After you purchase and install a home security camera system, it is important to maintain it in order to preserve its quality and performance. From the surveillance cameras to the cables to video storage, all parts must be working properly to ensure optimal surveillance and security. Here are some helpful maintenance and troubleshooting tips for your surveillance system.
Check your hard drive regularly by simply playing back recent video. To make sure your cameras are properly recording, check the field of view and filter through different dates and times. Make sure you are getting the proper recording duration. A surefire sign that something is wrong is if the duration of footage stored has significantly decreased. For example, you used to get weeks or months of footage, but now it seems you are only getting a few days worth.
Cooling fans assist in preventing your DVR from overheating. Unfortunately, when they suck in the cool air, dust begins to build up as well. The accumulation of dust can damage the fan, resulting in overheating. Cleaning your cooling fan regularly can prevent this and is relatively easy. Computer dust sprays are available at many computer stores and you simply aim at the vent areas and spray.
The IR (Infrared) lights on your security cameras tend to attract spiders and bugs. Because of this, spiders tend to build their webs around the cameras in order to catch the bugs attracted to the light. Consequently, these spider webs interfere with your videos. Check your playback or live feed to see which cameras are affected. If you cannot kick the problem, it may be better to use cameras without IR and install a separate light source to illuminate the area.
Every so often, you should use a soft cloth or wipe to remove any dust or debris and clean the camera lens. A dust mop with a long handle can help you reach higher mounted cameras that are typically out of reach.
Camera sensors and other parts can wear out over time and will eventually need to be replaced. In addition, camera connections may need maintenance as environmental factors such as heat, cold, and moisture can affect them. If you see any signs of connections issues, such as lines in the image, flickering or other image issues, you should address these immediately to prevent further damage or total image loss.
Issue: Security cameras are out but the DVR is working.
Issue: DVR or NVR is not reachable by Internet (no phone or computer access).
Issue: DVR is not playing back video.
If you need help choosing the right security cameras for your property as well as installation services, feel free to contact us! You may browse our selection online at SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294 to schedule a site survey or get a free quote. You can also find us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
There are plenty of aspects to consider when it comes to investing and installing a new security camera system. The goal is to deter any theft or crimes while capturing the necessary footage should an incident occur. With that said, aside from the security cameras you choose, your surveillance storage solution should be of high quality and capacity and tailored to your storage needs.
Storing your video footage locally makes it easier to access, and is usually easier to use. In addition, local storage options are much more cost-effective than other storage solutions. In terms of local storage, there are two main options: internal or external. Internal storage is saved within the camera whereas external storage is saved to a hard drive, usually located within a computer or CCTV DVR/NVR. Each option poses their respective advantages and disadvantages.
Internal Camera Storage
When you store your video footage internally, it is usually via a microSD chip within the camera. This option is ideal for those who don’t want to rely on internet access or wiring, as this can slow down your internet. In addition, since internal storage bypasses any transferring to external storage, video footage is nearly immediately available.
The biggest downside of internal storage is its limited storage capacity. In an effort to combat this, most security cameras using local storage only record when motion is detected. And these cameras are more vulnerable because the footage is stored internally, thus, if the camera is stolen, so is any video evidence that could be used to prosecute the thieves.
External Camera Storage
If you need to record footage throughout the day, external storage is a great option as you can store large amounts of video at a relatively low cost (especially compared to online storage.
Wired Camera Storage
Wired solutions will save your network a load of work and will be faster when watching live feed (minimal lag time). Typically, you will have some type of hub that encodes the recording, and then the wire will route to either a DVR (digital video recorder) or a personal computer with lots of storage space. If you plan on editing the video, personal computers are more convenient.
Unfortunately, wired security cameras are susceptible to severed wires. If you opt for a wired camera, you will want to embed the wire through the wall and make sure that your camera is securely mounted.
Wireless Camera Storage
If you opt for wireless cameras, you are choosing a very secure solution. These are also the easiest to install as you usually just plug it in, connect to a network and install software. Your video would be routed to either a personal computer or an NVR (network video recorder).
Unfortunately, wireless cameras are not ideal for smaller home wireless networks. They can slow down the internet and may be susceptible to delays in your video feed. Should you choose wireless solutions, just be sure that your network can handle the load.
While there is not a universal best storage solution, there are solutions that are better suited for you than others. Take the time to evaluate your needs to determine which storage solution would work best for you.
If you need help determining which video surveillance solution to choose, contact us at 888-203-6294 or browse our inventory online at SecurityCamExpert.com. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
Security camera systems are meant to protect your property from intruders and collect crucial footage should any incident occur. Unfortunately, if not properly planned, your surveillance system may have blind spots that can be problematic. Blind spots are specific areas that are not in the field of view of your CCTV cameras. These blind spots leave your home vulnerable to intruders who may take advantage of these to gain access or damage your property.
Here are some useful tips to avoid blind spots within your surveillance system.
Take A Picture
Visualizing what you want to cover will help you plan where to place your cameras for optimal coverage. You can use these images as a reference to consult with experts on which type of security cameras, lenses and specs would be best for what you are trying to achieve.
Have an existing system? Test your camera’s FOV (field of view) by having a friend walk through your home while you monitor the live feed.
What Do You Want To Capture?
Prioritize what features are absolutely necessary and the ones that are optional. Also, consider the camera locations and what your goal is for each area. This will help you determine the appropriate resolutions for your different cameras.
Consider Natural Environment
Whether you are installing your security cameras indoors or outdoors, you must consider natural elements of the environment. From daylight to reflections to inclement weather, these elements can noticeably hinder your footage, sometimes even rendering it useless.
To avoid these issues, pay close attention to camera angles and placement. Be sure that there are no potential obstructions, such as branches, trees, or décor, in your camera’s FOV. Invest in cameras that have day/night vision and lenses that can automatically adjust themselves to provide the best picture. And lastly, for your outdoor surveillance, choose weatherproof cameras and/or weatherproof camera housing to protect your equipment from unpredictable weather conditions.
Intruders will often look for cameras and their first instinct is to destroy them in hopes that they can wipe out or prevent evidence of their crime. To prevent this, install cameras high and out of reach when possible, and seek out cameras that are vandal proof.
Location, Location, Location
As previously (and repeatedly) mentioned, the placement of your cameras is crucial to eliminating blind spots. If you are having trouble planning and strategizing your security cameras, or simply need expert advice, feel free to contact us at 888-203-6294.
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For commercial businesses, video surveillance not only keeps customers, employees and properties safe, but it can also prevent incidents and potentially catch the perpetrator if a crime occurs. Should you decide to install a video surveillance system at your business, choosing the right locations is crucial. You want to avoid leaving blind spots as that will compromise your security, making your investment virtually useless.
For a better idea of where you should place your security cameras, here are the best locations for commercial properties.
Entrances & Exits
From the front/main entrance to side or back doors, you want to monitor any and all areas in which individuals can gain access to your building. This allows you to track who enters and exits, and whether or not they have authorized access.
You want to aim your indoor cameras toward the inside rather than at the door. The lighting conditions may change drastically when the door opens and closes, thus compromising the quality of your video.
For increased security, you may want to consider installing monitors that display a live feed on the screen at the entrance of your business to let visitors know they are under surveillance.
Restricted Access Areas
Doors that require a key card or an entrance code should be monitored. This provides an audit of who comes and goes, and who may have tried to gain unauthorized access.
Whether it’s a warehouse full of merchandise or a server room filled with priceless equipment, you want to position a few cameras (the number will depend on the size and layout) to keep an eye on the area(s) where you store your assets.
By installing surveillance cameras in places where you store resources, documents, or even office supplies may potentially reveal cases of employee theft that may otherwise go unnoticed.
It should go without saying that any point at which money regularly changes hands should be under surveillance. For example, security cameras should oversee cash registers at retail locations, teller stations at banks, and other transaction points on the property.
And you want to mount cameras low enough to see faces. You may even consider mounting a small camera at counter level in case of hats or hooded garments that may obstruct the view of a person’s face.
Whether or not you deal with customers at your location, it is still beneficial to keep an eye on employees. This usually discourages any slacking off or misbehavior. Just remember, you must disclose that there are security cameras and that they are under surveillance.
Loading docks are prime targets since shipments are delivered and/or sent out from there. You want to have surveillance cameras watching over these areas to protect your employees and assets.
These cameras can also help with false worker’s compensation claims related to injuries sustained while loading or unloading equipment. Installing flood lights in this area also helps to produce clearer footage.
Secluded Outdoor Areas
These include parking lots, alleyways and dumpster pads – all of which are prime locations for shady activity. Security cameras installed in these areas should deliver a live feed to the security office so that a guard may watch for suspicious activity.
Along with surveillance locations, quality equipment suited for your security needs is vital for a successful surveillance system. Let us help you find the right security cameras and equipment for you – visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294 today! You may also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
Night vision security cameras are very helpful in providing around-the-clock surveillance for homes and businesses. Their ability to see in the dark is thanks to advanced IR (infrared) surveillance technology. However, when shopping for a night vision camera, simple wording such as “infrared (IR) illumination” and “night vision” is not enough. You want to look for specific features to ensure you are choosing the best night vision security cameras.
Three important features to look for include:
The quality of your night vision security camera will be determined by these features.
IR Cut Filter
Night vision security cameras with infrared cut-off filters improve image clarity (especially in daytime) and can prevent out of focus images. The way the filter works is quite simple, yet makes all the different in video and image quality.
The IR cut filter is physically moved over the lens when daylight (white light) is detected to block out the IR light (that would affect the image quality). When the light levels drop to the point where night vision is necessary, the camera will move the lens out of the way. This “filter switch” allows the camera to pick up the same colors as the human eye to record natural looking images and results in better images overall. Without these filters, there’s no way to prevent full-spectrum light, thus, daytime images would suffer from distortion and possible loss of focus.
Powerful Illumination (IR LEDs) Beam
Simply put – the more powerful the illumination, the better the night vision will be. For example, if you are looking for outdoor cameras, you want cameras that produce something in the neighborhood of 100 ft. of IR illumination.
Before discussing IR illuminators, the Field of View (FOV) should be understood. If you think of it in terms of binoculars, the field of view is everything you see when looking into them. What you cannot see is outside of the field of view. Often times, the infrared illuminators in a night vision security camera don’t match its FOV, thus the IR-beam is not illuminating the total area captured by the lens.
For the night vision cameras with an IR illuminator narrower than the FOV, you get a bright area in the middle of the image with the darkness growing as you get further from the center (ex. the spotlight effect). This is problematic as it makes it nearly impossible to identify areas outside of the center of the image. Finding a night vision camera with an IR illuminator that is equal to the FOV may cost more, but is well worth it.
Although seeking out specifications and ensuring that night vision cameras meet your expectations and requirements seems like a tedious task, it is well worth the security and peace of mind when it comes down to it.
Need help choosing a night vision security camera? Contact us at 888-203-6294 to discuss your options. You may also browse our stock of IR night vision cameras and other surveillance equipment online at SecurityCamExpert.com. For the latest updates, connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
Implementing an advanced, top quality CCTV surveillance system can greatly improve your overall security. However, if not installed and maintained properly, it could ultimately be useless. In order to preserve its effectiveness, be sure your surveillance system is professionally installed and that you routinely complete maintenance checks.
Employ this video surveillance maintenance checklist to keep your system functioning optimally.
A dirty camera lens will compromise your video footage. Smudges, dust, water-spots and other undesirable elements can occur. To avoid this, check both indoor and outdoor camera lenses to ensure they are clean. Ideally, to clean your camera lenses, you should start with a compressed air can to blow the lens and remove loose debris, and then use a microfiber brush to gently wipe the lenses.
When installing outdoor cameras, be sure there are no obstructions. If you must install an outdoor camera near trees or other greenery, be sure to trim the landscape to keep the field of view clear.
Security camera housing is meant to protect your camera from rain, wind, and other elements, but sometimes it can be compromised. To ensure that the housing is functioning properly, open it to check for signs of water, dirt, and condensation. If you see any of these, it may be time to invest in new, better camera enclosures.
Be sure to monitor your connectors for any signs of corrosion. If you find that any are corroded, replace them immediately as this can cause the equipment to short out.
As you check the connectors for corrosion, you want to also make sure that all cable connectors are receiving power and watch for signs of wear and tear. If you find any exposed wire, replace it immediately.
To ensure that there is no loss of power, check your power supplies and UPS (be sure batteries are fully charged and no warning lights are on). You may also want to invest in a voltmeter to guarantee that your surveillance cameras are receiving their recommended power requirements.
As with any dormant device, your DVR may begin collecting dust. You should wipe this clean with a microfiber cloth (or use a blower to dust the crevices) regularly to prevent any negative effect on your DVR’s performance.
Depending on your hard drive capacity, you will need to periodically back up and delete your video footage once it fills up.
Set a weekly reminder to check on your camera recordings to make sure they are working. It is better to take preventative measures so that you don’t miss any important footage.
Make sure your security system is providing optimal surveillance by checking camera locations and focus. If there are any areas that are going unmonitored, you may consider adding additional cameras.
Be sure that your cameras are receiving adequate lighting to produce clear images for easy identification. Additionally, make sure cameras are not being washed out by sunlight during the day.
As mentioned, you want your camera to have an unobstructed view. Should a hidden camera become covered by a banner or poster, be sure to remove and/or relocate them.
Check the date and time on a daily basis for accuracy. A brief power outage may require the date and time to be set again.
Visible surveillance signage can act as a deterrent on its own. It lets potential intruders know that you are employing a video surveillance system and may discourage them from targeting your property.
Many service level agreements to maintain your surveillance system are available. They may include things like inspection, loaner gear, emergency response, extended warranty coverage, and more.
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If you need help choosing the CCTV surveillance system and security cameras that will best suit your needs, please feel free to contact us at 888-203-6294 or visit SecurityCamExpert.com today!
Video surveillance can be an excellent security measure in various environments. While retail stores and remote ATMs are commonplace locations for video surveillance, its benefits can also be seen when applied to a wide range of businesses and homes. Here are a few examples of these video surveillance benefits and why you should consider investing in it (if you don’t already).
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For a great selection of CCTV video surveillance packages, security cameras, and other security solutions, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com. To schedule a site survey, request a free quote, or inquire about our installation services, please call us 888-203-6294.
When shopping for a security system for your home or business, it may be easy to focus on the specific features of the security cameras. However, much attention should be paid to video surveillance storage as well. DVRs (digital video recorders) are an integral part to the overall surveillance system. Here are some of the features and specifications of DVRs that you should pay close attention to.
A frame rate is a unit of measure denoting the number of frames recorded in each second by a DVR in a specific resolution. Calculations should be made based on the real-time frame rate of about 30 frames per second (FPS). For example, in order to record real-time video on a standard 16-channel system, you would need a DVR that has 480 FPS.
Remember that sellers may claim real-time images as the units display live video at about 30 FPS on each channel, but this needs to be assessed based on the recorded video footage (not the live video). A basic unit may record videos at less than 30 FPS while a top-end unit may deliver 30 FPS on each channel.
Resolution is the size of the image displayed or recorded. The most popular resolution is CIF – 360×240, and the highest is specified as D1 – 720×480. This is an important specification to consider as larger recorded images afford you additional details for review. For example, 4CIF images can feature views detailed four times as much as a base CIF image. You can find a variety of DVRs boasting anywhere from CIF to D1 resolutions.
When the video is transferred to the DVR for storage, it is first compressed to save space and to make Internet viewing fluid. Compression standards can vary from basic to nearly no compression protocols (ex. MJPEG or wavelet) to the top-end compression methods (ex. MPEG4). Currently, the highest compression standards are H.264 (which is 40% more efficient than previous versions).
While compression methods may vary in DVRs, hybrid DVRs are available. These are capable of using a combination of compression methods, and can also be used to do compressions separately (Internet streaming vs. recording).
You will need to know how much data your DVR can hold. Presently, baseline DVRs may allow one or two hard drives only, while more advanced models now offer 6, 8, or more internal hard drives based on user requirements.
Popular DVRs also offer redundant storage (RAID) configuration and FTP uploads. The FTP uploads feature allows backup of video for the DVR at an off-premise FTP server. This helps to avoid any possibility of loss in the case of a local system crash or a DVR robbery.
Audio can sometimes be an important addition to video footage. Some DVRs may accommodate synced audio and video, with lower-end versions having one to four channels and higher-end options offering up to 16 channels. Be sure to review the laws and legalities in regards to audio recording.
There can be a wide variety of video output, from BNC to VGA to HDMI. If you have a mix of these, you may need to invest in quality converters to ensure proper connections and performance.
Network IP surveillance systems allow users to access video footage via the Internet from virtually anywhere. Advanced systems even allow viewing more than one DVR at a time. These DVRs can boast specialized features such as camera groupings, e-mapping, different levels of user privileges, and more.
If you need assistance in choosing the right DVR and security cameras for you, please feel free to contact us 888-203-6294 or browse our vast selection online at SecurityCamExpert.com. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
When it comes to securing your property, CCTV cameras can be very effective. However, because there are a wide variety of CCTV cameras suited for different applications, if they are not properly implemented, their effectiveness may be compromised.
Before choosing your surveillance system, review the different types of CCTV cameras and the application for which they are best suited.
Different Types Of CCTV
PTZ (Pan/Tilt/Zoom) Camera
What To Consider
Choosing the right CCTV camera for your property is important. You want to evaluate your needs to determine where you will place these cameras as well as their primary use in that location. Some factors to consider when choosing include the lens, sensor, and output resolution.
The lens will dictate the quality of the image. The appropriate lens will allow your camera to focus and bring in enough light to the sensor, providing clarity and the ability to better identify things such as faces and license plates. A zoom lens will allow for further detail since it can adjust the light as it reaches to sensor for enhanced pictures and flexibility.
There are two types of sensors:
CCD are more expensive than CMOS and produce clearer images (ideal for identifying faces and license plates).
Generally speaking, the more pixels, the better the picture. The highest resolution you can get is 700TL, but most cameras range between 300-550TVL. Be sure to match a resolution that your camera can produce because anything more is unnecessary.
Other Things To Consider:
Box cameras are easier to be seen and clearly tell passersby that they are being recorded, which acts as a great deterrent. Dome cameras, on the other hand, are smaller and more discreet, making them ideal for monitoring larger areas such as front or backyards.
Consider where you will place your cameras both indoors and outdoors. If you plan on placing them outdoors, you want to ensure they are in the best location and well protected (weatherproof and vandal proof housing). For indoor cameras, you want to make sure it will not be affected by things like grease or steam from the kitchen.
Whether indoors or outdoors, lighting will always change so it is advised that you test different camera models to see what works best with your lighting conditions. You also want to check for any reflections or backlighting during day or night.
This will depend on the size of the area you want to monitor. Thus, a camera situated in a small room need not be of high resolution. The resolution of your CCTV camera should reflect the landscape in order to provide effective images.
This depends on your personal preference (you should also look into the laws regarding audio recording if applicable). Some CCTV systems allow you to speak to the intruders, or you can have audio or alarms sound automatically when they reach a certain point. These tactics are meant to scare the intruders away before they can cause damage.
If you need help choosing the right CCTV surveillance system, call 888-203-6294 and we will be happy to help! You may also browse our selection online at SecurityCamExpert.com and connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
While video surveillance systems protect us from potential intruders and dangers, without the proper safeguards, these systems can fall victim to hackers. In order to maintain the integrity of your video surveillance system and keep the cybercriminals at bay, you may want to consider following these tips to protect your surveillance system.
Choose Branded Video Cameras
If you invest in cameras that are not branded, you may not receive the necessary updates and security patches that often come with branded security cameras. This means that your non-branded cameras will remain susceptible to vulnerabilities and exploits. Play it safe and purchase branded cameras known for quality cyber security and be sure to routinely check for patches and updates.
Protect Your Surveillance Network
A major vulnerability of surveillance systems lies in open IP cameras. With these IP cameras located across your property and connected to your network, anyone can disconnect your cameras and connect a laptop or device and gain access to your entire network. To prevent this, lock down the MAC addresses that can connect to the network, allowing only your cameras to connect to your surveillance systems.
Never put your surveillance cameras on the same network as your workstation. Keep your security camera network isolated via VLANs and only allow the video recorders to communicate with the cameras.
Change The Default Camera Password
This seems like a no-brainer, however, it must be said. The default password is often readily available on the company’s website, thus, it is advised to change the default password to a strong one that you can remember.
Keep Separate Logins For Access & Admin Privileges
Along the same lines, you want to keep separate logins when it comes to access and administrative privileges. That way only the appropriate employees can gain access to the admin privileges, such as updating firmware or obtaining streaming video.
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Visit SecurityCamExpert.com to browse our stock of affordable CCTV security cameras and video surveillance systems. To request a site survey or free quote, please call 888-203-6294.