How Do You Solve the Problem of Bad Surveillance Video?by John Honovich, IPVM posted on Jul 01, 2009 About John Contact John
One of the most frequent complaints by both industry outsiders and megapixel camera vendors is how bad surveillance video is. It's so bad, many would say that they would challenge the basic point of even having such cameras.
Cases demonstrating this problem come up all the time. Here's an informative one recently from a California city:
It's almost impossible to make out who the criminal is in this video. To most people, this would be considered bad quality.
Is There Any Worth?
I still think there was significant value from this video for the authorities. They were able to pinpoint the exact time, the clothing of the suspect, gender and body type. All of these can be powerful tools in pursuing leads and narrowing down suspects.
What Do You Think?
What Can We Do to Improve?
First, getting good video quality in these conditions is not a simple manner of moving to megapixel. As we recently examined, the 'real' resolution of megapixel is routinely less than the pixel count stated and low light levels are problematic for megapixel.
There are some things we can do:
- The light level is almost certainly too low. To rectify this, we will have to add lighting or infrared illuminators. The problem with this is the expense. Minimally, costs will increase by $500 USD but depending on the range of illumination and the complexity of install, it could be significantly higher.
- The camera may need to be positioned differently to get a better view of the criminal. This is hard one to tell with the limited information I have. I suspect the camera was designed to capture vehicles coming down the alley. As such, the camera was not designed to handle this type of 'attack'. This, too, reflects a real world problem where cost constaints constrains the total number of cameras that can be deployed.
- The camera needs greater resolution - certainly. The question, though is how much resolution and how do we achieve it. The person's face looks to be 1/25th the width of the image or less. To see any details, we would likely need 300% (or more) increase in horizontal resolution. This is likely to push the limits of resolution levels we can achieve with security cameras today. Alternatively, we could narrow the field of view but we may need to give up the view of the street which the client may not want.
Most Recent Industry Reports
30 vs 60 FPS Shootout on May 22, 2013
30 frames per second used to be the maximum practical limit for surveillance cameras. Now, it is becoming increasingly common for IP cameras to support double that, 60 frames per second. (For backg...
#1 IP Camera Benefit on May 20, 2013
Megapixel was, far and away, the number #1 cited benefit in going to IP cameras / video. We asked over 100 integrators to name the "3 biggest reasons" they found, allowing them to name whatever the...
Testing VSaaS / Dropcam HD on May 15, 2013
Dropcam is pretty clearly the strongest upstart in the VSaaS market. While Axis has pushed their hosted service offering for years, it is beset by poor ROI and weak performance. There are dozens of...
Testing Panoramic Cameras Outdoors on May 13, 2013
Outdoors, PTZs tend to be a favorite for covering large open areas but they only see whatever they are currently pointed at. Panoramics are an emerging alternative but how well do they perform and ...
Testing CarCam on May 08, 2013
Dash cams are getting a lot of attention for the amazing video they inadvertently capture, like a crashing 747 in Afghanistan, a meteor explosion, Russian crazy fights and accidents, etc. Moreov...
#1 IP Camera Problem on May 07, 2013
Cost was, far and away, the number #1 cited problem in going to IP cameras / video. We asked over 100 integrators to name the "3 biggest problems / barriers" they found, allowing them to name whate...
Testing Covert Cameras on May 02, 2013
Covert cameras are regularly referenced in TV shows and undercover reporting. We ordered two of the most frequently sold covert cameras on Amazon - a Car Key cam and a PenCam, as shown below: We...
Stop The Lying and Crazy Claims on Apr 29, 2013
The last few weeks have been an embarrassment for surveillance, with a small number of companies turning this into a despicable marketing campaign perpetuating lies and crazy myths about what surve...
Panoramic Camera Shootout on Apr 22, 2013
Panoramic cameras are one of the hottest growing markets within surveillance. The combination of multi-megapixel resolution and super wide FoVs claims to deliver greater coverage than conventional ...
Top Trends in Access Control on Apr 17, 2013
All of a sudden, Access Control has momentum? After a long period of apparent stagnation and staleness, new technologies and devoted marketing campaigns have breathed life into the segment. Indeed,...