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Video compression is an essential part of recording and saving security camera footage, because it compresses the raw files into a smaller format. This allows you to store more videos on your hard drive. There are three types of video compression:
- H.264 compression - This is the best, most efficient way to compress your video files. It compresses the files by evaluating small groups of images together and removing duplicates.
- MJPEG compression - This format works by evaluating each frame of the video and compressing it. This is also referred to as motion JPEG, because it treats each frame as an individual JPEG image.
- MPEG4 compression - This is the oldest format, and is not commonly used. It has largely been replaced by H.264 compression.
What makes video compression an important part of your surveillance is the ability to compress files - this maximizes your hard drive space so you can store more videos for longer periods of time before your hard drive is full.
Large video files become a problem when you record extremely long videos, or high quality HD videos. A 30 second video your camera automatically records on motion won't be very large, but a 10 minute video of a break-in at your store will. Additionally, a video recorded at 5MP and a full 30 FPS will be helpful in identifying suspects in a video, but also be a very large file.
Earlier this month, VideoSurveillance.com merged with Camguard, a California-based provider of managed video surveillance services.
Please reference the press release for additional details.
We are very excited about the additional services and capabilities we can now offer as a combined company!
For our clients and partners, we will continue to work with you as we always have and will continue to operate from Portland, OR.
In the coming weeks and months we will begin to rollout new remote video monitoring services, actively monitored "camera towers," and full-service security integration.
Please contact us if you have any questions or want to know more!
After you've purchased and installed your video surveillance system, the important steps of on-going maintenance of the system begins.
It may be tempting to assume everything is fine and won't need a lot monitoring, but we highly recommend that you follow these basic steps to keep your system healthy and performing well - it's better to prevent an outage than realize the system was down after a crime has been committed.
Daily tasks should focus on ensuring your equipment is powered up and connected:
- Checking your server's power, if you use one
- Checking the connection and feed of ALL your cameras
Weekly tasks should focus on updates and exports:
- Running Windows system updates
- Running a full virus and malware scan
- Exporting any requested videos
Monthly tasks should focus on your system's settings:
- Running firmware upgrades
- Checking all motion detection settings
- Update your system's security, including removing old users and changing passwords
Yearly tasks should focus on the health of your system's equipment:
- HHD defrag and RAM scan
- RAID health check, if you're using a RAID setup
Want to learn more about keeping your system healthy? Contact our surveillance experts today.
Wide dynamic range, or WDR, is an essential tool for getting clear, balanced videos without over- or underexposed sections. If your business has a large window, bright lights but dim hallways, or covered areas like parking garages that are extremely dark compared to the garage entrances and exits, WDR is something you should use.
What WDR does to help your videos remain clear even when you have dark and bright areas is to balance the lighting of both extremes into one consistent level throughout the image.
For example, a retail store may have a large window front that makes up a large portion of one wall; when someone walks in front of the window they will appear extremely dark compared to the window, and a standard camera may not record any recognizable features. With WDR, the lighting would be balanced so the window and person are both clear.
How does WDR work? WDR is actually made up of several features and factors. First, cameras with WDR have advanced light sensors that are more sensitive than standard surveillance cameras. This allows the camera to record better in a range of lighting, including low-light.
Second, the camera or its software will balance the lighting. This can actually happen in one of two ways. With tone mapping, the camera or the software will automatically brighten or darken areas. This is the standard method most surveillance cameras will use.
The other way is to record several versions of the exact same video at different exposure levels. Those overexposed and underexposed videos, along with the normal video, are then combined and the final video you see is the combined image. This type of WDR is only available on higher level professional cameras, however, because it requires an extremely fast light sensor.
IT departments are increasingly taking responsibility for the researching, purchasing, and managing of video surveillance systems. Before your team tackles this new project, do you know the three challenges most IT departments face and how to prevent them?
A joint study by Axis Communications and ESG (Enterprise Strategy Group) found three common challenges IT departments face when managing a surveillance system: searching for video files in archived footage, managing the volume of data, and the impact of an IP system on their network's bandwidth. Read the research brief from Axis and ESG.
The best way to manage the impact of a surveillance system on your bandwidth will depend on your system's design. The best option is to separate your system's video and data traffic onto a different LAN or VLAN from the rest of your business. Additionally, your network should be gigabit or 10gig speeds. If that's not an option, or the system is still slow, take a look at these settings:
Our security experts can help evaluate your system and suggest ways to improve bandwidth performance. Want to learn more about IT challenges, or get expert advice on managing data and security? Download our free IT Guide to Video Surveillance.
With hard-to-secure work sites, high rates of metal theft, dangerous machinery that could cause accidents, and exposure to weather, construction sites are a challenging location for security and video surveillance. But with some flexibility and a custom-built system specific to your site, it is possible to secure your site and protect your workers.
The benefits of installing a surveillance system on your construction site include: theft prevention, remote monitoring, and increased worker safety.
An especially popular feature is remote and mobile monitoring, which allows you to check the cameras from anywhere with a smart phone, tablet, or computer. You can also text or email alerts if the camera captures motion or other suspicious activity during non-work hours, allowing you to respond faster to issues.
Wireless systems are a great option for construction sites, because of their minimal wiring - you'll only need to power the cameras, which will then be wirelessly connected to your NVR. This also makes it easier for you to move cameras as your site changes throughout construction.
If you want to upgrade to an IP system, but don't want to lose all your CCTV cameras, a video encoder is just the equipment you need. These devices are used to connect a CCTV, or analog, camera into a NVR so you can have a hybrid analog/IP video surveillance system.
Video encoders come in two different styles: standalone devices, and rackmount servers. The difference is in how many cameras you need to connect - devices range from 1 channel to 16 channels, while a server can support dozens of cameras. This allows you to select the type and size of encoder you need.
This type of combined system is useful in several different situations. If your company invested heavily in CCTV cameras and many of them still work well, but you want to move to a modern IP system, a video encoder allows you to keep the CCTV cameras that still work while replacing the other cameras with IP versions. Additionally, if you cannot afford to upgrade your entire system at once, the encoder makes it possible to upgrade cameras as your budget allows.
But how does the encoder actually work? Instead of plugging your CCTV camera into a DVR, you plug it into the video encoder. The encoder converts your camera's analog signals into digital. That encoder is then connected to your NVR, and your system will treat it like any other IP camera. You can even use a video encoder with PTZ cameras!
Because IP systems don't require expensive cabling, this means you can design a system that is more flexible and responsive to your needs. Video encoders are a valuable part of many surveillance systems, so contact our experts to see if it's the right solution for you.
In a first-of-its kind whitepaper, VideoSurveillance has authored an 18 page guide to video surveillance systems for Information Technology professionals. Whether your department has been asked to design a system from scratch, to improve a current system, or take over data management, this guide has the information you need.
We cover a wide range of topics, including:
- Where to start if you've inherited a system
- Design tips & common mistakes to avoid
- How to avoid overwhelming your network's bandwidth
- Keeping your network secure with an IP system
- Steps for ongoing system maintenance
- Planning for future system expansion
IT departments commonly cite three challenges when managing a video surveillance system: how to search through and archive data, how to control the quickly growing amount of data your system can collect, and how to mitigate the impact on network bandwidth.
We'll ask you many questions to help you think through the design, implementation, and management process, using knowledge gained from years working with surveillance systems. You'll learn how to avoid the most common mistakes, how to keep your network secure while utilizing the benefits of IP systems, what to think about when creating your upgrade plan, and more.
Congratulations to all the students who entered this year's VideoSurveillance.com college scholarship - we had some amazing essays, and great ideas! However, only one student could win the $1,000 scholarship and this year's winner is Melissa from Pennsylvania State University.
Melissa's essay, "Video Surveillance: Revolutionizing the Future of College Campus Security" touched on her work as a graduate student strong Homeland Security, focusing on the challenges of 24/7 security.
This was the third year for the VideoSurveillance.com scholarship, which awards $1,000 for college tuition to an incoming college freshman or current university student. While the 2015 scholarship is now closed, check back soon for updates on the 2016 scholarship.
Security is a huge concern for business owners in every industry, but do you know where to start? If you're looking for inspiration on how to use and mange a new surveillance system, we've pulled together some customer success stories from our years of experience to help!
Our Case Studies page highlights 15 VideoSurveillance.com customers in a wide range of industries, from retail, construction, manufacturing, education, and more.
Each case study highlights an issue the business faced, and how we designed a surveillance system to meet their unique needs. You'll also get details on the products, and insights into different system management styles, from owners who want to stay connected whenever they leave the office to researchers who only review off-hours footage.
Also available as free PDF downloads, reviewing case studies is a great start to identifying the reasons you want a surveillance system. When you're ready, contact our experts for a free quote.