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  • CCTV Surveillance System Guidance?

    After a rash of vandalism at a small business I've been tasked with overseeing the purchase and installation of a CCTV system.
    Their first impulse was to pick up a mass merchandised bundled unit from Sams or Costco.
    My thoughts were that these units might not serve their specific needs in the long run.

    My research leads me to believe that the camera/lens quality is where the balance of any potential equipment purchasing budget should be spent.
    We need at the very least good facial capture quality on the interior entry/exit points (2 doors) and as close to facial capture on the exterior areas (20'long x 30'wide) of these 2 points for potential prosecution evidence in the event of an attempted robbery (high profile target run by 2 women).

    Lighting conditions on the interior of the doors will vary from day to night with fairly bright fluorescent lighting near the back door during occupation to near dark after close, medium interior daylight conditions (large plate glass window within 5' of door) on the front door during the day to low indirect* to none at night. *The "low indirect includes an overhead flood in the exterior 5' x 10' "enclosed" (3 sides) portico area that will "flash" into the interior when the door is opened.
    The exteriors will be in daylight and then covered with high pressure sodium lighting at night directly overhead of the openings.

    These locations are my first priority.

    I would also like to eventually capture the parking spaces that butt up to the building 3-4 feet away from the foundation and about the length of a car.

    With the consideration that I'm leaning toward a stand alone DVR what camera and lens recommendations do you have?

    Thank you in advance,
    cat
    Last edited by cat; 08-06-2008, 12:01 AM.

  • #2
    Your requirements are very broad.. and do you have specific target pricing for these components?

    One suggestion may be to use hi res color indoor vandal resistant minidomes with varifocal AI lens and for outdoors, use vandal and weather proof minidomes with day/night cameras and varifocal and AI lens.

    Another suggestion can be to use discrete color hi res cameras (or sometimes referred as fixed cameras or brick cameras) and add a varifocal AI lens for indoor... As for the outdoor, use same type of cameras except day/night and better varifocal AI lens and then put them into outdoor housing (depends where this customer is, you may need the same housing to come with heater and blower).

    Or you can go dirt cheap and get equipment from Sam's Club or from Costco.

    As for DVR, good observation for embedded systems - they are very easy to use and easy to operate.. Select decent manufacturer equipment with decent warranty, preferably three years warranty.

    How many cameras do you need for this location?
    http://www.cctvshowroom.com
    http://www.everythingcctv.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Remember, in order to make an ID in court, you need either 1) incredibly high resolution cameras and recorders combined with labor intensive video enhancement work using expensive software, or 2) the person's face must take up almost a quarter of the screen. So always be conservative on how many cameras you need. Buying an extra camera is cheaper than not having evidence in case of a major incident.

      Force people to be on camera by identifying 'bottlenecks' (places people have no choice but to pass in order to get to the target, preferably a narrow corridor or doorway) and zoom in to get a tight shot of the bottleneck (from at least two angles if possible) at a shallow angle (put the camera further away with a zoom lens rather than up close, so you get a shot of a face rather than a shot of the tops of heads, unless you want to identify hats and nothing else).

      For your outdoor cameras, get broad shots of your exteriors, but face the bottlenecks, so you can go to court and say <show video from camera three> "As you can clearly see, a person wearing a green coat and a Cleveland Indians cap approached the entrance at 7:32 PM. We can see the face of the person, by switching to camera four, which faces the doorway from the inside. At 7:33 PM, you can see <switch to camera four> THE DEFENDANT!"

      And remember, night shots are tricky, as are long shots. Always have cameras supporting each other, meaning, each camera should always be shown physically in the picture from another camera, limiting your blind spots.
      The CCTV Blog.

      "Expert" is something like "leader". It's not a title that you can ever claim for yourself no matter what you might know or might have done. It's a title that others bestow on you based on their assessment of what you know and what you have done.

      -SecTrainer

      Comment


      • #4
        One consideration that works well for face capture that is also somewhat covert are camera incorporated height strips. I have used high resolution ones that work very well for face capture as well as giving the person inside an idea of the persons height as they enter or leave.

        Other than that I think the advice from Cameraman and MetzLyov is right on the money.

        Comment


        • #5
          Agreed with all the above. In addition, consider this: most systems and system owners want coverage of the entrances & exits. This is usually done form the inside due to cost and space restrictions. Someone who is going to rob or burgle a place is going to enter in such a way that their face is obscured from the cameras they know are going to be there (head down, hat pulled low over eyes and face, face in a book, etc.). On the way out, however, they are in a hurry (not taking the time to cover their face), but they will be moving away from the door cams... so the only shots will be of the top/back of their heads. A camera mounted to point towards the interior from a door would be very useful in this situation, would it not? Cameras mounted on the exterior walls of vestibules pointing inwards are invaluable in robbery, smash-n-grab, and grab-n-run situations. Perhaps even a door-frame mini cam, mounted at about 4' or 5' up, with a tight angled shot across the doorway.

          We're actually including "exit" cams like these in all of our new camera installations. Just something to consider. People are usually concerned with seeing the bad guys coming. Sometimes, it's better to be able to see them going.
          "I don't do judgment. Just retrieval."

          "The true triumph of reason is that it enables us to get along with those who do not possess it."

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by darkenna View Post
            We're actually including "exit" cams like these in all of our new camera installations. Just something to consider. People are usually concerned with seeing the bad guys coming. Sometimes, it's better to be able to see them going.
            Great advice, Darkenna. It has been my practice for many years to specify cameras to view both the inside as well as the outside of all building entrance points. This gives you a view both coming and going.
            Michael A. Silva
            Silva Consultants

            Comment


            • #7
              Just a quick note of appreciation as I won't have time to respond until tomorrow to the questions and advise..
              I believe I've found where the pros post.
              Thank you all very much!

              cat

              Comment


              • #8
                There's more to it than the cameras

                Cat,
                I am new to this forum and I do believe that you have received some great advice. Please keep in mind that having a high resolution camera and close up images is not all you can do to ensure great quality video. It is great to have a high resolution camera, but if the DVR doesn't record high resolution than you won't be able to benefit from all that the camera has to offer. I recommend that you select a DVR that can record in 704x480 resolution. This is often refered to as D1 resolution, but actually true D1 is 740x480. Either way, using a DVR that can record in higher resolution means that you can get maximum benefit from the high resolution camera. Also, when enhancing images for identification, you will get a better quality enlargment than a DVR that recorded in 360x240 (CIF). Also, consider the compression used for storing the video on the hard drive. The best quality image will often come from the lowest compression like MJPEG, however the storage capacity of your DVR's hard drive will be greatly reduced. I would recommend MPEG 4 part 10 (H.264) which will give you the best combination of storage and quality of video. Getting great video that can be used to identify the bad guy is often an art form where you have to balance proper camera placement, precise camera and lens selection and high quality recording device.

                Hope this helps!

                Comment


                • #9
                  We use exit cameras from Honeywell (formerly Silent Witness) called Exitview, and also from Camden Controls. These are in the form of a height strip.
                  sigpic
                  Rocket Science
                  Making everything else look simple, since 1958.


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                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MetzLyov View Post
                    Your requirements are very broad.. and do you have specific target pricing for these components?
                    Not necessarily, I will have to sell the business owner on the units and their pricing.
                    I'm hoping to get the basics (DVR and around 8 cams) for around $3 g's retail before installation.

                    One suggestion may be to use hi res color indoor vandal resistant minidomes with varifocal AI lens and for outdoors, use vandal and weather proof minidomes with day/night cameras and varifocal and AI lens.

                    Another suggestion can be to use discrete color hi res cameras (or sometimes referred as fixed cameras or brick cameras) and add a varifocal AI lens for indoor... As for the outdoor, use same type of cameras except day/night and better varifocal AI lens and then put them into outdoor housing (depends where this customer is, you may need the same housing to come with heater and blower).

                    Or you can go dirt cheap and get equipment from Sam's Club or from Costco.

                    As for DVR, good observation for embedded systems - they are very easy to use and easy to operate.. Select decent manufacturer equipment with decent warranty, preferably three years warranty.

                    How many cameras do you need for this location?
                    They need at least 10 in my estimation but I may have to start out with 4 to begin with.

                    I have these items so far in my feature "want list":
                    1. tamper and weather resistant enclosures
                    2. auto iris
                    3. vari-focal lens (?)
                    3. heaters (?)
                    4. True Day/Night capability (Goes to B/W at night for better quality shots under artificial lighting)

                    My question is, who makes the best guts and lenses and where can I source them at a reasonably moderate pricing?
                    I've heard the Sony super HAD is a desirable camera and that glass is better than plastic in regard to the lens.
                    Thanks!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by CameraMan View Post
                      Remember, in order to make an ID in court, you need either 1) incredibly high resolution cameras and recorders combined with labor intensive video enhancement work using expensive software, or 2) the person's face must take up almost a quarter of the screen. So always be conservative on how many cameras you need. Buying an extra camera is cheaper than not having evidence in case of a major incident.
                      Good advise, thank you.
                      As best I can tell we will ultimately need 8 to 10 cameras.
                      I'm still unsure of camera placement at this point so for simplicities sake I'll narrow it down to 2 good exterior cams viewing the immediate areas surrounding the doors (20' x 30' area) mounted at 15' overhead and 2 good interior facial quality camera/lens setups that will continuously cover 4' x 8' areas.

                      Force people to be on camera by identifying 'bottlenecks' (places people have no choice but to pass in order to get to the target, preferably a narrow corridor or doorway) and zoom in to get a tight shot of the bottleneck (from at least two angles if possible) at a shallow angle (put the camera further away with a zoom lens rather than up close, so you get a shot of a face rather than a shot of the tops of heads, unless you want to identify hats and nothing else).
                      Roger the bottleneck and shallow angle.

                      For your outdoor cameras, get broad shots of your exteriors, but face the bottlenecks, so you can go to court and say <show video from camera three> "As you can clearly see, a person wearing a green coat and a Cleveland Indians cap approached the entrance at 7:32 PM. We can see the face of the person, by switching to camera four, which faces the doorway from the inside. At 7:33 PM, you can see <switch to camera four> THE DEFENDANT!"

                      And remember, night shots are tricky, as are long shots. Always have cameras supporting each other, meaning, each camera should always be shown physically in the picture from another camera, limiting your blind spots.
                      My idea of an ideal setup would be to have 2 interior cams on each door for coming and going ("exit cam" idea borrowed from darkenna"), a small area cam outside of each door and an "big picture" cam for each side of the building.
                      I'm fairly certain I'll have to work the client up to this point a stage or two at a time.
                      Thank you again for your time,

                      cat

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Rooney, those look fantastic for my purposes.
                        Any leads on where to get them?
                        I see Honeywell has a set they are proud of.. the retail price at around $400 seems little steep.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by darkenna View Post
                          Agreed with all the above. In addition, consider this: most systems and system owners want coverage of the entrances & exits. This is usually done form the inside due to cost and space restrictions. Someone who is going to rob or burgle a place is going to enter in such a way that their face is obscured from the cameras they know are going to be there (head down, hat pulled low over eyes and face, face in a book, etc.). On the way out, however, they are in a hurry (not taking the time to cover their face), but they will be moving away from the door cams... so the only shots will be of the top/back of their heads. A camera mounted to point towards the interior from a door would be very useful in this situation, would it not? Cameras mounted on the exterior walls of vestibules pointing inwards are invaluable in robbery, smash-n-grab, and grab-n-run situations. Perhaps even a door-frame mini cam, mounted at about 4' or 5' up, with a tight angled shot across the doorway.

                          We're actually including "exit" cams like these in all of our new camera installations. Just something to consider. People are usually concerned with seeing the bad guys coming. Sometimes, it's better to be able to see them going.
                          I like the way you think, I may even quote you in my presentation.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            techvisiondvrs.com,

                            I was trying to not get any more confused than I already am so I was staying away from the DVR discussion when I first posted.
                            Your point is very relative and needs consideration.. and I think I can keep up with what I've been given so far.. so here goes.

                            I'd like to have as near real time as possible (30 fps per channel), a minimum record resolution of 704x480, the ability to monitor, *playback/search (ideally over the network) and record at the same time (triplexed?) while saving the best possible quality to disk.
                            It needs to have user accessible drives for either dumping or swapping.
                            Storage isn't an issue as I have access to plenty of commercial server storage where I can dump the data.

                            I'm currently looking at the 16 channel DVRs from: Intellicam (either the XLA or RTA), CBC/Ganz 16NRT and the Pelco DX4600.
                            Has anyone had experience with any of these units that could point out the pros or cons?
                            Are there other units I should consider?
                            Thanks folks, you've been a big help.

                            cat

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              integrator97,

                              Those look ideal but at almost $400 a set I'm afraid they'll eat too far into their budget.

                              Thanks for the pointer!
                              Last edited by cat; 08-08-2008, 01:07 PM.

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