Help Choose Right Type Of Camera - Expanding Town System

Hi All

I have been asked to supply and install a camera on an existing analog system and could use a little help.

A little history: Outside of their building is Main Street in a small town, they recently had an island with a water feature / fountain constructed in the middle of the street. You guessed it, kids are putting liquid soap in the fountain. You guessed it again they want to be able to recognize who is doing this and turn the image over to the police

Like I said, its outside and the street gets blinding sunlight some days. Approximately 25 ft. from the building and lit at night and also subject to passing auto headlights. They would like to run it back to the dvr via existing cat6 and use baluns

I can’t find a name on the DVR so assume it’s the lowest quality like the existing cameras. I only dabble in cameras and have no clue if analog or ip is the way to go or what camera would do this job

Any ideas?

Thanks in advance

How wide an area does this fountain camera need to cover? This is important because you note, "they want to be able to recognize who is doing this and turn the image over to the police". This will determine what resolution and or number of cameras you need.

I would say its 10 by 10

Ok, that's fairly narrow. Even an SD analog camera should be ok over such a small area.

Things to make sure about:

  • Good IR - this area looks like its going to be fairly dim at night. I know you mention headlights but you cannot depend on their light to light a scene.
  • DVR resolution - if this is an old DVR, it might not support 4CIF, which would be an issue (at that point, I recommend upgrading to a new DVR, specifically an HD analog one, which isn't that expensive and would allow using HD analog cameras).
  • Distance of camera from fountain. If it is 25 feet away and you want a ~10 FoV, you will need a moderately long focal length which is not standard on entry level fixed cameras.

I second the 'good IR' advice if the area is not well-illuminated at night.

Based on my personal experience soaping fountains hunch about the vandals, I bet they hit at nighttime.


About the headlights, I was just giving everybody a heads up that head light may be intermitently shined into the scene.

DVR Its less than a year old but it appears as cheap as they come. I will do a little more research on the DVR . I didnt put it in and no one speced the materail and it appears the electricians used the cheapest materail possable

Take a look at the software UI / screen. If it's not clear who it is, take a picture of it and post it.

Btw, for those of you, like me, who did not understand what 'soaping a fountain' is, here's a video:

Hey Sonny,

You may also consider a good white light illuminator instead of IR.

White light is visible to the human eye (where IR is not). If the area is visibly well lit it may, in fact, deter them from even attempting this anymore. And if they do, you'll still have good lighting on the target to capture the details of the suspect (assuming the lighting is bright enough and setup correctly).

Another possible advantage here is, if the scene is lit well enough with white light, you may be able to operate the camera in color (day mode) rather than B/W (night mode). That is assuming color detail is important/helpful in this case.

Anyway, just wanted to throw this thought out there.

Also, it might have a deterrent effect as pranksters could be more nervous about being seen.

Sonny, although a camera seems like a good idea here in your war against serial sudsers, there are a couple of reasons to be cautious.

If camera is to be used as a deterrent, camera may become a victim instead.

Soap delivery can be effected from afar hand grenade style or from moving vehicles, complicating identification.

Some thoughts:

1. Pre-treat the fountain water with a non-toxic phosphate removing product like Sea Klear.* Although the soap will still need to be flushed, this will take all the fun out of sudsing by drastically reducing the effervescent effect.

2. Have a sacrificial cheap/dummy camera, mounted low, between the good camera and the target. Install a snip loop.

3. Use elevated vandal proof dome camera(s) for the money shots.

*Disclaimer, I have not deployed a phosphate remover myself, like Brian my experience comes from youthful activities inside the basin, aka, in the 'paint'.

Assuming the dirty deed occurs at night, get a B/W cam with low light. Speco makes a small bullet waterproof cam with an 80' pigtail. Cvc320.

Good luck fishing that 80' terminated pigtail through any penetrations. Worst product idea ever. Of course it was a Speco product.

Actually the terminated pigtail has only 60 feet to be fished, not 80.

Though I'm guessing it won't matter to you much... ;)

Assuming the dvr is very poor, getting a low light b/w, something like I suggested, $100 online, likely has better resolution than the dvr. Have them buy that online, help them install a cheap solution. You're then set to help them consider a better solution, and I'm sure this forum will help with that challenge.

Sorry for the delay

This is what I was able to get

H.264 4/8/16 Channel DVR

Max FPS is 30, encode is VBR or CBR and Max Bitrate is 2560

So what do you guys think

It will be going back to the DVR via Cat6

Since it supports D1 and WD1, it is pretty new.

From a Google image search, this appears to be the same web interface that QSee uses but, of course, other companies may OEM the same offering.

I'd try using it unless you found any other issue or problem on site with it.


I dont understand, try using what? Qsee brand cameras

These are the numbers I pluged into the camera finder with no matches

  • Requires 29 fps or greater
  • Requires Bullet Form Factors
  • Requires camera type: CVI
  • Minimum AoV of 10° or higher
  • Maximum AoV of 10° or less
  • Camera must have integrated infrared
  • Requires infrared rating of 15m

Is this going to be a difficult camera to locate?

The AoV requirement is the issue. So you only want a camera that supports an AoV of 10°?

Bullets rarely support such telephoto zooms. You will need to buy a box camera and add on a telephoto lens for this.

From that I guess fov and aov are different

Since its going outside it will need to be in an enclosure w/heater for winter and an external ir illuminator ? (it will be pointing toword a public street)

If yes should I assume the existing power supply will handle this?

Thanks for all your help so far

You are conflating feet with degrees. You need a camera that can cover a 10 foot field of view, 25 feet way.

A camera with a 10 degrees lens looking 25 feet way is only going to cover ~4.4 foot wide FoV (see calculation here).

This FLIR CVI bullet, with 6-22mm and integrated IR should work for that range and you can adjust the FoV to your desire width on site.

Thanks John

I will be taking some of your courses as soon as I have time

Follow up. I would have do this sooner but I have been slammed with work

The customer said just put up any camera so they could show due diligence.

I got a cheapo from amazon ( HD 1.3MP CMOS Sensor 1000TVL 9-22mm Long Distance Varifocal Zoom Outdoor IR-CUT Security Camera ) for 64 bucks

It did the trick, I wish the IT guy sent me a better screen capture, anyhow

Colls Fountain 'Soapers' Charged
On August 20 at 12:50 a.m. the Collingswood Police Department patrol division noticed the fountain on Haddon Avenue overflowing with soap suds while on patrol in the area. The matter was turned over the detective bureau for further investigation.
Investigation resulted in the identification of two individuals responsible for the criminal mischief to the fountain. One offender is an adult, who was charged with criminal mischief and released from custody pending a municipal court date. The other offender is a juvenile, who was mandated to complete community service as a result of his role in the incident.
Residue from soaps clog the fountain and cause malfunction. Furthermore, foreign objects in the fountain cause damage, restricting the flow of the pump which results in motor burn out. It also encourages visitors to add items and play unsafely. “Adding objects or soaps to the fountain is a criminal act and violators will be prosecuted,” said Collingswood Police Chief Kevin Carey.
- press release from the Borough of Collingswood

Sonny, congrats! Glad to see it worked.

On August 20 at 12:50 a.m. the Collingswood Police Department patrol division noticed the fountain on Haddon Avenue overflowing with soap suds while on patrol in the area.

"Objection your honor, the timestamp of the video reads August 9th, not August 20th" ;)

Wow, not only did you get the right camera but you caught the thief too! Awesome stuff Sonny!