X
Get all access to the world's best video surveillance information.
Logo
China-threat-promo

Introduction to CCTV - Online Video Training

by Scott Oie, posted on Dec 05, 2009

Understanding the basics of CCTV is critical to designing and deploying high quality video surveillance systems. In this report, we cover 8 key fundamental areas of CCTV. We reference a series of videos from Pelco that provide strong coverage of these fundamentals.

The focus of this series is on traditional CCTV. To complement this, you should read guides on IP video surveillance. Two in-depth guides are available - Axis's Technical Guide to Network Video and Vivotek's IP Video Surveillance Handbook.

Finally, review our tutorials directory for dozens of resources introducing video surveillance and our free Video Surveillance Book.

CCTV Camera Introduction

It is important to understand the functionality of a CCTV camera; specifically how an image is first captured through a lens, processed through an imager, and converted to a signal.

An example of a CCD image sensor is broken down by functionality. Although the video uses examples of CCD imagers, cameras may use a CMOS imager, increasingly common with IP cameras.

In addition, it is key to understand interlaced video functionality, interlaced standards, and composite video properties.  

Types of CCTV Cameras

A security professional should be able to identify the type of camera to use in a specific application. Understanding technical specifications for Indoor, Outdoor, High Resolution, Low Light, and Special Application types of cameras will help in selecting the right hardware for the environment.

Camera Lens Selection

This video provides a visual representation of how a lens works.

Since the quality of an image depends on the amount of light that reaches a camera's image sensor, it is important to know and understand the F-Stop rating for a specific lens. 

Understand the different lens formats, common focal lengths, and note the calculation for selecting a lens size.

Camera Lens Design
 
It is key to know the specifications and types of fixed focal,varifocal, and zoom lenses so they may be used in the right applications.
 
Lens size calculation and camera formats is discussed in further detail.

Camera Lighting Principals

It is important to understand the effect of different types of light can impact the perception of a video image. Understand the difference in light quality of natural light sources like the sun, moon, and starlight. In addition, note how different artificial light sources can change the color of objects in an output video image (a suspect wearing an orange jacket may look like a brown jacket in a recorded video).

Camera Features and Lighting

Know what the features of a camera includes and how these features are applicable in what lighting conditions to adjust the quality of an output image.

Camera features like Automatic Gain Control and Back light Compensation are set depending on the lighting environment it is placed in. Also, be aware of the environmental limitations of a camera that has an Electronic Shutter Speed.

Since the quality of an image is dependent on the amount of light that reaches a camera's image sensor, it is beneficial to understand the quality of the image sensor. Although the video uses a CCD image sensor as an example, some cameras may have a CMOS sensor.  The two types of sensors have different manufacturing processes; therefore, the comparative image quality between CMOS and CCD sensors may differ.  I encourage further investigation on the topic of CMOS vs. CCD.

Recording Systems

In the past decade, video surveillance has seen 3 major recording systems: the VCR, DVR and NVR. The VCR records analog cameras to tape, the DVR records analog cameras to hard drives and the NVR records IP cameras to hard drives or network based storage. Increasingly popular are hybrid DVRs that combine DVR and NVR functionalities.

It is not common to consider a security VCR to integrate into a new security system. Use the VCR explanation in the video below as a comparative analysis to the features of a DVR.

Understand the process of how an analog signal gets converted to digital and stored. Also note the topic of DVR compression methods.

Note: with the growth in the use of IP video, the training is out of date since it does not mention NVRs.

System Design

Gaining a strong knowledge base of the previous topics is critical in putting together a successful system design. Effective system design can increase efficiency and cut costs; When performing a site survey, take time in examining the environment, understand the surveillance purpose, and factor the cost of the system.

With these fundamentals in mind, read our Video Surveillance Design Guide to review 7 key factors in designing systems.






Most Recent Industry Reports

$100 True WDR Camera Tested (FLIR CVI) on Jul 31, 2015
True WDR has traditionally been quite expensive. And HD analog has so far been mostly low-end models. Now, FLIR has released a ~$100 1080p CVI camera with true WDR and integrated smart IR. We bo...

First Integrator Face Off Opened on Jul 29, 2015
IPVM is starting a new series. A scenario will be presented and selected integrators can respond with their proposals / designs. Then those responses will be shared with the IPVM communi...

Hospital Video Surveillance Guide on Jul 28, 2015
This 16-page guide explains the key uses, design factors, and players in the Hospital Surveillance market.   A global group of 50 integrators and consultants with hospital project ...

Axis Camera Companion VMS Tested on Jul 27, 2015
Axis is focusing more on their own 'end to end solutions'. Camera Companion is Axis' 'VMS killer', which is free and eliminates using traditional VMS software. It jumped off to a great start, then...

Testing Zwipe Fingerprint Card on Jul 23, 2015
By embedding a fingerprint reader into an access control card, Zwipe claims it can increase security without requiring facilities to new / expensive fingerprint readers.   In this test, we p...

ADI's Disruptive W Box Tested on Jul 22, 2015
ADI moves hundreds of millions of dollars worth video surveillance equipment each year. And now, they are disrupting the channel, cutting out manufacturers. We bought an IP camera and NVR from AD...

Camera Calculation Presentations Released on Jul 21, 2015
Wow your customers with beautiful presentations of your video surveillance designs.  Now you can generate PowerPoint presentations, PDFs, Word Docs and Zip files of your Google Map ...

Smart CODEC Guide on Jul 21, 2015
Smart codecs are a next 'big thing'. With cameras having more and more processing power available, it is enabling them to make 'smarter' decisions about how they compress video. The marketin...

ACTi 10MP IR Camera Tested on Jul 20, 2015
10MP, Integrated IR, Motorized Zoom lens. All for just over $300 promotional pricing. An incredible deal, on paper, from ACTi's "Catch All The Details" marketing campaign We bought an ACTi E617 ...

Ethernet over Coax (EoC) Shootout on Jul 16, 2015
Reusing existing coax for IP cameras can cut installation costs dramatically. However, there are endless numbers of Ethernet over coax adapters available, all with differing price points and f...