Testing Avigilon's Image Enhancement

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on May 27, 2013

Typically, VMS software displays video 'as is'. While there may be basic brightness, contrast and saturation controls, those require manual adjustment with significant tradeoffs.

By contrast, Avigilon's VMS has an interesting feature called 'Display Adjustments' that automatically adjusts the quality of video displayed. This is what the control looks like:

That noted, even without pulling this up, the software continuously re-adjusts on its own. Additionally, it works on any camera connected to Avigilon's VMS, not just their own.

Since this feature is rare, we wanted to understand what practical benefit it delivered so we did tests with a variety of cameras including budget, low light optimized, WDR, mid range and thermal to better understand when and how much of a difference this makes.

*********, *** ******** ******** ***** '** **'. ***** ***** *** be ***** **********, ******** *** ********** ********, ***** ******* ****** adjustment **** *********** *********.

** ********, ********'* *** *** ** *********** ******* ****** '******* Adjustments' **** ************* ******* *** ******* ** ***** *********. **** is **** *** ******* ***** ****:

**** *****, **** ******* ******* **** **, *** ******** ************ re-adjusts ** *** ***. ************, ** ***** ** *** ****** connected ** ********'* ***, *** **** ***** ***.

***** **** ******* ** ****, ** ****** ** ********** **** practical ******* ** ********* ** ** *** ***** **** * variety ** ******* ********* ******, *** ***** *********, ***, *** range *** ******* ** ****** ********** **** *** *** **** of * ********** **** *****.

[***************]

Key ********

*** ********* ******* ********** ********* ************ ** * **** ******* of *******, ********* ***** ***** **** ***** *.***. **** ** a ****** *** *******.

******** ******** ********:

  • ********'* ***** ********** *** *** ******* ****** ** ******* ***** perform ****** ** *** ***** ******. ** *** *****, ***** adjustment *** *** ********** ******* ********* ** ****** *** ***.
  • **** ********* *******, *** ***** *********** ************* ************ *****, ** some *********, ********** ******** *** ******* ******* ********* ** *** region ***** ****** **.
  • ********** ** **** ****** **** ********* **** ***** *** ***** 'enhanced' ******* (*.*.,**** ***********,***** *********, ***.), ** **** ******** ****** ****** ******, **** **** room *** **********.
  • ** ****** *** ******, ******* *** ******. ****** *** ** slightly ******** ** ***** ** *****, *** ** ***** **** adjustment **** *** **** ** ************, *********** ********* **** *******. 
  • ******* ****** *********** ** *** ******, **** **** **** **********, making **** ******* ****** ** *** ** ****.
  • ***** ******* *******, ** ***** ***** ********** **** **** **** and **** ******* ****** ** ******. *******, ***** *** **** loss ** **** ******, ****** **** ** *** ********* *** goal ** ******* *******.

****: ** ******** *** **** ******'* ***** ******* ** ********'* VMS ****** *** ******'* *** *** ******* ******* (*** *** 'native' *******) *** ***** ***** (**** ** *****). ***** *** camera *** ******* *** ***** ***** ********* *** **** ***** quality, ********'* ********* ********.

Display ********** ** ******

** **** **********, ** **** ******** ** ********'* ***** ********** and *** ******* ** ********* *******. ** ******* **** ******'* histogram, *** *********** *** ******* ** ***** ********** *** ***** and ***** ****** ** ******** ******, ******* ***** *** *** greatest ******.

Follows ******* ****

***** ********** ******* ******* ****, ** **** *** ******* ******* of *** ***** ** ***** **** ******* ** *** *********, with ********** ********* ***********. ****** ***** ** *** ********** *****, this ******* ** ****** ************ ** *** ********* *******. ***** a ****** **** *****-** **, **** ******* ** *** ****** scene, *** ***'* ******* ***** ******* ** ** ****** *** and **********:

*******, ******* ** ** **** *** *****, ** *** *** that *** ***** ** ******** ***********, ******* * **** ******** histogram, ****** *** ***** ****** ******* (*** ********** ****** ************* for *******):

***** *** **** ******** **-****** **** ** **** ******* *** ***** ********** *** ********** (**************** ******).

Low ***** ***********

** ***** ******** *** **** ****** ** *** ***** ******, though ***** ******* **** ********* ** ******* **** ********** *** light ******* (*** ** ****** **** ***/** **** ********* *******). Since ***** *** ***** ******* ******* * **** ****** ****** image, ***** ** **** ******. ****** ****** ***** **** **********, as **** **** *** ** ******* ** ******* ******** ** the *****. **** ********** ************ ***** *******:

 

*** ******* **********, ** **** *** **** ** *******, *** low **** ***** ****, *** *** **** *** ***** *** low ***** ***********. **** *** ***** **** ******, ********'* ***** adjustments ******* * **** ******** *****, **** ******* **** ****** visible. **** *** *** *********** ********* ** ********* ******, ** the ***** ******* **********, *** *** ******* **************. *******, ** is **** ****** *** *********.

 

******* ** *** **** ***** ** ********, ** *** *** it ** ****** ******** ** *** *** *********, ****** **** pronounced *************, ******* ****** ******/*****:

** ********, *** *********** ***** ***** *** *** ***** ****** are *******. *****, *** ***** ** ********, ****** ****** ** reduced. **** *** ** ** ********* *** ** ***** *** camera *** ********* ****, *** ** ******* **** ******* *** identification.

Evenly *** ***********

*****, ** ****** *** ****** **** ****** ** **** *****, between ***-*** **. ******** ******** * ********** ******** *****, ****** this **** *** ********* ** ** ******** ** *******. ********'* gamma *** *****/***** ***** ********** ******* ** ****** ************, ***** obscures ****** ** *** ***** *** *******'* ****.

****** ***** ** *** ****-*** ******, ** **** *****, ***** is ****** ********** ** ***** ** **********, *** ** *** blurring ******* ** *** ****** *****, ********* ** * ****** loss ** ******.

Wide ******* *****

** ****** *** **** * *** *** ******, ** ****, to *** ** ***** ***** ********** ******** ******** **** ******* performance. *** ***** ********** ****** *** * ******* ******* ******* as *** *** ***** ** ******* ***** ********** ** *** camera. **** *** ** **** ** *** ***** ***** ** a **** ***** ******* ********** *** *****, ***** ***** ** be ****** ** ***** ********** ********* ** *** ***, ** noise ******** ** *** *****.

**** * ******* ** ***** ** *** *****, ** *** see **** *** ******** * ****** *********** ** *** ***********. The ***** ** ******* *** ******** ****** ** **** ** lower *****. 

 

Outdoor ***********

** ***** *** ******* ** *** ******* ******* ****** ** see **** ****** *** ***, ** ****.

***** ******

*****, ** ****** **** * ******* ********** ***** ******. ***** was ****** ********** ******* *** ***.

** **** ****** ***** *********** **** ** ***** ******** ********** camera. ****** **** ******** ***** ** ***, *** ** ***** extra ****** *** ********.

Thermal ****** **********

*******, ** ****** *** **** * ******* ****** ** *** if ***** **** *** *********** ** **********. ******, ******** ********* visibilty ** **** ******* ** *** ****, **** ** *** plant ** *** ******, *** ******* *** ***** ** ***** objects ****** ******* *** **********. **** *** ********* ** * positive ****** ** ********* **** ***** ******* *******, ***** **** contrast ** ***. *******, *** ***** *** ******* *** ******* became ****** **** ** ***** ** *** *** ** ************, and *** ***** ** *** **** **** **** *******. **** could **** ** **** ********* ** ******** ******* ** ****** or ***** ** *** *****, *** *******.

Comments (15)

1. Can 'Display Adjustment' be turned off? If it can (or could be), would you recommend only turning it on in low light, based on the testing above?

2. Could a similar feature work with higher compression methods like MPEG or H.264?

3. How does 'Diplay Adjustment' affect images from low-res analog cameras via encoders?

I'll let Ethan answer the specific questions. One thing to clarify - what do you mean by 'higher compression methods'?

Sorry, bad wording.

I meant compression methods that produce smaller file sizes like MPEG, or further, H.264. I am assuming you tested using JPEG2000?

Undisclosed, your answers:

1. It can't directly be turned off (no simple checkbox), but you could set black level all the way down and white level all the way up, which would effectively be the same thing.

2. Cameras tested were 100% H.264, and almost all non-Avigilon. To be particular, the license plate shot was an Avigilon bullet camera. That was the only one.

3. Good question. I haven't directly tested it, but I imagine it may be similar to the last outdoor shot above (cars in the parking lot). That camera was a VGA IP camera. It's not going to give you tons of extra detail (or much at all, really), but it may fix the contrast a bit and increase visibility ever so slightly.

To clarify, most (or all) of these tests were done using H.264 streams including many from non Avigilon cameras. This is independent on JPEG2000, though I know we all love JPEG2000 :)

Would you expect the results of 'Display Adjustment' to be better or worse (or differ at all) using JPEG2000 or MJPEG?

I'd think the results wouldn't differ at all. I just changed a couple cameras to MJPEG, and there was no noticeable difference.

This function is not new and not exclusive to Avigilon. NICE has had this feature available since their NET2.0 release. It is called Visual Parameter Optimizer or VPO and it is included at no charge with the NICE Enterprise Level software.

Thanks for sharing. Here's a video demonstration of NICE's VPO feature and NICE's application note on it.

Btw, we did not claim it was 'exclusive' to Avigilon. The challenge with NICE, in particular, is that it has very limited distribution. Secondarily, Avigilon's option is included even in the lowest tier version.

If anyone has other VMSes to share that have similar features, please share.

Ethan, did you notice any "pumping" of the image brightness/contrast on scenes with varying light levels? It seems to me that was a defect we noticed when we evaluated an Avigilon system last year. Specifically, a camera pointed down at a gaming table rapidly changed overall table brightness as the dealer's hands moved between brighter and darker areas.

I'm assuming all this processing is done client side at the time of viewing? You certainly wouldn't want the VMS enhancing the stream before saving to disk. Better to work with the raw stream every time.

I thought I saw a Genetec guy demoing something similar at ISCW. I was passing by so I could be wrong, but this is what it looked like. He certainly wasn't showing results as dramatic as those pictured here.

This can be done fairly easy on video exported from any VMS with some basic video editing software or a few VLC plugins. The settings being manipulated are fairly basic (which begs the question - Why don't far more VMS's do this?). They have made a clean interface that will certainly reduce the steps needed to pull that off. That the image processing is done on only the zoomed area is genius.

James, yes, it's client side, and does not change / manipulate the original video.

And it does seem something that many other VMSes could and should do.

Id be interested in hearing from current Avigilon dealers if they are happy with the product, support, and feature set. It's difficult to take them seriously because of the false marketing, etc but they seem to be very determined to dominate the market. Anyone have anything to add on this? Sorry if there's already a thread on this. I agree all VMS providers should do this. All. There's too many reasons why over why not.

I think you should take them seriously and believe that most of Avigilon's dealers are happy with them (and this is coming from someone Avigilon dealers accuse of being biased against them). Beyond which, if you are a dealer, the marketing only helps them sell :)

Here's some comments / debates among Avigilon dealers / ex-dealers.

Histogram equilization is a neat idea. Sony uses this as well in some of their cameras. I'd like to see a clipping function added to this so that you know where and when certain areas are washed out and have some control.

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

Axis Perimeter Defender Video Analytics Tested on Jul 12, 2018
Axis 'high security' video analytics offering is Perimeter Defender, OEMed / developed with Digital Barriers. But how good is Perimeter Defender?...
Drops Dahua, Fenner Becomes ISS CMO on Jul 09, 2018
Hired to improve Dahua's miserable marketing just last year, Janet Fenner has quit Dahua, joining VMS manufacturer ISS as Chief Marketing...
UK VSaaS Startup Ocucon on Jul 03, 2018
Decreasing exposure to fraudulent slip-and-fall insurance claims and lawsuits is one of the oldest selling points of video surveillance for retail....
Digital Watchdog Low Cost 4MP Camera Tested on Jul 02, 2018
Based on member 4MP testing requests, we bought and tested Digital Watchdog's low-cost 4MP DWC-MTT4Wi to see how it performs in real world scenes,...
Panoramic Fisheye Camera Shootout - Avigilon, Axis, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Oncam And Vivotek on Jun 27, 2018
IPVM tested Avigilon, Axis, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Oncam And Vivotek 12MP panoramic fisheye cameras head to head, as shown in the test setup...
Snap Surveillance Profile on Jun 26, 2018
There are not a lot of video surveillance companies that survive 9 years with only one feature that makes their product stand out. In the case of...
OpenEye Apex VMS Tested on Jun 26, 2018
OpenEye is a US company, founded nearly 20 years ago. In the past few years, OpenEye has been one of a few VMS providers that have pivoted to being...
Most Wanted Improvements In Manufacturer Technical Support (Statistics) on Jun 21, 2018
5 key areas of improvement and 1 clear wanted support feature were voiced by 140+ integrator responses to: What improvement in manufacturer...
Mobotix Releases 'Move' Into 21st Century on Jun 20, 2018
For years, Mobotix stood resolutely against, well, every other manufacturer, selling it as a virtue: MOBOTIX equipment is designed with no...
Axis Guardian - Cloud VMS And Alarm Monitoring - Released on Jun 19, 2018
Axis has struggled to deliver a cloud-based managed service video platform. Video service providers have utilized AVHS for over a decade, and have...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Amazon Ring Alarm System Tested on Jul 16, 2018
Amazon Ring is going to hurt traditional dealers, and especially ADT, new IPVM test results of Ring's Alarm system underscore. IPVM found that...
Hikvision Wins Chinese Government Forced Facial Recognition Project Across 967 Mosques on Jul 16, 2018
Hikvision has won a Chinese government tender which requires that facial recognition cameras be set up at the entrance of every single mosque...
Installing Dome Cameras Indoors Guide on Jul 16, 2018
IPVM is producing the definitive series on installing surveillance cameras. This entry covers one of the most common scenarios - installing dome...
Security Sales Course Summer 2018 on Jul 13, 2018
Based on member's interest, IPVM is offering a security sales course this summer. Register Now - IPVM Security Sales Course Summer 2018 This...
US Tariffs Hit China Video Surveillance on Jul 13, 2018
Chinese video surveillance products avoided tariffs for the first two rounds. Now, in the third round, many video surveillance products will be...
Last Chance - July 2018 IP Networking Course on Jul 12, 2018
Registration ends today, Thursday. Register now. This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance...
4 Most Difficult Camera Installs (Statistics) on Jul 12, 2018
Heavy housings, cumbersome brackets, heavy ladders required, and tricky field of view requirements will cause difficulties no matter the camera...
Axis Perimeter Defender Video Analytics Tested on Jul 12, 2018
Axis 'high security' video analytics offering is Perimeter Defender, OEMed / developed with Digital Barriers. But how good is Perimeter Defender?...
Hikvision Fights Ban - Claims 'Red Scare', Hires 14 Term Ex-Congressman on Jul 11, 2018
Hikvision is fighting back against the House Bill Ban of their products. Hikvision has hired one of the biggest lobbying firms, led by a 14 term...
Arecont Acquisition By Costar on Jul 11, 2018
Arecont Vision acquisition by Costar Technologies has been approved by the court, concluding the bankruptcy process triggered by Arecont's...

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