Examining the CCTV Footage from the Marriott Bombing

Author: John Honovich, Published on Sep 21, 2008

Below is a recording of the actual CCTV footage from the Marriott bombed in Pakistan. It looks like it's from a DVR, recording about 5-8fps at CIF or 2CIF. This is solid performance for a system that was likely installed in the last few years. The question is: could we improve this with today's technologies? Watch the video and I will comment below.

The camera is well positioned, looking straight ahead and at a minimal vertical angle.  The view would be moderately better if the camera was lowered but it is likely that logistical issues prevented this.

The video does clearly show the movement of people and cars.  The challenge is that the field of view is over 40 feet wide.  It's essentially impossible to tell the details of the terrorists, the truck or the explosion.

Megapixel Cameras: Clearly, a megapixel camera would sufficiently improve the evidentiary value of the camera.  Assuming this camera was recording at 320 x 240, less than 10 pixels are available per foot.  Increasing the resolution of this camera to 2 megapixel (1600 x 1200) would would provide a 500% increase in pixels per foot, providing detailed evidence of the terrorist and the truck.

Pixels per foot is a good metric to use in designing CCTV systems. For more, review our report on specifying quality video surveillance using Pixel Per Foot metrics.

A megapixel camera will likely cost $500 to $1000 more than an analog camera plus an extra $1000 for storage.  Nonetheless, in high security cameras and for a large critical choke point, this should generally be a worthwhile investment.

Video Management: I do not know what video management Marriott is using but I assume it's a DVR.  Hotels often use major American DVRs like Intellex.  Assuming this is the case, adding megapixel cameras will be a problem.  Intellex and other mainstream DVRs offer very limited upgrade support to megapixel cameras.  You will have to change video management systems or record the megapixel camera on a separate PC (which is unattractive).  For pointers on such migrations, read my overview on migrating from analog to IP video.

Video Analytics: Analytics probably would not have made a difference given that this was a manned post.  Analytics would not have provided any earlier detection as the gate was the key barrier employed.

All in all, Marriott's CCTV system looked solid.  I think megapixel cameras could help better document and improve the investigation but I do not see any video surveillance tools that could have prevented this.


Most Recent Industry Reports

Genetec Takes Aim At 'Untrustworthy' 'Foreign Government-Owned Vendors' on Sep 24, 2018
Genetec is taking aim at 'untrustworthy' 'foreign government-owned vendors'. This is not a new theme for Genetec as nearly 2 years ago, Genetec...
4MP Camera Shootout - Axis, Dahua, DW, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Sep 24, 2018
4MP usage continues to climb, especially for low cost fixed lens models. To see who was best, we bought and tested seven 4MP models from Axis,...
Alexa Guard Expands Amazon's Security Offerings, Boosts ADT's Stock on Sep 21, 2018
Amazon is expanding their security offerings yet again, this time with Alexa Guard that delivers security audio analytics and a virtual "Fake...
UTC, Owner of Lenel, Acquires S2 on Sep 20, 2018
UTC now owns two of the biggest access control providers, one of integrator's most hated access control platforms, Lenel, and one of their...
BluePoint Aims To Bring Life-Safety Mind-Set To Police Pull Stations on Sep 20, 2018
Fire alarm pull stations are commonplace but police ones are not. A self-funded startup, BluePoint Alert Solutions is aiming to make police pull...
SIA Plays Dumb On OEMs And Hikua Ban on Sep 20, 2018
OEMs widely pretend to be 'manufacturers', deceiving their customers and putting them at risk for cybersecurity attacks and, soon, violation of US...
Axis Vs. Hikvision IR PTZ Shootout on Sep 20, 2018
Hikvision has their high-end dual-sensor DarkfighterX. Axis has their high-end concealed IR Q6125-LE. Which is better? We bought both and tested...
Avigilon Announces AI-Powered H5 Camera Development on Sep 19, 2018
Avigilon will be showcasing "next-generation AI" at next week's ASIS GSX. In an atypical move, the company is not actually releasing these...
Favorite Request-to-Exit (RTE) Manufacturers 2018 on Sep 19, 2018
Request To Exit devices like motion sensors and lock releasing push-buttons are a part of almost every access install, but who makes the equipment...
25% China Tariffs Finalized For 2019, 10% Start Now, Includes Select Video Surveillance on Sep 18, 2018
A surprise move: In July, when the most recent tariff round was first announced, the tariffs were only scheduled for 10%. However, now, the US...

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