual.

As a result, there is a heightened focus on ensuring that security systems are secure against network threats. Using a VPN Router/Firewall, which is a sort of computer designed to block out undesirable threats, is one of the finest ways to protect your surveillance camera system. When it comes to protecting any type of networked equipment, these devices are quickly becoming the de facto norm. Other technologies, such as P2P and Port Forwarding, that were supposed to make networking easier have merely increased the ways in which hackers might break into your network.Network security has become an essential component of setting up and implementing a security camera system, and it is something that no one can afford to overlook. Installers of camera systems that are HTA Certified (as indicated in their company profiles) will be able to recommend and implement security best practises.

9 - Deep Learning Search...Nearly Instantaneous Video Search

The security sector is rapidly evolving due to a new trend in surveillance video search technology known as "Deep Learning." What exactly is Deep Learning, and why is it so crucial? For starters, Deep Learning makes it possible to find what you're looking for without having to go through hours of irrelevant video footage. Imagine a webpage that functions similarly to a Google search engine, where you can explain the components you're looking for in the video footage you've shot.If we want to find any FedEx trucks that passed by our house on Friday, we can tell the deep learning search system to seek for them, and we'll receive a result similar to the one displayed near the top of this page. You now have a formidable tool for arresting criminals and gathering evidence with deep learning video search.

10 - Thermal cameras are military-grade technology that can be used in your backyard.

What exactly is a thermal camera, and why would you need one? The following is a quick rundown of how thermal cameras work: As a function of their temperature, all objects emit infrared energy (heat). The heat signature of an object is the amount of infrared radiation it emits. The more radiation a thing emits, the hotter it is in general. A heat sensor in a thermal camera is capable of detecting minute temperature variations.The device captures infrared radiation from nearby objects and generates an electronic image based on temperature differences. Because things are rarely the same temperature as their surroundings, a thermal camera can identify them and show them as unique in a thermal image.Thermal cameras are useful in situations where there is no light at all, as well as in areas where there is a lot of fog or smoke. They are currently being employed in high-end residential projects with extensive amounts of ground to cover and/or little to no landscape lighting, despite their popularity in commercial and government installations. Thermal cameras will allow you to view living objects from large distances using their heat signature, something that a regular camera would not be able to do.

11 - Security Cameras: How to Hide Them

You may conceal security cameras in a variety of ways. Miniaturized pinhole or peephole cameras can be disguised as or within other ordinary household goods, blended or camouflaged into the environment, or totally hidden. This article, The Top 4 Ways to Hide Security Cameras, has further information on the subject.

12 - See the Big Picture with 360° and 720° Cameras

When compared to a normal/standard camera, 360° and 720° surveillance cameras use a specialised fish eye or spherical camera lens to provide a significantly broader viewing area. 360° cameras have the ability to look in all directions, but only in one hemisphere. 720° cameras can look up, down, and left/right in all directions at the same time.