Subscriber Discussion

Questions To Ask - Camera Design

I was wondering if any members of the surveillance course has used or is using a template when starting a new camera project. What I was thinking was a series of questions we could ask our clients in an effort to better meet their expectations.

Thoughts and any imput would be very helpful. Even if its just what did not work.


Tom, I've moved this to the main forum so all members can see and share comments.

To clarifiy, are you looking for questions an integrator / consultant would ask an end user when designing a new surveillance system? As in, an end user says, "I want a surveillance system" and you respond with X questions to better understand what type of system woudl work best, yes?

Yes John that is what I am looking for.

This is a good question and we should turn this into a general guide. I'll start the discussion with a few key questions:

  • Where have you had incidents in the past? This helps key in on known trouble spots where cameras are likely required.
  • What are the most valuable assets at your site? Typically one will have cameras over those areas or on the path to those areas.
  • How important is protecting your exterior perimeter? For some customers this is priority #1, meaning an array of outdoor cameras; for others it's just a nice to have.
  • What type of cameras have they used before? How did they like them? This gives a sense of the budget / expectations of users.
  • Who, if anyone, will monitor the system? This will have a big impact on selecting or rejecting PTZs.

Ok, that's 5 to get started. I think there are easily 20 that would be potentially useful.

How about;

  • What are you hoping to capture? What are you planning on doing with the captured video. This will help with determining needs ie, license plates or to see faces clearly.
  • Will the camera be recording at night?
  • Are you concerned about esthetics of one camera over another? This could eliminate several form factors.
  • Do you forsee a need to expand the camera system down the road? Would assist greatly with VMS set up.
  • Did you want the camera system to send you alerts or video if a certain event occures? Again speaks to needs and expectations.


Defining a client's expectations is very important. All the above suggestions are good. We have no template, but usually begin with a general question to draw out the client, such as "what do you expect to gain from a surveillance system?". Once there is a general understanding of the client's goals, then specific questions follow.