Security IP Cameras & CCTV Surveillance Services
Securco Services Inc. specializes in the expert installation and service of camera systems for government, commercial and residential clients. Experience from more than 30 years of providing custom solutions to Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands clients, means that Securco can design a system that will satisfy both the customer’s video requirements, and their budget. Video systems can be complex, in that the choices of equipment and configuration are nearly endless. With the advent of IP (Internet Protocol) cameras, the complexity of systems now include; networks, routers, the internet and software from a variety of manufacturers and distributors. In some cases, infrared illuminators are required for viewable video in scenes with no conventional lighting.
The primary factors in considering security video surveillance are:
• The area of view
• The details which need to be captured
• The lighting conditions of the area
• The protection of the camera from environmental elements or acts of vandalism or compromise
• The amount of data which needs to be recorded and preserved
• The amount of time this data is to be preserved
• The amount of protection required for your recording device from theft or vandalism
• Whether or not the video is to be overt as a deterrent or covert
• Is the surveillance legal (are correct notifications present so that the public is aware that they are being recorded)
• Do you want to view the cameras locally or remotely
• Do you want to view the data to review events which have taken place or in real time
• The actual forensic application of the data (i.e. evidence)
What is an IP camera?
In basic terms, an IP (Internet Protocol) camera is a camera, computer processor and web server in one device. This combination of technologies makes it possible to capture images, compress them, analyze their content and transmit them over an IP network. An IP camera has its own IP address and is connected directly to a network; it works completely independently.
Viewing IP cameras
All IP network cameras can be viewed using a standard web browser. Various software packages are available for advanced viewing and control. An internet connection and router are required along with a static IP address or a DNS (Domain Name System) provider.
In addition to the transmission of video images, a network camera can also be used for sending and receiving sound. Cameras with one-way audio allow users to listen to sounds near the camera. Using IP cameras with two-way audio allows users not to only listen in but also to verbally communicate with people at the camera end. Some cameras have a built-in microphone and/or speaker and some require an external microphone and/or speaker to be connected
Alarm inputs and outputs
A network camera can also include features allowing other functions and functionalities to be transmitted over the network, e.g. digital alarm inputs and outputs and serial data. This allows network cameras to be fully integrated within a larger security system, including, for example, access control and fire alarms.
IP Camera Compatibility
IP cameras with 802.11 compatibility can be directly connected to a wireless network of the same standard. Cameras without the wireless capability built in can be connected to a wireless network using a wireless bridge. Note that no IP camera is a truly wireless camera, as the camera will always need power to operate (battery powered IP cameras are currently [March 2008] not available).
Megapixel network cameras
Megapixel technology in IP cameras has been developing quickly and ever higher resolutions can be found within IP cameras. This means larger, crisper and clearer images but at the same time larger image file sizes.
Video motion detection
Motion detection takes place by comparing images and triggering different responses based on the changes. This motion detection function can be built in the network camera itself or can be controlled by additional management or recording software installed on a PC.
Power over Ethernet (PoE)
Power over Ethernet is the technology that allows you to run data and power over an Ethernet cable simultaneously. This means that you only need to install one cable to operate a camera, reducing the cost of installations drastically, particularly if you are installing the camera in a location where there is no conventional power at hand. The majority of fixed network cameras have built-in Power over Ethernet support.
CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) – ANALOGUE CAMERAS
Closed Circuit Television Cameras have been the standard in recent years. Though IP Cameras are available, some customers still prefer the standard technology and cost efficiency of analogue CCTV cameras. Where a modern IP camera using megapixel technology may be able to zoom into a very tiny area, an analogue CCTV camera must be able to do this physically and the type of lens becomes critical.
A video server, also called a video encoder, takes the analogue input from a conventional analogue camera and converts this signal in to an IP output. During this conversion process the video server compresses the images; it can analyze its content and make it transmittable over an IP network. Like an IP camera, a video server has its own IP address and is connected directly to a security network. Video servers make it possible to move toward an IP video surveillance system without having to discard existing analogue cameras. Video servers can have similar additional features like IP cameras, including pan-tilt-zoom control, one and two way audio and support for digital inputs and outputs, and serial data.
SURVEILLANCE CAMERA FEATURES (IP and Analogue)
Low Light (or low lux) Sensitivity
Low Light (or low lux) Sensitivity refers to a camera's performance under low lighting conditions. Although many camera distributors flash very low light "lux" numbers, these numbers often times have nothing to do with real world performance. Specifications offered by CCD manufacturers list the absolute lowest light level at which some pixels will be altered. Cameras which are used in low light conditions should have Infra-Red Illumination.
IR Illumination Range
IR cameras produce an Infra-Red Light so that the camera can capture an image in low light conditions. The IR illumination range is the distance the camera can view in darkness.
• Resolution – Analogue / CCTV - (TV lines) refers to the maximum number of vertical lines (horizontal resolution) a video camera is capable of displaying on a monitor or registering with a video recording device.
• Resolution – IP /Network – refer to the number of pixel elements a camera or monitor is capable of displaying. IP Cameras are currently available with over 10 megapixel designs
Fixed surveillance cameras vs Pan, tilt and zoom
A major differentiator between surveillance cameras is whether they are ‘fixed’ or ‘pan-tilt-zoom’. Fixed security cameras, also referred to as ‘static’ security cameras, provide one single view. On the other hand, a security camera with pan, tilt and zoom (often abbreviated to PTZ) provides many views from within its panning, tilting and zooming range. High end PTZ cameras offer 360 degrees of rotation and a 35x optical zoom or more, allowing operators to cover large areas with just one camera. Note that fixed cameras with a wide angle lens also provide large area coverage, albeit without as much detail. One issue here might be that a pan and tilt camera might not be looking in the right location to capture an event of interest. A fixed camera is dedicated to a critical location or view.
Vari-focal Lens - This lens allows manual adjustment to the camera's field of view. These are sometimes referred to as zoom lenses.
Frames per Second (FPS)
Frames per Second (FPS), describes the number of full video frames recorded within one second. True real time video consists of 30 frames per second.
Indoor surveillance cameras vs Outdoor surveillance systems
To fit a surveillance camera outside, it will need a weatherproof enclosure, and in the case of an IP camera it will require some form of internal temperature control. Some surveillance cameras are designed purely for indoor use. Installing indoor surveillance cameras in outdoor locations, even in an outdoor housing, is not recommended. The simplest reason is that indoor cameras perform well under constant light conditions but do not do so when light conditions are constantly changing.
SECURITY RECORDING DEVICES
Recording from IP network cameras
You can record video images from network cameras by means of a Network Video Recorder (NVR) or using Recording Software. As part of the network, a NVR communicates directly to the cameras. Recording software is available in one camera to unlimited camera licenses. Note that some network cameras come with free recording software included.
*** Please be aware that IP cameras do not work with DVR’s. ***
Digital Video Recorder (DVR)
Digital Video Recorder (DVR) - This device is capable of accepting one or more video (and sometimes audio) input signals for recording onto digital storage media. Advanced DVRs are capable of accepting multiple video and audio inputs Many DVR’s can be connected to a network for remote viewing.
FPS Record and Display Rates
• FPS Record Rate indicates the number of frames per second a video recorder can capture. Many digital DVR recorders, can record actual real time video. For most situations, recording rate is the spec to pay attention to.
• FPS Display Rate (a.k.a. screen refresh rate) indicates the number of frames per second a DVR recorder will display on a monitor for simultaneous viewing. FPS Record Rate
Video Motion Detection
Video Motion Detection is an advanced software feature of DVRs which can detect motion in a camera's field of view and begin recording based on this motion detection. This type of detection can in most cases be adjusted in sensitivity.