DETEXI® Network Video Management System
EXPAND YOUR CONCEPTS OF SECURITY
— Component Considerations – Network Cameras — Overview —
Network CamerasA network camera can be described as a camera and computer combined in one unit. It has a compression chip, an operating system, a built-in web server, FTP (File Transfer Protocol) server, FTP client, e-mail client, alarm management and much more. A network camera, unlike a web camera, does not need to be attached to a PC; it operates independently and connects, as with a PC, directly to an IP network. It can be placed wherever there is a network connection.
The network camera captures and sends live images, enabling authorized users to locally or remotely view, store and manage video over a standard IP-based network infrastructure.
The intelligent network camera is never idle. It is constantly on guard, analyzing inputs and waiting for an impulse to kick-start an action or series of actions. Intelligence at the camera level enables a more productive and effective means of surveillance.
Network cameras fall into categories and types.
Category — Indoor/outdoor. Outdoor network cameras must have an auto iris to regulate how much light is received. Many outdoor cameras require a protective housing. Others may already be designed with a protective enclosure. Housings are also available for indoor cameras that require protection from harsh environments such as dust and humidity, and from vandalism or tampering.
Types — Fixed, pan/tilt/zoom, or dome network cameras. Providing high-quality video solutions for any professional indoor or outdoor video surveillance application.
— Component Considerations — Network Cameras — Types —
Network Cameras — Types
FixedOnce a fixed camera is mounted, the camera’s viewing angle is fixed. There are two types of fixed network cameras available:
Pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ)The camera’s view can be remotely controlled, either manually or automatically, for panning from side to side, tilting up and down, and zooming in and out of an area or object. There are now mechanical as well as non-mechanical pan/tilt/zoom cameras:
DomeDome cameras can cover a wide area by enabling greater flexibility in pan, tilt and zoom functions, with a 360-degree pan and a tilt of usually 180 degrees.
— Component Considerations — Network Cameras — Features to consider — 1 —
Network Cameras — Features to consider — 1
Image sensorTwo types of image sensor technologies are available for use in network cameras: CCD (charge-coupled device) and CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor). Each has its own advantages.
Automatic day/night func.
Progressive scanThis technology, present in advanced network cameras, enables moving objects to be seen more clearly since it involves exposing, capturing and presenting an entire image at one time, rather than splitting an image into two separate fields, as with analog interlaced scanning technology.
Automatic day/night functionalityThis feature is incorporated into some outdoor cameras and enables the automatic removal of the infrared (IR) cut filter that is incorporated into all color cameras.
LensDifferent types of lens are available on network cameras. Lenses may be fixed (the focal length or horizontal field of view is fixed), varifocal (allows for the manual adjustment of the focal length) or zoom (allows the camera to stay in focus when zooming in on objects). Varifocal and zoom lenses offer focal lengths that range from telephoto to wide angle.
Lens changeableChangeable lens gives users the option of using other lenses (such as telephoto or wide angle) that may be more appropriate for a particular application.
Minimum illumination/light sensitivity
Network cameras come with lux specifications. Lux is the measurement unit for light. One lux is the equivalent of light from a candle. At least 200 lux is needed to capture good quality images.
Environment — Lux
Strong sunlight — 100,000
Full daylight — 10,000
Normal office light — 500
Poorly lit room — 100
— Component Considerations — Network Cameras — Features to consider — 2 —
Network Cameras — Features to consider — 2
Type of video compressionTwo of the most common types of video compressions are MPEG-4 and Motion JPEG. MPEG-4 and Motion JPEG each employ a different technique to reduce the amount of data transferred and stored in a network video system. Each format has its advantages and disadvantages.
When looking at video compression, it is important to select the compression that best suits your application.
One of the best ways to maximize the benefits of both standards is to look for network video products that can deliver simultaneous MPEG-4 and Motion JPEG streams, giving users the flexibility to both maximize image quality for recording and reduce bandwidth needs for live viewing.
With limited bandwidth, you may want to view at full frame rate or 30/25 (NTSC/PAL) frames per second (fps) with MPEG-4 and record with guaranteed quality using Motion JPEG.
Type of video compression
Frames per second
Video motion detection
Input and output (I/O) ports
Video resolutionA VGA resolution is 640x480 pixels. (Computer screens have resolutions in VGA or multiples of VGA.) Another common format is 4CIF (704x480 pixels in NTSC / 704x576 pixels in PAL standard). Megapixel cameras provide high resolutions of at least 1280x960 pixels and are used for applications that require the ability to see fine details or cover a large area.
Frames per secondThere may be different frame rates specified for different resolutions. Full-motion video is 30 frames per second in NTSC video standard (in North America/Japan) and 25 frames per second in PAL video standard (Europe).
Full frame rate on all cameras at all times is more than what is required for most applications.
With the configuration capabilities and built-in intelligence of network cameras, frame rates under normal conditions can be set lower, e.g. one to three frames per second, to dramatically decrease storage requirements.
In the event of an alarm, i.e. if video motion detection or an external sensor is triggered, the recording frame rate can be automatically increased.
It is also possible to send video with different frame rates to different recipients.
Video motion detection (VMD)Video motion detection monitors changes in the camera’s field of view and if a change occurs (e.g. an intruder enters the scene), an alarm condition is generated. This function can be a built-in feature of a network camera or a feature of a video management software. Using the built-in video motion detection feature in a network camera reduces bandwidth use since no video is delivered on the network unless video motion is detected.
Audio supportA network camera with audio support comes either with a built-in microphone or an input for an external microphone. Speakers may be built in or external. An audio feature enables users to remotely listen in on an area and communicate instructions, orders or requests to visitors or intruders.
Input and output (I/O) portsInput/output connectors enable external devices to be connected to a network camera. Inputs to a camera (e.g. a door contact, infrared motion detector, glass break sensor or shock sensor) enable the camera to react to an external event by, for example, initiating the sending and recording of video.
— Component Considerations — Network Cameras — Features to consider — 3 —
Network Cameras — Features to consider — 3
Alarm and event managementPre- and post-alarm image buffers within a network camera can save and send images collected before and after an alarm occurs.
Security and managementAt a basic level, a video surveillance network camera should provide different levels of password-protected access to a network camera.
Alarm and event management
Security and management
Power over Ethernet (PoE)
Internet Protocol IPv6
Other specialized features
Power over Ethernet (PoE) — IEEE 802.3afWhen a network camera supports this feature, it means that the camera can receive power through the same cable as for data. It reduces cabling requirements and installation costs.
Internet Protocol IPv6Some video encoders may offer support for IPv6 addresses in addition to IPv4 addresses as insurance against the growing shortage of IPv4 addresses.
Other specialized features
— Component Considerations — Network Cameras — Image quality —
Network Cameras — Image quality
How can one guarantee good image quality?Image quality is clearly one of the most important features of any camera, if not the most important. This is especially true of security surveillance and remote monitoring applications, where lives and property may be at stake. But how can one guarantee good image quality? That is a frequently asked question when specifying a new system, which involves sourcing and installing new network cameras.
Not all network cameras are created equal. A key determinant of a network camera is image quality. When assessing image quality, be sure to consider a network camera’s light sensitivity, the crispness of moving objects and the level of clarity. Read through a camera’s datasheet and, most importantly, field test a few cameras before making a decision.
Before you set out to order or buy many network cameras, it is a good idea to buy one and test its quality. Try out a network camera with a demo version of DETEXI video management software, which is downloadable on this’ web site at Licensing Section. DETEXI demo version provides simultaneous viewing and recording of high-quality video from a single surveillance camera.
Once the camera is selected, the next step is to select the appropriate lenses, housings, and any other relevant components necessary in the system. The installer should also be aware of a number of common practices related to camera positioning, which will help in obtaining the best quality out of the system.
These are equally applicable to network cameras as to any other type of camera.
Use lots of light
The most common reason for poor quality images is a lack of light. Generally, the more light, the better the images.
Bright areas in the images should be avoided. Bright images might become overexposed (bright white) and objects can then appear too dark. This problem typically occurs when attempting to capture an object from behind a window.
Reduce the contrast
A camera adjusts the exposure to obtain an average level of light in the image. When trying to capture an image of a person standing in front of a white wall, the person generally tends to appear too dark. This problem is easily solved by substituting the background color for gray instead of white.
Recommendations for mounting a camera outdoors
An auto iris lens should always be used for outdoor applications. An auto iris lens automatically adjusts the amount of light that reaches the image sensor. This optimizes the image quality and protects the image sensor from being damaged by strong sunlight.
Direct sunlight should always be avoided in an image. Direct sunlight will blind the camera and permanently bleach the small color filters on the sensor chip. If possible, the camera should be positioned facing the same direction as the sun.
Viewing too much of the sky results in too much contrast. The camera will adjust in order to achieve a proper light level for the sky. Consequently, the object/landscape of interest will appear too dark. One way to solve this problem is to mount the camera high above the ground; using a pole if needed. Sturdy mounting equipment should always be used to avoid vibrations caused by strong wind.
If the camera is mounted behind a glass, such as in a housing, the lens must be placed close to the glass. Otherwise, reflections from the camera and the background will appear in the image. To reduce reflection, special coatings can be applied on any glass used in front of the lens.
When using cameras at night, additional external lighting may be required. This should be arranged to avoid any reflections and/or shadows. For covert security, Infrared (IR) illuminators can be used instead of normal lighting, known as white light.
Color cameras do not work with IR light.
Some cameras are able to automatically switch between a daylight color mode and an IR mode useful in night vision where the image will then appear without colors.
— Component Considerations — Network Cameras — Compatibility —
Network Cameras — CompatibilityVideo management software is an important component of an IP-Surveillance system because it effectively manages video for live monitoring and recording. A network camera with an open, application programming interface enables a large variety of software vendors to write programs for the cameras. This increases the choices in software applications and ensures that you are not tied to a single vendor.
DETEXI Video Management Software Supported Cameras
DETEXI Video Management software supports a wide range of network cameras from the world’s leading manufacturers and continue to expand the list. *
* Not all manufacturer models are supported. Contact us directly
for the details.