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PPF Test - Getting High Quality Surveillance Video

by John Honovich, IPVM posted on Apr 04, 2010 About John Contact John

Megapixel cameras foster hope for much higher quality surveillance video but how much more and in what conditions? In this report, we answer these questions in depth based on extensive testing.

The most aggressive marketing claims suggest a single megapixel camera is equals 95 CCTV cameras. Does that mean you could literally replace 95 CCTV cameras? If not 95, is it 25 or 16 or 4, etc.?

A 'Magic Number'

The megapixel vendors are now advocating a 'magic number' of 40 pixels per foot. They claim that if your Field of View provides 40 pixels per foot (e.g., a 1920 x 1080 camera covering a 48 foot wide FoV), then you can see facial details and license plates clearly.

Some vendors qualify their number by saying it is a 'minimum' but then fail to offer any further disclosure or explanation. This is as helpful as the government coming to your house and telling you owe a minimum of $1,000 in taxes.

Our Test

Over a 3 week period, we went out and tested these assumptions using a variety of cameras, resolutions and Field of Views. The video below overviews how we approached our tests:

Our Findings

Our test results show that achieving high quality surveillance is much more complicated than the magic numbers nor multipliers being advocated today. While megapixel surveillance can significantly improve surveillance coverage, many issues and nuances exist that must be properly appreciated when designing and deploying systems. We examine these in depth in the PRO section.

The complete report is available only to PRO Members.
Inside the Pro Section

Pro members may access the entire report including 5 video screencasts, downloadable sample videos from the tests and comparison slides of tests performed at various resolutions and FoV widths. We provide detailed recommendations on quality achievable for a variety of conditions and settings.


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Key Findings

*** ********* ****** *** *** *** ******** / ***************:

  • ** 'ideal' lighting conditions - **** ******* ********, ** *******, ** ***** - *** **** ****** ** ** ****** *** **** ** *** ****** ******** ******* *** **** ** ******* ******.
  • ** **** ******** *********** ******** ********** - ******** shadow or glare - *** **** ~**% **** ****** ** '********' ******** ** ********.
  • ***** ****** *** ************ ****** **** **** ****** ** ****** ** ***** ********** *** ***, ** *** **** ** ****** **** ****** ******** *** ******* ****, *** ****** target 60 pixels per foot.
  • ** night, **** **** * ** ** *** ** ******** (**** ****** ******), ******* **** **** *************. ** ** **** ** *** *******, ***** **** ** ********* *** *** ******* ***** ***** **** ************* ****** *** ***** ***** ********** ******* *** ** ****. ** night, you might need 120 pixels per foot (** ****).
  • ***** quality gradually degrades ** *** *** ***** *******. *****'* ** ****** ***** ***** ******* **** **** **** ** ***. ******* ********* ****** ** ********* ** *** *** ***** *******.
  • ** ***** numerous levels of varying quality for surveillance use. ***** *************, ************ ************ *** * ******* ****** (***** ****** ********, ******, *****), ** ***** ** ***** ****** **** ******. ** ******* ********, **** ******* ***** ******. ***** ******* *** ***** ******* ******** ********* ** *** ***********.
  • **** ******* ***** ** good enough is somewhat subjective. ******* ******* ********* ********, **** ***** *** **** ********* ****** ** ******* ** ** **********. *** *******, *** ****** *** **** ***** **** *** **** ****** *** *** **** ***** ** ****** *** **** ** ** ********** ***** ******* *** ****** ** ****** *** ****.
  • Vertical distance covered ****** ************ **** *** ***** ****** / ********** ***** ** *** ****. **** * **** ***** ****, ** ** ****** ********** ** *** ****** ******** ** **** **** * *** **** ******** **** *** ****** (**** **** *********). **** * ********* ****, ****** ******** *** ** ******** ** ****** *** *********. *** ******** ** ****** ** *** ***** ** *** *******.
  • ****** **** HD to 5MP provided benefits for wider FoVs. ** **** ******** **** **-**' ****, ** ** ******** **** *********** ******** ********** *** ** ******** ********. ** ***** ****, ****** ********* ** ******* ** ****** ********** ******* *** *****.

How to Perform Comparisons

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Download Sample Videos and Comparison Slides

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************, **** *** * *** ** *** ******** ***** ***** ** **** *** *** ***** *** '***' ***** ** *** *** ** ********* *** *****:

Lighting Variance Issues

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  • ****** *******/***** *** ******** *** ****** ** ****** ****** *** *** **** ***** ** ******* ************** **** ****** *** ****** ** *** ***.
  • ******* ****** **** ***** ****** ** ********** ****** ******** **** ***** ************* ****** **********, ********* ************ ****** ****** *** **** ** ******** ****** ** *** **** ***** ** ***.
  • ********* ** ******** ** ***** *** ****** ******* *** ***** ** *** **** ********* ********** **** ******* ****** ** ** ********* ******** **** ** **********.

Pixels Needed / Quality Provided

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  • ********* ** ****** ******: < * ****** *** ****
  • ***** ***** ** ****** (***, ******): * - ** ****** *** ****
  • ****** *********** ***** ** ****** (****, ***********, ***.): ** - ** ****** *** ****
  • ****** **** (***** ******** ** *** ******* **** *** ******): ** - ** ****** *** ****
  • ***** **** (***** ******** * ********): ** - ** ****** *** ****
  • **** ** ******* (**** ***** ******* ** **** *** ****): **+ ****** *** ****)
 

** *** ********** *****, ** ******* *** ** ********* **** *** *** ************ ** ******* ***********:

Differences in FoV Width for Various Resolutions

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  • *** ** *****, ****** ***** ******** **********. ** *** *******, ***** ******** *** ***** ****** ********, *** ********** ** **** ********** *********.
  • ** ******** **** (**** **-** ****), *** *** ******** ** **** *** ********** ********** ******* * *** *** *** ******.
  • *** *** **** ** **** ** ** ***, * **** ******* **** ****** **** *** ** *** (** ** ******** ***** *** ******** ******** ** ******). ****** **** *** ** *** ***** **** ***** ** ** - *** **** ****.
  • ** * ***' *****, ** ** ****** **** ******** '*****' ** ***** *** * *** ****** *** ******* ******* ** *** ***, ******, **** *** ******** ** * *******.

** *** ********** *****, ** ******* *** ** ******* ** **** ***** *** **** *** *********** ** **** ********:

Variances in Pixels Needed for License / Number Plates

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** *** ********** *****, ** ******* *** ******** *** *** ** ****** *** ******* ******.

Variances in Distance to Target with Difference Lens Choices

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**** ********* ********* ******** *** *** ** **** ***** ** ***** **** ***** ****** ** **** *** *** ***** *** ******* *****. *** ******** ** **** ***** '*******' ***** ************* *** ***** *** ***** ********. *** **** ********* ****** ** *** ******* ** ****** ****** *******. **** * **** ***** ****, * ****** **** **** ** **** **** *** ****** ** ****** ******** ** **** ***** ****** ******* ********. ** * ********* ******* ** **** *********** ********, **** *** **** ******* **** *****'* **** ***** ** ****.

** * *********, ***** ** *** ****** *** **** *** *** ****** ***** ******* **** *******. ****** **** *** **** ********* *** ****, *** **** ******* *** **** *** ** ***** *******. [**** *** * */*' ******, * ** ****** *** ** ******** **** * *.* ** ****, * ** ****** *** **** * * ** **** *** * ** ****** *** **** * **** ****.]

** ** *********** ****, *** *** ***** ***** ***** ********** **** ************.

 

Summary Findings

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  • ** 'ideal' lighting conditions - **** ******* ********, ** *******, ** ***** - *** **** ****** ** ** ****** *** **** ** *** ****** ******** ******* *** **** ** ******* ******.
  • ** **** ******** *********** ******** ********** - ******** shadow or glare - *** **** ~**% **** ****** ** '********' ******** ** ********.
  • ***** ****** *** ************ ****** **** **** ****** ** ****** ** ***** ********** *** ***, ** *** **** ** ****** **** ****** ******** *** ******* ****, *** ****** target 60 pixels per foot.
  • ** night, **** **** * ** ** *** ** ******** (**** ****** ******), ******* **** **** *************. ** ** **** ** *** *******, ***** **** ** ********* *** *** ******* ***** ***** **** ************* ****** *** ***** ***** ********** ******* *** ** ****. ** night, you might need 120 pixels per foot (** ****).
  • ***** quality gradually degrades ** *** *** ***** *******. *****'* ** ****** ***** ***** ******* **** **** **** ** ***. ******* ********* ****** ** ********* ** *** *** ***** *******.
  • ** ***** numerous levels of varying quality for surveillance use. ***** *************, ************ ************ *** * ******* ****** (***** ****** ********, ******, *****), ** ***** ** ***** ****** **** ******. ** ******* ********, **** ******* ***** ******. ***** ******* *** ***** ******* ******** ********* ** *** ***********.
  • **** ******* ***** ** good enough is somewhat subjective. ******* ******* ********* ********, **** ***** *** **** ********* ****** ** ******* ** ** **********. *** *******, *** ****** *** **** ***** **** *** **** ****** *** *** **** ***** ** ****** *** **** ** ** ********** ***** ******* *** ****** ** ****** *** ****.
  • Vertical distance covered ****** ************ **** *** ***** ****** / ********** ***** ** *** ****. **** * **** ***** ****, ** ** ****** ********** ** *** ****** ******** ** **** **** * *** **** ******** **** *** ****** (**** **** *********). **** * ********* ****, ****** ******** *** ** ******** ** ****** *** *********. *** ******** ** ****** ** *** ***** ** *** *******.
  • ****** **** HD to 5MP provided benefits for wider FoVs. ** **** ******** **** **-**' ****, ** ** ******** **** *********** ******** ********** *** ** ******** ********. ** ***** ****, ****** ********* ** ******* ** ****** ********** ******* *** *****.

 

Questions?

*** ****** ******** * **** ******* ** ******, *** ** *** ***** ** **** ********** ** ** *** ******. ** *** **** ************* ** ********* ** ******* ******, ****** ***.






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