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  • Home >> Basics Of Video System Design
    Basics Of Video System Design



    establish visible deterrent: exterior cameras should be positioned at an optimal location for viewing the desired scene, as well as being conspicuous to the public to deter unwanted activity.

    there are 3 general terms used to define how a field of view can be composed:


    situational awareness: general observation view (wide focus)

    recognition: camera view with tighter focus for recognizing who is in an area

    identification: tightly focused view that frames identifying features only

    there are 2 terms used for field devices (cameras)

    fixed cameras: these cameras always show the same view and cannot move

    pan/tilt/zoom: typically a dome-style camera, these units are very versatile and can be moved side-to-side, up-and-down, and zoom-in on a scene using a controller keypad or with controls on the dvr.


    cameras: there are cameras for almost every application, (interior or exterior) with resolution from 320 to 520 tvl (tv lines) and even megapixel.
    wide dynamic range cameras are used for viewing areas that have a strong light source, as well as darker areas, within the same scene. this helps to eliminate “silhouetting” in the picture. low-light cameras are also available. esm will assist you in finding the correct camera after assessing your needs.

    ip based cameras: ip-based cameras have an internal network card that allows your lan to recognize them as network devices and store video data on a central server instead of a dvr. these cameras can be connected via cat5 cable to an existing network drop, thus utilizing existing infrastructure. the video security industry is focusing much of its attention on these technologies moving forward.

    lenses: variable-focus lenses provide a wider range of settings than a fixed lens. common lens ranges are 2.8-12mm, 3-8mm, 5-50mm. auto-iris lenses automatically change to accommodate changing light levels throughout the day.


    adequate lighting: a camera essentially works like your eye. for best viewing results, a camera needs to have as much light as possible in order to provide a clear picture.

    infrared: stand alone illuminators can be used to flood an area with invisible light if no natural or electrical light source is available. infrared illumination can only be used with a black-and-white camera, or with a day/night camera that changes from color mode to black-and-white mode as the light levels decline.

    dvr (digital video recorder): probably the most important component of the system, the recording device determines how the video is stored (at what quality and for how long). either a pc-based recorder or dvrs with an embedded operating system are the most typical. 8, 9, or 10-channel (channels are camera inputs) are common starting points with most manufacturers, with 16 channel units being available as well. hard drive space can range from 200gb to 1 tb or more. usb ports or dvd-burners are used to back up events. remote viewing of the dvr is possible over most computer networks with high-speed (cable or dsl) access. esm will assist you in selecting the right dvr after assessing your needs.

    protection from the environment: provide an environmental housing that will protect the camera electronics from dust and dirt, moisture and heat. a quality housing and mount will have an integrated blower and/or heater.

    conduit: video cable installed on the exterior of a building should be run in conduit to provide protection from tampering and ensure a long operating life.

    cable: any video system should use coaxial cable with a solid copper conductor (instead of copper-coated aluminum conductor) for video signal transmission. 95% bare copper braiding in the cable shields the video signal from interference. quality cable means a quality picture that will last for the life of the system.

    camera power: a cabinet-style, multiple output power supply (12vdc or 24ac) provides a cleaner installation and makes future service easier.

    dvr power conditioner: uninterruptible power supplies/power conditioners protect the dvr (the “brain” of the system) from power surges or spikes, and contribute to a long life for your system.

    vendor: no one manufacturer has the correct solution for everyone. it is important to select a cctv vendor that represents many manufacturers and can therefore make the specific recommendation to meet your needs. camera superstore represents some of the largest and most well recognized names in the industry: pelco, ge security, sony, toshiba, sanyo, samsung, and many others.
    experience is also a key consideration. this may likely be the first cctv system your facility has installed. it is important that you select a vendor that has designed and installed hundreds of systems with successful, happy customers. camera superstore has been focusing our business on cctv since 1972.

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