Introduction to Security Camera Systems

In general, a security camera system consists of a variety of security cameras, a digital video recorder to record the cameras, and wiring and connections to connect them all.If you’re looking for more tips, Mammoth Security Inc. New Britain  has it for you.

Security cameras come in a range of different styles:

  • Cylinder-shaped bullet cameras with built-in lens are weatherproof and ideal for outdoor applications
  • Dome cameras with a dome shape and an integrated lens are usually used indoors, although some are fitted with a ‘armor housing’ that allows them to be used outdoors.
  • C-mount or ‘box’ cameras, with a rectangular shape and a lens selected and mounted separately, are only used indoors for outdoor use, unless they are housed in separate housings. These cameras are commonly used in commercial environments
  • Hidden cameras can come in a variety of sizes, including super-small ‘shadow’ style cameras that can easily be concealed, or concealed cameras built to look like something else, such as a teddy bear, a smoke detector, or a sprinkler head. Usually these cameras are designed for indoor use only, and have an integrated lens.
  • Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) cameras allow remote operators to pan (back and back), tilt (up and down) and zoom the lens in and out. Typically they are huge, and can be used inside or outside.

Your option for each camera in your system will depend on whether you want to install it indoors or outdoors, the size lens you need, the resolution (the higher the resolution, the clearer the image), whether you need infrarot for nighttime viewing, and the type of mount (do you need to mount it on a wall , ceiling, pole, etc.) and, of course, the budget.

A 3.6 mm lens gives the widest viewing angle you can get on a camera without distorting the image. That will offer about 30 feet of facial detail. You will need a higher millimeter lens if you need facial detail farther than 30 feet from the camera. A higher millimeter lens gives you more focal distance but reduces viewing angle. There are varifocal lenses (for example, 5 to 100 mm) which allow variation of the camera’s focal distance. That’s useful when you don’t know exactly what lens you’ll need up front.

You do want to select which type of Digital Video Recorder (DVR) to record the cameras you need. Some DVRs come in variants of 4, 8, or 16 camera inputs (aka ‘channels’), but there are DVR models that can record as many as 64 cameras. Keep in mind that adding camera inputs to an existing DVR later on is typically not feasible so you’ll want to ensure future development. Look for a DVR with 30 frames per second (fps) per camera in ‘real-time’ recording rate. The compression system they are using also varies from DVRs. The best compression technology compresses the video data so that it can be processed on the hard drive in as little space as possible, and loses the least amount of information (image quality) in the process. Oldest (worst) to newest (best) compression technologies are: J-PEG, M-JPEG (aka MPEG), MPEG4, and H.264. Next, determine how much space you’ll need for hard drive. The DVR will start recording over the oldest video on the system when all of the hard drive space is used up. Many people choose to keep the recorded video on hard drive for 2 to 4 weeks. Other features you need to look for in a DVR include remote viewing and operation, audio support, and ease of operation and backup for events.