8 Cameras On 1 Pole?

A member asked for your feedback on this question:
I have an Auction Yard customer that has a history of theft and they want to upgrade the cameras to IP.
They currently have a couple of PTZ's on basically a telephone pole in the middle of this yard. I'm proposing to replace the PTZs with fixed cameras on approx a 30 foot pole. On one side, I'm thinking 6 cameras with various focal lengths and FoV width staggered over a wide angle. I also will have two more cameras on the other side of the pole. (See JVSG below for idea.)
Am I crazy putting 8 cameras on a pole? If I'm not, can you recommend a vendor that I can purchase an 8 place mount accessory?
Can you help them? I would recommend planning to stagger the cameras at different mounting heights on the pole, but perhaps you have a better idea? Thanks!

make sure that pole is braced and strong, with 8 cameras installed it will be like a sail when the wind begins to blow...

May I be the first to recommend the Arecont Surround Video series? Not to say that there are no issues with this (limited frame rate, poor low light performance, it's Arecont, etc.) but this architecture (multiple imagers in a single camera) has significant advantages in this application.

John I have used the 8mp version of that camera and it worked well for the reasons you have noted and also didn't work so well for the other reasons you noted... small footprint was very nice and only having to install one housing instead of four up 25' in the air is a bonus... do they make one with multiple lens variations that would work for the application listed above?

The upcoming 'omni' versions will support multiple lens variations and positioning.

+1 on the Arecont Surround Video series. We are using several with good results for lighted greenway space and parking lots. Only a single camera license (for our VMS, at least) for each camera.

So, I found the web page of a guy whose hobby is collecting information about telephone poles, because the Internet is a magical place of mystery and wonder. The page was last updated two years ago, but there's an email address. Anyone want to try asking his advice?

There's also a ton of information on the site, and useful links, too.

Dude, that guy's knowledge is amazing! I just became 'Like #73' on his Facebook page!

I don't mean to throw a wrench into the plan, but I had a client a few years back that had repeat thefts occurring in his storage compound. We installed megapixel IP cameras and still didn't have the level of detail required to properly identify the culprits. Outside yards have to be one of the toughest challenges for cameras because you have everything working against you. Large areas to cover, low light, and sneaky thieves can easily wear a hoody or mask that makes the camera identification useless. After he spent a bunch of money on cameras we decided to try a fence intrusion detection system. It has been almost 3 years and he has not had a single incident since! It's wired into his alarm system, so they get realtime notification, plus it has an extremely low false alarm rate. We went a little overkill because we wanted the thieves to get the message. We installed 18 strobes on his 2000' of fence line with a loud outdoor siren. In my opinion protecting the perimeter is the gold standard. We have since installed this product at 3 more sites for similar scenarios and not one of these clients has had a single intrusion into their yard since. Hope it's OK to throw that out there...I just know what it feels like when a customer has spent a pile of money and your sitting there with him reviewing a piece of grainy video trying to use digital PTZ to pick out a face and you can't. I produced a short video demonstrating the basics of how this product works. Check it out if you are curious.


aaannd now I have your jingle stuck in my head... fence perimeter protection is on my list of items to look at during isc west this year... analytics may prove to be beneficial as well for.the application being discussed...

aaannd now I have your jingle stuck in my head...

lol! me too!

I agree. Perimeter protection is worth evaluating for such scenarios

Yup... That jingle is catchy!

Catchy is one way to put it....

Catchy is one way to put it....

Another way would be:

Energetic right from the unexpected starting pickup measure, the groove establishes a classic syncopated break beat while leaving ample room for the melodic pentatonic minor vocal riffing over a hypnotic unmodulated aeolian mood.

All while smoothly delivering the core values and raison d'être for Blanchard in the form of two audio bookends which effortlessly support the product payload.

Nice Job!

Wow... I'm impressed with that explanation!

Believe it or not guys, I made that jingle myself when I started my business 5 years ago. Recording is my other hobby, and yes the voice is mine cranked up on autotune 100% strength. You don't even have to sing it on key and it comes out that way. I have two full 30 second versions of the whole jingle. It's got lines in ther about catching the bad guys and all kinds of crazy stuff. It's not getting nearly as much play these days My first year in business I blew a lot of my budget on radio advertising. Not the smartest move I've ever done, but the jingle does make people smile... I can say that for sure.

Marc, what false alarm rate, if any, would you say they experiance on the fence detection? If any, do they find it acceptable?

Senstar told me over the phone one false alarm a month on average.

We have experienced less than this for a couple of reasons. The fence integrity is a factor. I have a friend who runs a fencing business and had him repair any loose or cut sections in the fence prior to installation. For instance on that video I posted, that is a new section of chain link fencing because that area was so badly cut up from theft incidents that it was more cost effective to have new fencing installed. A tight fence that doesn't have loose flapping chain link is the first thing to establish. Doesn't have to be perfect, you just want to ensure there are not areas that easily make sounds because it's just sort of hanging there and is missing the bottom wire, post straps, etc. The microphonic cable is listening to the mechanical sounds of the fence. We have seen stormy weather have almost no false alarm effects. If you do get the odd false alarm from bad weather the customer automatically is understanding of it and frankly most thieves would not be bothering to do their thing during a storm anyway. We had record storm winds at our first location about two weeks after our installation and we did not get one false alarm. Our most recent installstion had a few false alarms during a storm and the owner identified a man gate that was swinging back and forth in the wind and that was the culprit.

2nd thing that is very important. The fence needs to be clear of trees and branches. On our third installation the client had to spend about 2k to have all the foliage and small trees cleared from his fence so that we could ensure problem free detection.

And thirdly the product needs to be calibrated. The default settings aren't bad but I've always tweaked them at each site and thoroughly tested the whole perimeter for proper detection. You can adjust settings such as the number of cuts that will trigger an alarm, the seconds of climbing sound before the alarm is triggerd, and the software has a graphical display that shows you the sound level and threshold settings for detection. You can plug your laptop into the processor by USB to adjust the settings. As you can tell I'm pretty sold on this product. The main reason... I'm able to offer my customer something that really gets the job done. As for having cameras. I think it's nice if you can have both. But if I had to compare one over the other I would say permiter protection comes first and cameras are a means to further investigating the incident. Hope this helps.

Perimeter protection + few PTZ's + remote monitoring service.

Brian, my best to you, and would you mind if it was too much trouble to have some of most relavant datas around? Like focal lengths and imager size and or fov angles for the ptzoomers used in the present conflaguration? My fear and hope is that Johns Aricont' solution is not enough to cut mustard fully. Because the fov witn the current ptz might have more ppf than the Arecont fovs have I was thinking that maybe a ptz and arecont could be used together with autotracking of the ptz based on the motion detection of the arconts.

Is this type of combo wide-angle high-res (multi-imager or panaormic) driving high-zooom camera thru motion detecters common?

Hello Tedor:

I only have the screenshot I attached above, but the member has chosen a mix of 2MP and 5MP models.

We have a customer using our thermal sensors and VIQ HD cameras where lighting is available. Very successful, several captures. Other comments will mention that unless it's an employee...even a good facial shot will only help prosecute after they catch him somewhere else.

Yes, I am clearly a manufacturer pushing a solution which does include my parts.


We did a solution a couple of years ago with (4) 5 MP box cameras, lensed for 90 degrees each and one 2MP PTZ. We also used (3) 120 degree illuminair infrareds. We put several 350' Optex wireless peremiter beams interfaced to our PTZ via alarm input/outputs, via Inovonics relays. Each of the four inputs, represent one of the lot sides and trip a programmed scan from the PTZ, directly along that particular fence line. The PTZ picks up motion within that area, zooms up and tracks the indivigual and sends a text with image attached to the manager. The tracking, and texting are over ridden by a daytime, working hours schedule, so as to not false alarm. In our case we are covering an area of about 2 acres.

Currently we are putting in perimeter protection on high value properties and installing cameras at each corner of the lot, facing down the fence lines - each camera facing the camera on the far corner. For long runs over 250' we are putting camera mid span also. Sometimes adding a pole in the center of the lot for more interior coverage.

My first bit of advice is to get your customer to commit to a solution definition. Do they want to stop the crime before it happens or record the crimes that happen? What are they trying to do. As an integrator, one of your primary duties is to help the customer understand what they really want. In my experience, 25% of the time, they don't know or have the wrong equipment paired to their goal.

Depending on what "study" or "survey" you read, you will find that CCTV presence will have a deterrent effect or it won't. Many of those studies are of dubious origin and influence.

If you want cruddy video if shadowy figures making off with used car parts, by all means throw a bunch of cameras up on a pole.

If you want to stop the theft of the most expensive parts, I would reccomend they move those particular vehicles close to the building and concentrate the light and video and fencing there. Sometimes an integrator is there to solve problems that dont result in camera sales. I guess that depends on the type of operation you're in.

Out side lots are a tough battle. To do well it can cost a good chunk of money, but then battles are tough. You need to be tough like a junkyard dog.

Now consider that dog(s). Low cost and low maintenance. Medium to high deterrance. A good choice.

Now there's an idea. Get something like the Shotspotter but for dog barks, and let your dogs run free through the property at night. It's not like dogs ever bark at squirrels and the moon and each other and nothing at all, right?

Why not the best of both worlds, cctv dog cameras are not that new!

Two way audio for command dispatch, IK9 rated.

This is a good post. Video does not need to be 'cruddy', but the sentiment of solving the problem rather than selling a solution is great!

This is a good post.

Understatement! This thread shaping up to be one of the most comprehensive explorations that I've seen to date. In addition most of the discussion has been cooperative and complimentary, not antagonistic and exclusionary. Since cost was not mentioned as as factor and the assets value to be protected undefined, the sky's the limit! So let's just put it all together and see what it looks like:

1. Arecont Surround Video - Omni Series Multi Lens/Imager - John, Kevin, Keefe

2. Fence Intrusion Detection System - Marc.

3. Electric Fence - Tedor

4. MP PTZ with external IR Illuminators & Optix Perimeter Intrusion - John Johnson, Mike

5. Thermal Imaging - Greg

6. Guard Dogs - David

7. Shotspotter modified for canine audio, Spotshotter? - Ari

8. Wireless Camera on Guard Dog - Jim

9. Marc's jingle played in a loop after hours for intimidation - The Securitones

It takes a Pole...

M. Wilson, Hold off the phone a second! I expectate that Alex should be submitting the crowing touches of our pro-pole-sal, the quad-copter stun-gun armed drone mini-fleet at any instant now.

True that: If I was a "sneaky criminal" I would not want to be caught dead in that yard, (or alive!)

[Disclosure: Poster works for FLIR]

Great comments, including the jingle!

HD images are great if the lighting is good and the guy isn't wearing a hoodie. Now let's assume you get a great shot if his face, passport quality and hand it over to the police. Unless he is a really well know local problem or one of your employees it will be used later for prosecution when they catch him selling the stuff or breaking in elsewhere. For an application close to the original problem, see Insurance Auto Auction's testimonial video for thermal detection at the link.

Manage the expectation before installation.

A great what of his face? Talk about vigilante justice.

...and hand it over to the police.

Bring Me the Face of Alfredo Garcia!

Thanks Greg

In my opinion, for cases like these, justice is rarely served. At the end of the day, the business owner just wants to run their business without the bother of thieves. Whatever personal vendetta they have about catching the thief soon fades away and if the problem is solved by keeping them off the property then what more do you need to do? Cameras just give you more information about the incident. That's the conclusion I came to after doing up a few yards like these.