Video Security Cameras

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Video security cameras can provide another level of security that a typical security system cannot provide. A security system in most cases will scare the intruder away or at a minimum notify the authorities quickly to prevent a large loss of assets. If you employ video security cameras you can also detect the intruder while they are outside and if they go inside you can also record their movements inside your home.

Why is this helpful?

In many cases the authorities can use the recorded video to identify and apprehend the suspects. This can lead to the recovery of your possessions.

You must select the correct camera for the area that you are trying to protect.

  • How far away is the area that you are trying to protect?
  • How wide an area are you trying to protect?
  • How detailed a view are you trying to see?
  • Will you need to see at night?
  • Is the area indoor or outdoor?
  • Do you need to have audio?
  • Do you want to detect motion?

Choke points

When deciding where to place your Video Security Cameras keep in mind that if you are trying to cover the inside of your house you must analyze where people walk thru the house. Is there a place that everyone must pass through? This would be called a choke point since all traffic through your house must go through that point. This is a very cost effective area to place a camera.

Asset Protection

There may be certain valuables in your home or certain rooms that have more valuables than others. You may want to protect these rooms with a camera.

Video Security Camera Selection

  • Fixed or PTZ Lens
    • A camera can have a fixed view or it can pan tilt and zoom. This means that the camera can be moved remotely to the left, right or up and down. You can also zoom in or out. Fixed cameras are far less expensive and a PTZ camera is typically used in an area that is constantly monitored. Typical cost for a fixed camera is $200-$500 while a PTZ camera is in the $2,000 range.
  • Color or Black & White Cameras
    • This is actually a no brainier. Color cameras provide much better pictures than black and white and are not significantly more expensive than black and white.
  • Wired or Wireless
    • My preference is always a hard wired camera if possible. After you have selected the area of coverage you must decide where to place the camera. There may be multiple locations where the camera can be placed and still achieve your goal. Keep in mind that you will need to run wire to the location where the camera is installed. If you have an area that needs to be covered and there is only one suitable location for the camera and wire would be virtually impossible to get to that location then you can select a wireless camera to do the job.
  • Select the lenses
  • The lens of the camera is the eye. All of the images go through the lenses so what you see is all based on the lenses. There are two basic things to consider, the CCD and focal length of the camera. The CCD sensor is basically the eye of the camera. The light coming into the CCD chip is converted into a video signal with onboard circuitry. The focal length is the distance from the lens to the surface of the CCD sensor.
    A wide angle lenses for example 3.6mm will give you a wide area of coverage but if your area of protection is far away you may not get the detail that you want. If you move up to say a 16mm you will get more detail but a narrower field of view.


  • Inside or outside
    • If your camera is to be mounted outdoors make sure to select a weather proof camera or you can also select a weatherproof housing and install the camera inside.
    • Make sure that your cameras are mounted securely. Believe it or not thieves like to steal cameras or at a minimum they seem to enjoy vandalizing them. This will not be a problem if they are recorded in the act.
  • Camera Type – Covert or conventional
    • A Covert surveillance camera can be ideal for particular areas. Everyone has heard of Nanny cams which are meant to monitor your children. They are usually hidden in an area so they are undetected. There is a wide variety of covert cameras available that can blend in with any home. Since the person being recorded has no idea that they are “on camera” then they will not be trying to avoid being recorded so you may capture more detail while they are in your home.

If you want a more detailed picture you may want to increase your focal length which will give you better detail but this will decrease your width of coverage. For example if you use a 16mm lens and your target distance is 25 feet your area of coverage is only 7 1/2 feet. This is far better detail but if the subject does not pass through your small area then you will have no picture.

We have mentioned area of coverage in terms of width but not any mention of the height of the area. For most video security cameras the height of coverage is approximately 3/4 of the width. So a 24 foot wide area is 18 feet high. Just multiply by 3/4 to get an idea of the height that the camera will cover.

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