CCTV DIY Advice
Free Help for your DIY Surveillance Project
You will see plenty of examples of ineffective surveillance in the form of blurry, unfocused and downright hard to see images. While it may provide some insight into an event occurring it won't provide crucial detail when it comes to an investigation, as the cameras are either of low quality or not optimized for the environment they were set up in.
Factors that can diminish the effectiveness of CCTV
There are many factors that can lead to a non-effective CCTV system, while we can't list them all here the most common factors are the;
- Type of camera used and the lens fitted.
- The location, and angle.
- Configuration of the camera.
- Lack of ongoing maintenance.
All of above can lead to fuzzy, unfocused images.
It is important to plan in advance
Planning is every bit as important as installation, this will not only save you money but will produce a more effective solution.
There are four basic steps you will want to take in planning your CCTV system.
- Ethical and Legal barriers.
- Types of Camera and Lens.
- Placement of Cameras.
Legal and ethical concerns
You must display notice that CCTV is in operation on your premise, this also happens to be a great deterrent against crime committed in the first place. The higher the risk for the criminal the more they will second guess whether they should commit the crime in the first place.
Cameras which cover private spaces such as rest rooms or neighbouring properties are often illegal. If your system might cover a neighbouring property either intentionally or indirectly you will need to attain their permission during the planning process.
Types of cameras to use
The type of camera that you should use will depend heavily on the location of the camera, and the area that you would like to capture. We tend to stray away from fixed lens cameras as these offer very little flexibility, and don't capture a wide area, varifocal lenses are recommended as they will allow you to fine tune what area you want to capture with precision and flexibility. CCTV is moving to an IP Camera based model, our tips when it comes to choosing the base model for your cameras are simple. Stick with 2 megapixels or over cameras, and avoid any cameras that use the terminology TVL, Analogue or BNC as these all refer to obselete cameras that will not provide a sufficient amount of detail for your CCTV system.
Placement of Cameras
Determining the placement of cameras will be crucial to how effective your system will be, you will need to identify any blind spots and choke points where identifiable features will be most visible and important.
More about fixed lens cameras
Should you want to go with fixed lens cameras, here are the main limitations and recommended use cases for them.
- 2.8mm – Very wide, like a Fisheye Lens to pickup a larger area. Good area camera.
- 6mm – Closer to the Standard lens variety.
- 12mm – Around Standard lens variety. Can be good ID camera.
- >12mm – Starting to Zoom In. Not good for area cameras.
A few more things to keep in mind
While planning your CCTV system there are many things you will need to keep in mind. We have covered many of these above, but there are a few more crucial variables to account for when planning your installation.
Once all of your cameras are installed in their Pre-Planned locations then you must Fine Tune the result.
If the angle is too high, low, off center, zoomed in or out more than is required – then it may result in less than desirable results or even worse, an ineffective system.
Light Sources For best results good lighting is important – but for the best vision and prolonged life of equipment, do not point cameras directly at light sources themselves.
Maintenance is important too. Invisible films of grease, or spider webs can be virtually invisible on the footage during the day – but may completely obscure vision at night due to infrared reflections.
IP Cameras should be run on a separate network completely to your usual internet network – with only a single isolated link to the internet if you need remote viewing capabilities.
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