How to Position Security Cameras and Avoid Callbacks

Determine the location for your Cameras

This short article will cover the basics of how to position security cameras for best results. While many factors exist for placing cameras I will touch on the basic ones of placement. I would consider the following to be the four steps in placing your cameras:

1.Determine the location of your cameras
2.Determine Camera Types
3.Determine what the camera will be watching/securing
4.Verify with stakeholder on camera position

What are you trying to secure or protect?

Cameras should be placed in a manner that they are protecting or securing your point of interest. Simply put, you need to watch what you want to protect.

Are there control points or means of access that can be watched?

Is there only one way to get in and out of the area or do multiple entrances exist?

You place cameras at control points/ Access Points so you can receive a notification when a subject enters the area, and so you can capture a clear picture/video of the subject.

This works the same whether it is a military base or a grocery store. Obviously, the assets and location of choke points differ but these guidelines remain.

For example, at a Gas Station, the things you are protecting would be the Cash Register, Store Inventory, Gas Pumps, etc. You would place cameras that would watch each one of these areas. In addition, at a Gas Station, the Control Points / Access Points are usually the front customer entrance and sometimes the back/service entrance. You almost always place cameras at those locations.

Camera Type Selection

You have 4 general types of cameras to choose from:

Fixed cameras: the view is locked on to a specific area
PTZ: the view can be manually adjusted by a user, but the camera will only record what it is watching.
Variable Lens Camera: These are fixed cameras that have an adjustable lens which can be adjusted manually or is motorized.
Specialty: Cameras made for specific applications. (Thermal, LPR, Fisheye, Panoramic)

Selecting the Right Type:

Use a fixed camera if you have a point of interest that needs to be watched all the time.(i.e. Cash Register)
Use a PTZ cameras if there is a wide area to cover and a PTZ operator is present to move/control the PTZ.
Use a Variable lens camera when a fixed lens camera can’t be used, or if you need to have a motorized zoom function.
Use a specialty camera as needed. This could be a fisheye, panoramic, or maybe even a License Plate Reader camera.

Views of Cameras

Picking the general location of cameras is the first half of the solution. This part is easily done because you know what you need to protect(i.e. Front Entrance, Register, etc.).

The second half of the solution is making sure that the camera is placed correctly so that the video being captured is useful. Selecting the Right lens size here is crucial as it directly affects the effective captured area. The four most common lens sizes in security are 2.8mm, 4mm, 6mm, and 12mm. Varifocal cameras can be in different ranges, but usually, they are 2.8mm-12mm.

Verify with Customer

Before you install any cameras, you should prepare and provide the following documentation to the stakeholder:

Take a photo of the approximate FoV of the camera
Take a photo of the place where you plan to mount the camera. Mark the exact spot on the photo
Prepare a map of the facility. Mark the location of each camera on the map
Submit all of this in a report
This may seem time-consuming and wasteful but I think it is critical for the following reasons:
(1) to ensure that the objectives are met and (2) to eliminate re-work and changes after installation.

Without pictures and plans, it’s very hard to imagine how exactly cameras should be placed. It is also very easy for misunderstandings to occur (“I thought you were going to mount that here instead of there”, etc.).

Summary

A carefully planned and documented design is a key tool in deploying optimized video surveillance solutions that prevent callbacks.

Ingress Protection Rating (IP66 and IP67)

Most of the cameras that we carry in our catalog are weatherproof, and we identify the camera’s level of tolerance to the extreme conditions with it’s Ingress Protection Rating. This “IP Code” (not to be confused with the IP address) was made to define how well devices like our IP cameras hold up against the elements, namely dust and water. In this article, we’ll go over what all of the different levels of Ingress Protection are, when to use the different IP ratings, and what varying degrees of Ingress Protection our products offer.

What do the numbers in the Ingress Protection rating mean?

The IP code always consists of two numbers after the letters “IP.” The first digit can range from 0-6, and represent the enclosure’s effectiveness at keeping out solid particulate, like dust. “0” would define something that has “No protection against contact and ingress of objects,” while the number “6” means that the enclosure allows “no ingress of dust; complete protection against contact (dust tight).” Refer to the chart below to see the full breakdown of all 7 categories defined in the first digit of an IP code.

First Digit

Level sized Effective against Description
0 No protection against contact and ingress of objects
1 >50 mm Any large surface of the body, such as the back of a hand, but no protection against deliberate contact with a body part
2 >12.5 mm Fingers or similar objects
3 >2.5 mm Tools, thick wires, etc.
4 >1 mm Most wires, slender screws, large ants etc.
5 Dust protected Ingress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the satisfactory operation of the equipment.
6 Dust tight No ingress of dust; complete protection against contact (dust tight). A vacuum must be applied. Test duration of up to 8 hours based on air flow.

 

The second digit in the IP code refers to it’s resistance to water. This digit can range from 0-9, where “0” means that the device is not water resistant at all, and “9” is “protected against close-range high pressure, high temperature spray downs.” The chart below has the specifics of all 10 levels of protection against harmful egress of water.

Second Digit

Level Protection against Effective against
0 None
1 Dripping water Dripping water (vertically falling drops) shall have no harmful effect on the specimen when mounted in an upright position onto a turntable and rotated at 1 RPM.
2 Dripping water when tilted at 15° Vertically dripping water shall have no harmful effect when the enclosure is tilted at an angle of 15° from its normal position. A total of four positions are tested within two axes.
3 Spraying water Water falling as a spray at any angle up to 60° from the vertical shall have no harmful effect, utilizing either: a) an oscillating fixture, or b) A spray nozzle with a counterbalanced shield. Test a) is conducted for 5 minutes, then repeated with the specimen rotated horizontally by 90° for the second 5-minute test. Test b) is conducted (with shield in place) for 5 minutes minimum.
4 Splashing of water Water splashing against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect, utilizing either: a) an oscillating fixture, or b) A spray nozzle with no shield. Test a) is conducted for 10 minutes. Test b) is conducted (without shield) for 5 minutes minimum.
5 Water jets Water projected by a nozzle (6.3 mm) against enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.
6 Powerful water jets Water projected in powerful jets (12.5 mm nozzle) against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.
6K Powerful water jets with increased pressure Water projected in powerful jets (6.3 mm nozzle) against the enclosure from any direction, under elevated pressure, shall have no harmful effects. Found in DIN 40050, and not IEC 60529.
7 Immersion, up to 1 m depth Ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1 m of submersion).
8 Immersion, 1 m or more depth The equipment is suitable for continuous immersion in water under conditions which shall be specified by the manufacturer. However, with certain types of equipment, it can mean that water can enter but only in such a manner that it produces no harmful effects. The test depth and duration is expected to be greater than the requirements for IPx7, and other environmental effects may be added, such as temperature cycling before immersion.
9 Powerful high temperature water jets Protected against close-range high pressure, high temperature spray downs. Smaller specimens rotate slowly on a turntable, from 4 specific angles. Larger specimens are mounted upright, no turntable required, and are tested freehand for at least 3 minutes at distance of 0.15–0.2 m.

 

Common Ratings And When To Use Them

All of our cameras are either IP66, IP67, or IP68 cameras. If proper weatherproofing practices are followed when the camera is installed, then the camera will stand up fine against rain, snow, and dust.

If the camera is going to be continuously drenched with water for 30 minutes or less from time to time, then you will need to go with at least an IP67 camera. An IP67 camera will perform well in situations where the camera might be splashed by waves or hit with water on a regular basis, like a carwash security system or other extremely wet environment.

While we don’t suggest it, if you have a camera that is going to be continuously submerged in water, then you would need to go with an IP68 camera. Our Exterior Vehicle IP Cameras are rated for this, in case they are installed on a boat or other marine vehicle.

 

Motion Detection In Security Cameras | When To Use It And Why Does It Suck (sometimes)?

One of the most popular features of security cameras is the ability to record only when something is happening in front of the camera. This has been the go to method for preserving that precious Hard Drive space, especially with resolutions always on the rise and with it recording storage demands. With event recording, you don’t have hours and hours of footage taking up space where nothing has happened. Up until now the most popular way of detecting an event is through motion.

How Does Motion Detection Work?

Motion detection is achieved by continuously monitoring each frame of video and averaging the background state of the scene, then if a significant portion of that scene (or percentage of pixels) changes from one frame of the video to the next, a motion event is triggered. For example, the camera is monitoring an empty hallway. Once a person enters the frame of the camera, the pixels that were of the floor and wall are now changed to the person. The camera logs a motion event and the recorder is told to begin recording. This technology was first introduced in analog security camera systems in the early-mid 2000s, but was fairly bad at giving accurate results. Unfortunately in the last decade, not much has changed.

Why Does Motion Detection Suck?

Motion detection events are still plagued with the same problems they had when they were first introduced. False positives from trees blowing in the wind, poor sensitivity, too much sensitivity, extreme shifts of lighting (i.e. a cloud moving in front of the sun), etc. have always caused this form of event detection to be less than useful. Some manufacturers have implemented the ability to exclude areas of the scene from triggering motion detection. For example, you can block out those trees that are always blowing in the wind, or the road traffic that is just visible at the edge of the parking lot. These features have helped, but never seem to work perfectly.
Another issue that needed to be solved was pre and post recording. In the early days, a motion event would occur and start recording, but you would inevitable miss the first couple seconds as the event was processed and the recorders Hard Drive spun up. Security Equipment Manufacturers solved this by building in a continuous buffer that always keeps the last few seconds or even minutes of video in memory. If a motion event occurs, the recorder knows to keep the buffered video and save it to the Hard Drive along with the footage from the point of the even on. But, even with these improvements, motion based recording still fails to be accurate enough to be useful in demanding surveillance and security applications.

So What Should I Use To Trigger Recording?

The advent of smart cameras and machine learning has opened up the market to a wide range of intelligent smart events that can be used to log and trigger many different aspects of your system. On the simple side of the spectrum, line crossing and region intrusion detection can be used in place of the relatively “dumb” motion detection. With line crossing, individual directions can be set to trigger and intrusion detection can require a certain amount of the region to be filled or that the object be present for a specified time threshold before an event is triggered. Some of the most advanced analytics include face detection, License Plate Reading and Logging, and People Counting. These advanced analytics can be used to more accurately monitor and interpret the actual events that are occurring in the surveyed area. Recording can now be triggered based on extremely specific criteria, such as if a specific license plate is detected, if there is a face seen, or if an object of significant enough size enters a specific region.

While motion detection has it’s place, it by no means is a complete or in many cases even a viable solution.

Contact an Arcdyn Sales rep today and ask about our line of smart cameras.

The Cloud and Security Cameras. How To Store Your Surveillance Footage.

Cloud Security Cameras

As with everything in life, there are trade-offs when deciding where to store and how to secure your surveillance camera footage. Most options available fall into two main categories: Local Storage and Cloud Storage. In this article, I will walk you through the pros and cons of each and hopefully help in avoiding some pitfalls and misconceptions along the way. Continue reading “The Cloud and Security Cameras. How To Store Your Surveillance Footage.”

Use RTSP to view your Arcdyn security cameras in VLC Media Player

Overview

RTSP is one of the most useful things that an IP camera provides over Analog counterparts. Since the encoding is done at the camera, we can pull the RTSP stream right from the camera. NVR/DVR’s also have an RTSP Stream that can be used for live viewing the streams. This write up will cover both products. An excellent tool for testing and implementing solutions is VLC media player. It is Open Source and free to use.

Continue reading “Use RTSP to view your Arcdyn security cameras in VLC Media Player”

What are Smart Security Cameras and Analytics?

 

What are smart surveillance cameras?

Smart Security cameras are advanced cameras that feature a robust set of configuration tools to help secure your area. These Advanced Analytics have revolutionized traditional surveillance systems with advanced features and alerts. These features are most commonly found in IP security cameras. Different Security cameras will have different features. I am going to cover our Bolt 4k bullet camera and the smart features on that particular camera. Read the Full Article

Alarm.com IP Security Camera Vulnerability – Never Fixed After 3 Years

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Originally posted to the /r/homedefense subreddit on Sept 30, 2013 by reddit user ahmadnassri, an exploit that could potentially expose your entire network to hackers has been released to the world. On Jan 10, 2017 ahmadnassri released a full walkthrough on how to hack into an alarm.com system and gain access to an extensive list of private data and devices.

The exploit was achieved by decompiling the JAVA player responsible for streaming live video feeds from the camera system. This gives a would be hacker easy access to alarm.com’s Master Key and in turn your camera system. While this exploit only applies to older models sold by dealers such as Vivint and Frontpoint Security, there are plenty of these models in the wild to cause concern.

The release of yet another security flaw found in security cameras and devices adds to the long list of vulnerabilities found in recent memory. Until the security industry and manufacturers that are creating devices for the Internet of things begins to take network security seriously we will continue to see dangerous exploits found and utilized.

In most cases, changing the default password on your equipment will protect you from an attack, but that unfortunately is not a sure bet when using cheap or poor quality systems. The old adage “you get what you pay for” always turns out to be true and in this case could mean the difference between your security or being a target.

Check out Arcdyn for professional and secure IP security camera systems