What Is The Recommended Minimum Parking Lot Lighting For Video Surveillance?

What is the recommended minimum parking lot lighting for video surveillance?

Surveillance of what?

General activity?

Peoples faces?

Vehicle identification?

In color?

High frame rate?

Surveillance of what? General Staff & Vehicle Activity
General activity? Yes
Peoples faces? Yes
Vehicle identification? Yes
In color? Color by Day B&W by night
High frame rate? No

As Matt points out, it can/will vary with the camera you use. My personal experience would say you want about 8lux of general illumination at a minimum if you want to get good detail across the scene. You'd also want to pay attention to the evenness of the lighting, as you may find you run into problems if you have 8 lux of general illumination across the parking lot, but "bright spots" of 12 or 14 lux under lot lights. Again, this will depend on the cameras and on the overall scene.

If you weren't looking for facial detail I'd say you could probably get by with 3-4 lux of general illumination.

Faces will be especially tricky, as your light is typically all overhead and fairly sharp, meaning deep shadows on faces, or even completely dark faces if someone is wearing a hat of almost any kind.

Agreed, which is why I'm suggesting that he'd want an "unusually high" level of 8 lux, and to concentrate on even-ness of the lighting.

Depending on the camera and ppf, you may even need to have enough light for the camera to operate in color mode, to eliminate the softening effect you sometimes get from a camera in B/W mode where the ambient IR light causes a slightly out of focus image.

...the softening effect you sometimes get from a camera in B/W mode where the ambient IR light causes a slightly out of focus image.

Cameras that can auto-refocus on day/night switchover can help somewhat with this.

If this is new construction, the lights will likely be LED and have just a small fraction of the IR radiation that incandescents do. A lot of legacy parking lot lighting is also relatively low IR output, like sodium and metal halide and other gas discharge lighting.

In those cases there should be less of out of focus condition.

In any event, if the case is that the lighting is LED and no IR illumination is to be used, I'm not sure what the advantage of switching to b+w mode would be.

None I suppose, assuming you use cameras with integrated IR that covers their FOV.

In addition to all of Brian's considerations, there's also the factor of what camera(s) you'll be using. The one camera I miss since going all-IP is the CNB "Mona Lisa" line, because they had by far the best low-light performance I've ever seen; I always wished they would apply that technology to megapixel cameras. The VCM-24VFs that we used extensively give amazing (SD) pictures with very little light, and a parking lot could get away with very little lighting when covered by those.

On the other end of the scale are some of the cheap Chinese cameras I use now - great picture with good lighting... and if you wanted to use them in a parking lot you'd better light that thing up like a baseball stadium.

Here is a recent parking lot. The red box is where the entry gate is for the fence. The LED light is on the Pole, with an extension arm, providing these light levels. Check with local requirements, as when you go to put up lighting on lots, you may have to meet code, else no lights might be grandfathered in... A lot of light sites will have planning tools to estimate value. This was done with an autocad plug-in....

We get very good camera footage with Avigilon cameras...


Are these measured values or calculated?

Engineered values, and post install confirmation samples were all exceeded..


So if an Avigilon camera specifies a minimum lux level of .1 it should get an image anywhere in the lot?

I believe I have footage and I can extract / post some night images.

"So if an Avigilon camera specifies a minimum lux level of .1 it should get an image anywhere in the lot?"

That lot is 1 lux minimum as it is listed in footcandles (i.e. 0.1 footcandle ~ 1 lux).

And it does quite nicely...

Screen grab, Avigilon 5mpH3D1-Dome (not new C series sensor) 84 degree Widest view. Note the distance markers on pavement for post install certs...


Seems plenty bright!

Do you happen to know the lumen output of the luminaire, as well as the beam spread angle? Was the reflectivity of the surface input into to the auto cad auto calc?

I've been evaluating a couple of lighting coverage simulators for a friend and would like to try and compare to your real world case...

Is the camera on the pole with the LED light source?

Are those values in foot candle or lux? It strikes me that it is in foot candles as 6 lux right under the light would be very low.


foot candles is the norm for luminaire planning (state-side)

convert the 5.7fc below the light using

http://www.rapidtables.com/calc/light/fc-to-lux-calculator.htm to lux and you get


foot candles is the norm for luminaire planning (state-side).

Hawaii as well, apparently...

Also have a peak at these lighting resources.



The previous parking plan is in foot candles, convert using