Ross, I've never done a night club application but we did do a test with a strobe light simulating a common night club scene. see below:
Based on that, I'd recommend one of Axis integrated IR models. I still don't know how it will work but my guess is that IR will help both with the lack of lighting and the strobe flashes.
I would never have thought IR would help that much. I will look into that.
My brothers used to own a very large nightclub and I installed some 32 cameras there, all analog though. The IR cameras I've tried were very powerful (84 LED's at 30m), so much so that the scene was foggy. It was just like looking at moving white ghosts. Well, they utilized smoke machines to fill the place to give the lighting system more glaring effect, which didn't help at all.
Anyhow, inside I placed the cameras mostly at the bars where crimes were likely to occur, sneaking up on the bartenders. Nothing really happened on the dance floor per se. I've installed cameras in men's room (where a lot of drug deals occurred), outdoor walk paths (where a murder occured) and parking lots, all using low light analog cameras. In the lobby, there four cameras, one to see people coming out (and picking up their coats at the checkroom counter), one coming in by the ticket verification bouncer, one at the metal detector frame (where patrons passed through), and one to record people showing off their ID card through a dedicated slot within a wall frame. There were a total of three PTZ cameras inside and out.
Obviously, today I'd go with MP cameras, especially for the vast parking lots, instead of using PTZ cameras that were kind of useless before no one operated them throughout the night.
We are doing enviormental housing 'just in case'. :)
I started testing a variety of cameras in a nightclub application almost two years ago. Each bar is different in that the layout, lighting, and level of detail required is unique for each area. Added to these challanges is a fog machine and strobe lighting effect being used on the dancefloor. As well as this, there is a requirement to provide very high quality image capture at the entry / exit locations, preferably using passive facial recognition.
Under law (in Australia), it is the responsibility of the venue operators to ensure that the images captured and the quality thereof, is suitable to be used in any possible court proceedings that may arise out of an incident that occurs inside or outside a venue. It is for this reason, (along with the ongoing legislative changes in this area), that is making this a drawn out process.
A final decision has not been made regarding which cameras to use on a permanent basis for each area, but I thought it may be of interest to point out that one of the best dance floor images we have encountered to date, was the result of trying a low cost $60 camera that came with a 1/3" Sony Colour CCD sensor and a standard F3.6mm lens. Although the IR was necessary, it did of course effect the colour of clothing on those dancing and therefore not suitable for evidenciary purposes.
Whilst the best image to date came from one in the Mobotix M12D range, the price difference was 20 fold, and subsequently ruled out.
With technology in a constant state of change and dare I say "improvement", the final solution may present itself to us soon. However, I, like Ross, welcome any suggestions regarding cameras that anyone cares to share.
I am an LEO in London UK and tasked with assessing nightclub CCTV. In my experience IR is the only option in nightclubs, very low light cameras can't cope with sudden fluctuations between semi darkness/strobe/neon. When low light cameras do produce colour images in dancefloor areas, the quality is poor. Monochrome/black and white with IR is far better for produing crisp image quality in dark dance floor areas and then have colour in the premises reception and external areas, where the suspect facial image can be captured entering the premises. I have started to see megapixel cameras being trialled in nightclubs to cover open dance floor areas, coupled with IR illuminators. I've been very impressed with the extra field of view and virtual zoom these cameras provide. I am now recommending premises operators consider installing these cameras and I believe that other operators will follow suit.
IPVMU Certified | 02/09/14 11:16pm
I would set IR cameras facing lights stobes or dancing lights to manually stay in IR & B/W mode. Too much light variation will cause it to switch modes fruitlessly.