Security Camera & Video Surveillance Systems Experts


We feature the latest stories and industry news in video surveillance

Talk to an Expert
Follow us on social media LinkedIn YouTube Facebook Twitter G+

Join Our Email - Special Offers & New Product Info

Surveillance Cameras Archives

Published by Marie on October 8, 2015 11:22 AM

Tech-Surveillance-Camera-Blog-Image-9-24-15.jpgVideo 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 It has largely been replaced by H.264 compression.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.

Learn more about video compression.

Published by Marie on September 17, 2015 11:08 AM

WDR-Blog-Image-9-17-15.jpgWide 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.

Learn more about WDR on our technology section.

Published by Marie on August 11, 2015 11:24 AM

How-to-Choose-a-Lens-8-11-15.jpgWhen researching video surveillance cameras, you will quickly realize that the lens a camera has is incredibly important for the type of video you want. When it comes to choosing the type of camera lens you want, do you know the most important factors to look at?

There are generally three types of lenses - normal, wide angle, and telephoto. A normal lens (one that isn't wide angle or telephoto) captures video that looks similar to what you would see looking at the scene.

A wide angle lens can capture a larger view of the same scene, a great option for when you want your surveillance camera to monitor general activity in a large area like a parking lot. A wide angle lens can't capture fine details, however, because it's not designed to focus in on small or close-up objects. One specialized type of wide-angle cameras is fisheye or panoramic.

For a close-up video, you'll want a telephoto lens. A telephoto lens is a long-focus lens, and will be able to focus on one specific area; this allows it to capture something, say a license plate, from a distance but will not provide an over-all view of the parking lot.

Another lens option to pay attention to are remote focus lenses - this will allow you to automatically focus the camera lens without physically adjusting it.

So how do you know what type of lens to choose? Before purchasing the camera, decide what you want to do with it. If you want a camera that can provide a view of the entire parking lot, you know to only look at wide angle cameras. If you want to capture fine details from a distance, limit your search to telephoto lens cameras. This will help you focus on only the cameras that will meet your surveillance goals.

Published by Marie on May 7, 2015 8:41 AM

If you want to use surveillance video for license plate reading, facial recognition, or evidence of a crime, you'll want a camera with high definition. But with such a wide range of cameras available, how do you know which one is right for you?

Analog cameras have been used in surveillance systems for over 30 years. The surveillance industry is moving away from CCTV and toward IP, but many businesses are still using analog systems. If you want to continue using your analog equipment but want the HD resolution of newer cameras, you'll want to switch to HD analog cameras.

HD analog cameras measure resolution in pixels instead of TVL, which older cameras use. Benefits of HD analog include lower costs than IP cameras and easy installation like any other CCTV camera. Learn more about HD analog.

IP cameras are the newest development in surveillance, coming into popularity in the last few years. These cameras use your network to connect to your system and share data. This allows the system to grow and change with better flexibility - less reliance on cables and power outlets gives you more control over where cameras are placed.

IP cameras are more expensive than their analog counterparts, but include advanced features not available with older technology. Learn more about HD resolution.


Published by Ellen on April 30, 2015 2:50 PM

Typically, mini (or often referred to as covert) video surveillance cameras are meant to blend in with their surroundings and prevent bystanders from noticing their presence. They're very helpful if there's a problem or a situation that needs constant monitoring, but for one reason or another, you as the owner of the camera do not want attention called to it.

For example, if you suspect an employee is stealing in a particular area of an office or store, you might consider installing a mini surveillance camera in the vicinity to catch the person in the act. If the camera is there and noticeable, i.e. it's not a mini camera, then the person who may have stolen before might stop suddenly and you will not have the evidence you need to prosecute the individual.

Mini or covert security cameras come in all shapes and sizes, and some are even disguised as other objects such as smoke detectors. Whether you're trying to monitor for illegal activity or simply don't want your cameras to stand out then a mini camera might be the best option for your application. Remember to consider the features they offer such as night and day functionality, HD video resolution, resistance against vandalism, and wide dynamic range. showcases a wide variety of mini and covert cameras to meet the needs of applications in search of extremely small video surveillance cameras. To see our full selection, visit our page here and learn about their features and advantages. .

Published by Marie on April 2, 2015 10:04 AM

When looking at video surveillance cameras, you've probably noticed that outdoor cameras get a rating such as IP66 or IP65. You may know that this means the camera is protected from dust and water, but the rating system is much more detailed than that.

To begin, IP stands for Ingress Protection. This is an international standard for measuring what, and how much, a camera is protected from. An IP rating is made up of two numbers - the first number measures the camera's protect from dust, the second measures the protection from liquids.


The rating for dust goes from zero to six, and the higher the number the more protection:

0. No protection

1. Protection from solid objects over 50mm

2. Protection from solid objects over 12mm

3. Protection from solid objects over 2.5mm

4. Protection from solid objects over 1mm

5. Limited protection from dust

6. Complete protection from dust

The rating for liquid protection goes from zero to eight:

0. No protection

1. Protection from dripping vertical water

2. Protection from sprays of water, tilted up to 15 degrees vertically

3. Protection from sprays of water, tilted up to 60 degrees vertically

4. Protection from water sprays from all directions

5. Protection from low pressure jets of water from all directions

6. Protection from strong jets of water from all directions

7. Protected from temporary immersion in water

8. Protected from long-term immersion in water

So if you see a camera with an IP65 rating, you can know it's completely protected from dust and can withstand low-pressure bursts of water. This means the camera would be great for installing outside where it is exposed to the weather and elements.

Shop our store for all outdoor cameras.

Published by Ellen on March 10, 2015 8:40 AM

Dome cameras are ideal if you don't want your camera to stand out to employees, customers, or visitors. They're considerably less noticeable than bullet and box cameras, especially if flush-mounted or drop-mounted. This particular style entails a fixed or PTZ camera installed inside a dome enclosure, giving it a discreet and unassuming appearance.

How do you know if dome cameras are right for your project? Ask yourself a few questions to help determine if dome cameras are a good fit. Here are some example questions to ask yourself--if you find yourself saying "No" to all of them, then you definitely want to check out our selection of dome cameras.

1. Do I want my customers to see the camera(s) immediately? If you have employees, a better question might be: Do you want your employees to be distracted by the camera(s)?

2. Do I want the camera to have a prominent appearance?

3. Do I prefer bold or low-profile camera styles?

If you do decide to purchase a dome camera, we recommend a camera with a varifocal lens to adjust the camera's field of view as needed. A fixed lens will limit the field of view to a particular area depending on where and how the camera is positioned.

Also worth noting is that dome cameras offer both weather-proof and vandal-resistant enclosures. If you're looking for an outdoor camera, you'll want a weather-proof dome camera. Vandal-resistant domes are perfect for high-security environments as they ensure the camera remains protected against physical abuse.

Browse through our vast selection of cutting-edge dome cameras.


Published by Marie on March 12, 2015 3:32 PM

When designing a video surveillance system, are you taking into account the outdoor spaces you should monitor? If your business has a parking lot, borders an alley way, or has outdoor seating, it is important to secure those areas as well as the indoor spaces. But you don't want to use a normal indoor surveillance camera to do it.

Surveillance cameras placed outdoors have to endure a wide range of conditions that an indoor camera is protected from. This can include potential water damage from rain, snow, or hail, damage from dust and debris picked up by the wind, or condensation from fog. Specialized outdoor cameras come in durable housing that protects a camera's sensitive electrical equipment.

Outdoor cameras come in a wide range of styles, so you will have just as much flexibility designing your outdoor system. This includes bullet cameras like the Optica B204 IP camera, domes like the Optica DV204M IP camera, and even PTZ cameras like the Optica P218Z PTZ IP camera.

Shop our wide selection of outdoor surveillance cameras, or contact us today to design a custom outdoor system.


Published by Marie on December 9, 2014 10:54 AM

It may sound complicated, but a camera's form factor just describes the camera's body type. These can range from dome cameras to PTZ and bullet, and knowing the different types will help you select the best camera for your surveillance needs.

Cameras can generally fall into several categories, so you can narrow down your search. Do you want an indoor or outdoor camera? Does it need to be vandal proof? How about covert? Or do you need to monitor a large space, and want a PTZ camera? Asking these questions as you shop will help you focus on a camera specially designed for your video needs and environment.

Learn more about Camera Form Factors, or contact our IP video specialists today to start designing a surveillance system.


Published by Ellen on February 26, 2015 4:25 PM

When shopping for a new or updated video surveillance system, it's important to consider whether or not vandal-proof (also referred to as a "vandal resistant") security cameras will benefit your installation. features a broad range of vandal-proof surveillance cameras outfitted with exceptionally heavy-duty enclosures to withstand physical mistreatment such as blows from objects.

If your surveillance application is susceptible to vandalism or other damage, then we recommend investing in a vandal-proof system. Here are three preemptive measures you can take if you haven't already purchased a vandal-proof system:

Check cabling: Make sure to have the camera's cable is out of sight and unreachable by someone walking near or directly in its path. All cabling should be concealed by a wall or ceiling to prevent someone from trying to disconnect the camera.

Mounting: If possible, the camera should be flush-mounted into a ceiling or wall to make it less vulnerable to an attack. This type of installation makes it so that the camera is not entirely exposed. As a result, it's less of a target to someone who's looking to break or dismantle it. A hanging or pendant mount will make it easier for someone to attack the camera.

Out-of-Reach Placement: Surveillance cameras should be installed on surfaces that are out of arm's reach. Consider placement on high ceilings and walls when installing your system.

Speak to one of our system specialists now to learn more about vandal-resistant cameras. We have several indoor and outdoor options available depending on the needs of your business. Don't wait -- invest in a vandal system today.

Published by Marie on May 7, 2014 10:01 AM

Have you ever wondered how your surveillance camera actually works? It's a complicated system of turning light into electrical impulses, but our new Learning Center pages can help you understand how cameras work.

The first step in creating a video is controlling the amount of light that enters the camera lens. This process is controlled by the camera iris. The larger the opening the iris creates, the more light is allowed in; a smaller opening allows in less light. Too much light can wash out your images, and too little light creates images that are too dark.

After the light has entered the camera through the iris, it hits the image sensor where the light is turned into the electrical impulses that actually make up the video. The image sensor is made up of dozens of pixels, each one recording how much light it's exposed to. The light/dark sections of each pixel come together to form the video you see.

Once the video is recorded, it has to be compressed. Video compression is the process of using a codec to go through the video file to reduce or eliminate unnecessary parts of the file, so the final video is smaller. This compressed file allows you to store more videos on your hard drive, send video files more easily over your network, and view them remotely from your computer, smart phone, or tablet.

Published by Ellen on January 22, 2014 8:35 AM

Just yesterday, released a new case study focusing on a car dealership's decision to arm its facility with high-definition IP cameras.

With no surveillance system to watch over its dealership, showroom, and indoor offices, Instant Auto Finance sought out the expertise of to design a security solution that included eight outdoor cameras and two indoor cameras, including a PTZ camera with mobile viewing capability.

Prior to investing in an IP camera system, Instant Auto Finance had a car stolen off its lot, prompting the need for outdoor security. Once Instant Auto Finance deployed the new indoor/outdoor system configured by, the company was able to use it to identify an individual suspected of stealing cash inside the building.

You can read the entire story by visiting our Case Studies page. You'll also find several other case studies, highlighting our work with a number of reputable companies and organizations.

Below is an actual view of the company's showroom through the eyes of a HD PTZ camera. The system's mobile viewing app allows the user to check in on live video feed at any time.


Published by Ellen on November 21, 2013 1:20 PM

Interested in learning more about IP video surveillance technology? Well, now you can thanks to our new technology section in our learning center. Our technology pages cover important topics like wide dynamic range, Power over Ethernet, HD video resolution and more. If you're new to surveillance technology or want to brush up on your knowledge, we recommend reading each overview.

On every page, you'll learn about the basics of the technology or function, the purpose that it serves, how it works, and other tips and suggestions. Pop on over today in our technology section and find out how technologies like edge recording and PTZ cameras can benefit your long-term security plan.


Published by Ellen on July 12, 2013 11:21 AM

More companies are making the switch to HD video surveillance for its ability to capture crystal clear and incredibly detailed images with high forensic value. If you don't already own an HD security camera system, it's not too late to get on board -- upgrading to HD video is both easy and affordable.

Why is HD video preferred over CCTV video? The answer is simple: HD video delivers a much higher resolution than CCTV video, resulting in better image quality and a wider field of view. walks you through the upgrade process in its latest white paper, "HD Surveillance: Capture Identifying Detail for Better Security". Written by's team of HD video experts, the white paper provides helpful information so you can know what steps to take, whether it's upgrading your current CCTV system or buying a brand new HD surveillance system. Either way, our experts are here to answer your questions and get you on the right track.

You can download a free copy of the HD Surveillance white paper by clicking here.


Published by Ellen on April 22, 2013 9:45 AM

What's the problem? The average security camera has the tendency to produce dark images in areas with shadows or washed-out images in an environment with an inordinate amount of glare or reflections.

Read More
Published by Ellen on December 3, 2012 8:53 AM

As resported by IMS Research, video surveillance providers are expected to incur $75 million more in revenue from small-to-medium-sized businesses by the end of this year. Nationally recognized market research firm IMS Research estimates that the number of surveillance systems purchased by SMBs will increase by 50% at the end of 2012. The restaurant industry has revealed itself as one of the major investors in security camera systems. Restaurant chains such as Eat'n Park and Popeyes Louisiana are just two examples.

Read More
Published by Ellen on May 18, 2012 2:26 PM

Slip and fall fraud is big business. The fraudulent injury rose 12% in 2011 according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Please note that we're referring to the slip and fall injury when it occurs on purpose. Unfortunately slip and falls do happen to innocent individuals who have no intention of exploiting their employers for their injuries. But with slip and fall fraud, it's the exact opposite.

Read More
Published by Margeaux on February 29, 2012 4:34 PM

IP cameras with long range optical zoom are ideal for viewing details from afar. Whether you need to identify people, license plates or tracking numbers, we offer IP cameras with up to 35x zoom. Long range optical zoom offers high quality images of distant objects.

Read More
Published by Margeaux on February 17, 2012 3:20 PM

Penguins and outdoor Mobotix cameras have one thing in common; they are both designed to endure extreme weather. Down in the Antarctic, Mobotix cameras have been used in frigid temperatures for the last decade.

Read More
Published by Margeaux on February 10, 2012 1:16 PM

For the most demanding outdoor conditions, we offer several outdoor-ready security cameras armored with IP67-rated housing.

Most outdoor IP cameras are equipped with IP66-rated material, which is dust-tight and very water resistant. However, cameras featuring IP67-rated housing can even be immersed in water for a period of time. Ideal for use in extreme environments, these cameras stand up to wind, rain, snow, dust and more. Additionally, many cameras with IP67-rated housing are also stand up to the threat of vandalism. IP67-rated security cameras are a great solution for video surveillance of boats, gas stations, any other locations with extreme weather or high risk of vandalism.

For the utmost rugged protection, select security cameras with IP67-rated housing. We offer outdoor-ready IP cameras from Vivotek, Axis, Panasonic, Mobotix and other top IP video manufacturers.


Published by Amelia on January 28, 2011 11:29 AM

From operating in challenging weather conditions, figuring out how to best supply power to network cameras, and maintaining image quality in poor lighting, outdoor surveillance comes with its own unique set of challenges. Outdoor IP cameras have a range of features that make them well-suited to handle difficult outdoor surveillance applications.

Read More
Published by Amelia on January 20, 2011 9:33 AM

Like megapixel cameras, HDTV network cameras offer superb image detail and outstanding color representation. HDTV cameras capture crisp and clear images formatted for modern screens and TVs. For applications where full frame rates and high-quality imaging are a priority, HDTV cameras are an ideal fit.

Read More
Published by Amelia on January 10, 2011 1:49 PM

When it comes to managing video compression in an IP camera network, it's a balancing act between maintaining high-quality images and reducing video file sizes to optimize network bandwidth and storage capacity. There are a number of video compression technologies available, and today's IP cameras usually come equipped with several options to achieve the best possible compression ratios for any given surveillance application.

Read More
Published by Amelia on January 6, 2011 4:28 PM

If you're looking for IP cameras that will provide much higher resolution and clearer video images than traditional security cameras, then megapixel cameras may be the right solution for you. With improved resolution megapixel cameras significantly increase the camera's field of view without losing any image detail. A single megapixel camera can cover areas that would normally be monitored by multiple surveillance cameras.

Read More
Published by Dan on April 30, 2009 3:25 PM

The arrival of H.264 video compression is helping lay to rest any remaining concerns of those who still cling to the idea that analog CCTV systems compare favorably to their new IP-based counterparts. A typical worry amongst analog purists is the cost of network video storage and bandwidth. With H.264, those thoughts are quickly squelched. H.264 significantly reduces storage and bandwidth costs compared to previous compression technologies, making it even easier to capture and save the highest quality video footage without bogging down your network. That's the big key for H.264 compression: it provides high-quality video at a much lower bit rate so you can get the absolute most out of those high-resolution network cameras.

Read More
Published by Dan on February 7, 2008 8:50 AM

A recent report by IMS research anticipates that the market for megapixel security cameras will grow substantially in the coming years, at a compound annual rate of over 100 percent. That would equal approximately 250,000 megapixel cameras shipped in 2008, and over 2 million total megapixel network cameras sold by 2011. Improved technology is the main reason for this rise in popularity. The advantages of megapixel cameras are great, but it has taken time for the technology to overcome a few stumbling blocks. Now, it appears the megapixel market is poised to really take off.

Read More
Published by Dan on July 26, 2007 11:01 AM

One area that doesn't get much attention is outdoor surveillance. I'm not talking about outside the home or office, but rather, way... way outside, like in the woods, where there's no power, or protection from the elements. Such locations are trouble spots for anyone trying to employ video security for obvious reasons, and until recently, there wasn't really a reasonable way to provide it. Think about the park service, wildlife and game agencies, or ranchers as examples of potential users. There are outdoor video systems on the market, but most still require power. Recently however, Smarter Security unveiled their new Smarter DVR 100 as a way to solve this issue. The Smarter DVR 100 is a self-enclosed unit that's weatherproof and features a camera, recording device and battery power all built in.

Read More
Have Questions? Get Answers. Our security integrators are standing by to make sure your surveillance solution is the best for your business. Contact an expert today! Get Help