Bright Ideas for Picture Perfect Video

IR Appropriate for License Plate Image Capture
Infrared illumination is invisible to the human eye. Thus, even though a nighttime scene well-lit by infrared illumination appears dark to human observers, high performance day-night cameras are able to produce excellent images. When infrared illumination is properly applied, the cameras do not need to work as hard to capture usable video, eliminating hotspots and under-exposed shadow areas. These are replaced with evenly-illuminated images from which details are clearly seen.

Although IR has a great number of useful applications, this capability is particularly beneficial when cameras are capturing images of license plates on moving cars, for example, in access and exit areas. If the video is to be used as evidence in legal proceedings, the images need to be crisp and decipherable.

Separate infrared illuminators can also be used in combination with day-night cameras, giving that extra boost and enabling the camera to capture useable images at greater distances. This technology can help take the guesswork out of lighting, as it enables cameras to deliver high-quality images in places where lighting levels fluctuate or in areas where you’re unsure if the lighting is adequate.

Poor Lighting Can Lead to Wasted Bandwidth
Lighting can impact more than just the quality of video. It can have an impact on several areas of your CCTV system. Snowy images or video resulting from inadequate lighting produces larger file sizes that require more bandwidth to transmit across a network and greater storage resources. Grainy images can also be misinterpreted by systems set to record on motion and trigger continuous recording.

By improving video quality through the use of day-night cameras or infrared illuminators, video can be compressed further, resulting in smaller file sizes, lower bandwidth requirements and more efficient use of storage technology.

Quality images also help improve the accuracy of video content analytics (VCA) that will trigger alarms based on behavior patterns, such as a person loitering or an object stolen or left behind. While VCA is just beginning to be more widely adopted due to lower price points, it can help make campus safety personnel more efficient by transmitting to the dispatcher only video that the campus has deemed important through its analytic rules. This enables camera channels to be monitored more effectively and makes it easier to search for events that have already occurred.

Choose Your Camera Location Wisely
In addition to camera selection and lighting, placement is critical. While many cameras offer vandal-resistant housings, it is best to keep cameras up high and out-of-reach. Different types of mounting solutions are available to adapt to individual site requirements.

Installing each camera at a proper angle to reduce glare is critical when capturing usable images. Eliminating glare is difficult when cameras are placed by necessity to view bright exterior entrances, streets where oncoming headlights often shine in the direction of the camera, or sites where there is an interface between bright and dark areas, such as a dark parking lot transitioning to a bright corridor. Through careful positioning, however, the problems with glare can be eliminated or reduced.

Many cameras have embedded features that compensate for these variables to combat distorted images. For example, backlight compensation uses algorithms to help smooth out shadows and highlights to produce clearer images that will show the specific features of an individual instead of a dark figure encased in a bright background light. AutoBlack functionality, found now in both monochromatic and color cameras, brings out details in scenes, such as foggy, dusty or snowy situations where clear video can be difficult to capture.

When placement, camera selection and lighting are all properly accounted for and the appropriate functionalities are deployed, hospital, school or university constituents can rest easier knowing their security cameras are capturing images they can decipher and actually use in a court of law if necessary.

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