Armored Car Robbery Video Examined

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Jan 25, 2012

Continuing our analysis of real-world surveillance video, in this update, we look at video released after a the attempted robbery of an armored truck driver as he serviced an ATM. Very little footage of the robber was shown (presumably because it wasn't captured), and even less was usable. We explain why and how to prevent this in your deployments.

The Video

Here's the video:

The main issue with this surveillance footage is camera positioning, some of which may be remedied.

Camera Positioning Issues

First and foremost is the positioning and aiming of the first camera in the video. This camera is aimed with a severe downtilt, capturing everything but the suspect's face as he passes. We're even curious what the intended purpose of this camera is. It's too low and tightly zoomed to capture general activity of the parking spaces. It's likely too sharp of an angle to capture identification of people walking buy on the brick path seen in the video, seen here. This camera's downtilt is probably between 50-60 degrees, while a maximum of 30 degrees is generally recommended.

Whether this angle is intentional or not is another question. The camera may have been aimed higher and drifted over time. Regular maintenance could have prevented this issue if that were the case.

In the case of the second camera shown in the video, while increased resolution could have provided a better chance of capturing identifying details, it's doubtful that any resolution would have had a 100% chance of capture from this position.

Based on this image, we estimate that this camera is providing about 48 pixels per foot. The video shows about 28 pixels across the subject's head, with the average human head being 6-8" wide (28 pixels/7" = 4 pixels per inch = 48 PPF). This resolution is on the low side for identification, though as we found in our PPF testing, at ~50 PPF, identification of a known subject is possible, making it possible that a member of the public who knew the suspect could identify him from this video.

This video is a perfect example of the camera location dilemma. Mounting cameras closer to eye level would absolutely provide better details in cases such as this, as the camera's view is less likely to be blocked by the subject's hat or hoodie. However, this places the camera within reach of vandals, and greatly reduces its ability to provide an overview of a scene, as nearer objects obscure farther ones, an issue made worse in busy public spaces.

Understanding Camera Purpose

Identification of this subject aside, we have trouble seeing the value of the first camera in this video even for everyday use by this business. However, we do not believe that camera #2 is necessarily a poor choice. It's likely that this camera was installed for the purpose it serves based on its FOV: not identification, but general monitoring of the outdoor seating area, which it accomplishes. Chances are this camera is used in conjunction with interior cameras with smaller FOVs at this business, to provide a better overall situational awareness of subjects' routes into and out of the building. While it's easy to say the camera is not sufficient, it should be understood that the level of identification sought in this case was likely not what it was designed for.

Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on PPF

Camera Course Winter 2017 on Jan 05, 2017
Learn video surveillance and get certified. IPVM provides live online classes, recorded videos, personal help, cutting edge education and...
Avigilon Pro 4K Camera Tested on Jan 03, 2017
Avigilon is best known for their large sensor, high megapixel cameras. But with new offerings from Sony and soon Axis, the questions is how well...
The PPF / PPM Video Surveillance Guide on Dec 23, 2016
Pixels per foot / Pixels per meter is the most fundamental and valuable, though imperfect, metric for specifying video surveillance image...
Hanwha Wisenet P 4K Bullet Tested on Nov 21, 2016
Hanwha Techwin (formerly Samsung) continues their push into H.265 cameras, now with the high-end P series, including 4K resolution and smart...
Samsung Wisenet Q 4MP Tested on Nov 03, 2016
The 4MP trend continues, now with Hanwha Techwin / Samsung in their latest Wisenet Q series. We bought one of these models, the QNV-7080R, to see...
Sony 35mm Super Low Light Camera Tested on Oct 31, 2016
Sony is making a big push for their SNCVB770 camera, touting its low light capabilities that they claim can deliver true color in pitch black...
Bosch First Starlight 1080p Camera Tested on Oct 13, 2016
Bosch has released their first 'Starlight' 1080p camera, the Flexidome IP starlight 7000 VR. We tested this new dome against competitive super low...
PTZ Camera Guide 2016 on Sep 15, 2016
Pan/Tilt/Zoom cameras remain critical parts of many surveillance systems, especially in large security operations. Because of this it is important...
Hikvision 4K Camera Tested on Sep 09, 2016
Hikvision is the most common choice for low price entry level products but they are also competing with low light models, smart CODECs, WDR...
Panoramic Camera (Fisheye / Multi-Imager) Guide on Aug 31, 2016
Panoramic cameras, including fisheyes and multi-imagers, have become increasingly widespread, with most manufacturers offering fisheyes and an...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Top ISC West 2017 Booth Trends on Jan 16, 2017
There are significant moves among many major manufacturers on the ISC West show floor, and very few prime spaces left unoccupied. In this report we...
Genetec Favorability Results on Jan 16, 2017
In the race to the bottom and flight to 'solutions', Genetec has taken a contrary path. The company remains independent, focusing up market,...
Free VMS Software Directory on Jan 13, 2017
Many Video Management Software (VMS) providers offer free versions, either open source, for a limited number of cameras or for a limited amount of...
Milestone Essential Subscription Removed on Jan 12, 2017
Subscriptions may be the future for Milestone and VMSes but not right now. Responding to negative feedback, Milestone has removed subscriptions...
Alarm Reporting Formats Overview on Jan 12, 2017
Alarm reporting formats are methods for communicating complicated information quickly, using plain old telephone service. It is still the main...
Amazon Sales of Hikvision China Cameras on Jan 12, 2017
Hikvision has become widely available in the US, including on popular retail outlets like Amazon, with over 2,600 results: 4MP Hikvision outdoor...
Last Day IP Networking Course January 2017 on Jan 12, 2017
This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance professionals plus it includes live training, personal help and...
ONVIF Favorability Results on Jan 11, 2017
ONVIF has been one of the most debated aspects of the video surveillance industry. On the one hand, its aim to increase interoperability has been...
Honeywell Ademco Vista Intrusion System Tested on Jan 11, 2017
One of the biggest brands in security holds one of the most common intrusion lines. We bought and tested a Honeywell Vista 15P intrusion...
ADI Battles Manufacturer Partners on Jan 11, 2017
ADI is battling their manufacturer partners, building up their own competitive house brand W-Box, while manufacturers still fund ADI's business...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact