Testing Camera Height vs Image Quality

Author: Derek Ward, Published on Sep 27, 2013

A critical debate amongst surveillance professionals is how high should cameras be mounted. The higher the camera is mounted, the less likely it is to be vandalized, stolen or obstructed. But the higher it is mounted, the more likely image quality suffers as the angle of incident steepens (as shown to the right).

The recommendations vary tremendously. Many say never to mount cameras less than 12 to 14' off the ground (4+ meters). Others say, the camera needs to be as close to human height as possible to get full facial details.

The Test

In this report, we put these two competing positions to the test with a series of experiments.

We mounted a camera to an extended pole on our test rig, allowing us to adjust camera height from 17' to 5', as shown below:

We then positioned a subject at short, mid, and long ranges, in order to see the difference mounting height and resulting angle of incidence made in details captured.

Moreover, we did tests with a subject looking straight ahead as well as walking with their head tilted down, since many people naturally do so, or worse, try to avoid their face being captured on camera.

Questions Answered

The report answers the following questions:

  • For a subject 6', 24' and 48' from a camera, what is the maximum height a camera can be mounted while delivering clear facial details?
  • How much of a practical difference does a person looking downward have in selecting optimal camera height?
  • What is the maximum downtilt of a camera that allows a complete face to be captured?
  • What does a subject look like from different camera heights at the same position?

* ******** ****** ******* ************ ****************** **** ****** ******* ** *******. *** ****** *** ****** is *******, *** **** ****** ** ** ** ** **********,******** **********. *** *** ****** ** ** *******, *** **** likely ***** ******* ******* ** *** ***** ** ******** ******** (as ***** ** *** *****).

*** *************** **** ************. **** *** ***** ** ***** ******* less **** ** ** **' *** *** ****** (*+ ******). Others ***, *** ****** ***** ** ** ** ***** ** human ****** ** ******** ** *** **** ****** *******.

The ****

** **** ******, ** *** ***** *** ********* ********* ** the **** **** * ****** ** ***********.

** ******* * ****** ** ** ******** **** ** *** test ***, ******** ** ** ****** ****** ****** **** **' to *', ** ***** *****:

** **** ********** * ******* ** *****, ***, *** **** ranges, ** ***** ** *** *** ********** ******** ****** *** resulting***** ** ********* **** ** ******* ********.

********, ** *** ***** **** * ******* ******* ******** ***** as **** ** ******* **** ***** **** ****** ****, ***** many ****** ********* ** **, ** *****, *** ** ***** their **** ***** ******** ** ******.

Questions ********

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

  • *** * ******* *', **' *** **' **** * ******, what ** *** ******* ****** * ****** *** ** ******* while ********** ***** ****** *******?
  • *** **** ** * ********* ********** **** * ****** ******* downward **** ** ********* ******* ****** ******?
  • **** ** *** ***************** * ****** **** ****** * ******** ****** **********?
  • **** **** * ******* **** **** **** ********* ****** ******* at *** **** ********?

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

Key ********

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

  • ~**° ** *** ******* ***** ** ********* ***** ****** ** used ** ******* ****** *******
  • ** ***** ******, ****** ******** ****** ** *******. **** ******* at *-*', ******* ***** ** ******* ********* ****** ****** ** close ******** ******* ********, *** ** *** ********* ***** ** incidence. ***** ****, *** ***** ** ********, **** *** ****** capturing *** **** ** *****.
  • *********** * ******* **-**° **** **** ** * ******* ******, cameras ****** ** ******* **** ***** ** **** **** *' high *** * **** **** *******.
  • **** * **-**° **** ** ****** **** ******** *** ****** to ** ******* *'-*' ***** ** *** *** **** ****** details ** * ***** **** ******* ******** **** **** **** their **** ********.
  • ** ****** ******, ******** ******'* ******* *** ******* ********. ** 24' **** *** ******, ***** *** **** ****** ********** ** image ******* *** ** ***** ** *********, **** ** ********* negative ******.
  • ** **** ******, ********* ******** ****** *** ****** ******, ** the ********** ** ****** ***** ** *******.

**** ***** ********** ***** *** *********** ** * **** **** door ******** ********:

***************

****** ******** ****** ********* **** ******* ****** ** ******* "*** of *****" ** *******, ** ******* **** **** ***** ** at ***** ******, **** ******** **** ** ** **** ********* to ******* *********, ******* *** ********** ******* ********* *********** ****** details ** ***. ******* ****** ** ******* ** *** ** is ********* ** ***** ****.

*** ****** ********* ** ******, ******** ****** *** ****** ******, and ******* *** ** ******* ****** ******* ********* *** *******.

Recommended ******* ******** ******

***** ** *** ***** ***** ****, ~**° ** *** ******* angle ** ********* ***** ****** ** **** ** ******* ****** details. ***** ****, ****** ******* *** ****, **** **** *** top ** *** **** ***** ********.

***** **** ******** *****, *** ********* ***** ***** *** ******* mounting ******* *********** ** ************* ******* ** * *' **** ****** ** ******* *********. Note **** ****** ****** ****** ** *** ***** ** * maximum *****. ******* *** ** ******* ***** ** ****. **** note **** *** ************* ** * ***** **** ** ****** head ************* ******* *** ******* ****** ******. ** ********* *** use ** * ****** ****** **** ** ***** *** **** height ** **** **** *** ****** ** *** ****** ** capture **** ****** ******* ** ** ****** **** **** ****** down.

** *********** *** * ******* ******, *** ******** * *** number ***** (~*' *** *** ******), ***** ****** ******** *** difference **** *** ******* ****** ****** ** *** ***** *****. The **** ** **** ** ****** *******; ****** *** *** difference.

**** **** **** ***** ****** ** **** ** * ******** point ****, ** ** **** *** ******** ***** ******* ***** affect ***** *******, **** ** ********, **********, *** ***********, ***.

Angle ** *********

****** ****** ** ** **** *******, ***** ** ********* ****** be ******* *********. ** ** ** ********* ****** **** ******* the ******* ** ********* ****** ******* *** ** ****** ********* on *** ****** ********, ****** *** ****** ******. ** ************ of ***** ** ********* ** ***** *****. **** *** ***** of ********* ** *****, *** ******* *** **** **********. ** the ***** ******, **** ****** **** ********* ** ***.

Close ***** (****** ** *')

** ***** ******, *' **** **** *** ****** ** *** case, *** ****** ****** *** *** **** ******** **********. *** facial ******* ** *** ******, *** ** ******* ******** *****, were ******* ******* **** *** ****** *** ******* ** * lower ********, **** *** ******* **** ****** ** *' ** about *'-*' ****. **** *** ****** *** ***** ** ** 10'-11' ****, *** ****** ******* ****** ********* ** *********** *** to ********* ***** ** *********. ******* ***** **** ******, **** the *** ** ******'* **** *** *******, **** ** ****** recognition ***********.

** ****** ******* *** *********** *** ** ******* ****** ** incidence, *** **** ********* *****.

* ****** ******** ****** *** ****** *********** ** **** ********* on *** **** ********* ** *** ******. **** ****** *** walking, **** ********* **** ** **** ***** **** *********, ********* with ** ***** ** ****** **-**°, ******* ** ******* ********. Even **** ***** **** *** * *********** ****** ** *** angle ** *********, ********** ** ***** ******.

** ****** **** ****** **** * ******* ********, *** **** object ******* *** **** ******** ****. **** ****, ****** ** incidence **** ** **** ****** *** *** **** ******** ******.

**** *** *** ******* ** ******* ******** ******* *** ** comparison **** *** ****** ******* ******** *****.

**** *** ****** **** ** ******** *********, ****** ******* ******* to ******** **** ***** *** ******* ******** ****** ** *'. These ******* **** **** **** * **-**° **** ** ****** head ******** *** ****** ** ** ******* *'-*' *****. **** the *** ** ******'* **** *** ******* *** **** ****, when *** ****** *** ******* ** *' ** ******.

***** ** * *' ******, *' ****, ** *** ********* the ***** ** ********** *** ******* ****** *** ****** **** directions, ** *******:

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

  • *** * ****** ****** ** *', *** ***** ** ********* is *° (****** *********, **** ****** *******).
  • *** * ****** ****** ** ~*'-*', *** ***** ** ********* is ****** **°. (*** ****** ***** ***** ****** ******* *** still *******, *.*. ******** *****).
  • *** ****** ****** ** **', *** ***** ** ********* ** ~35°. (***** ******** *****, **** *** *** **** ** *** but **** *** ** ****** ****).
  • *** * ****** ****** ** **', *** ***** ** ********* is ****** **°. (**** **** *****, **** *** ** ******'* head ** *******).

***** *** ****** ** **** ***** ** *** ******, *** angle ** ********* ** **** ********* ** *** ****** ******. The ***** ** ****** ******* ****** ********* ** ***** **°, with * ****** ********* **** *' ** **'. *** ******** camera ******, ** *** ******* ******** ****** **** *** ******* facial *******, *** ******** ** ** ****** *'-*' *** **** case.

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

  • *** * ****** ****** ** *', *** ***** ** ********* is ****** **° (***** *** ******** *****, **** ******* *** be ********).
  • *** * ****** ****** ** *', *** ***** ** ********* is ****** **° (******** ***** *** ******** *****, **** ******* start ** ********).
  • *** * ****** ****** ** ~*'-*', *** ***** ** ********* is ****** **°. (***** ******** *****, **** ****** *******).
  • *** ****** ****** ** **' *** ******, *** ***** ** incidence ** ~**° *** ******. (**** **** *****, ** ****** details ** ***).

****** ******** **** ** *** ****** **** ********* *** ***** of *********. ***** *** ******* **** ****** ** *', ****** details ******* ** ** ****.

Mid-Range (****** ** **')

** **', ******** ****** *** * **** **** ********** ******. Only ***** * ******** ****** ** ****** **'-**', *** ***** of ********* ****** *** ******** ***** ** **°. *******, **** at *** ******* ****** ** **', *** ***** *** ***** not ****** **** **°. *** ***** ******* ******** *** ****** from ***** ********* ******** *******.

*** ********* ********* ***** ***** *********** ** *** ****** ***** down **** *' ** **':

*** ***** ** ********* ****** **** *° ** *' ** about **° ** **' ****** ******. ***** *** ****** *** much ******* **** ***** ** *** ***** *****, ***** ******* does *** ****** ** *************.

Far *****

** **', *** ****** ** ******** ****** *** *******. *** tested ****** ******* ********* ****** *** **** *****, **** ****** details ******** *********. *** ******* ***** ** ********* ** **' high *** **** **°, ***** ***** *** ******** *****. ******* delivered ** **** **** *** ******* *** ** **** ***** PPF **** ** ***** ******, *** ******** *****.

**** ********* ***** *** ********** ** ******* ** *** ****** is ***** **** *' ** **':

*** ******* ***** ** ********* ******** ** **' ** ****** only **°, ***** ** ** ********** ** *** ***** *** mounting ****** ******* *** ***** ******* *** ******* *******.

Walk ****

** **** * ******* **** ***** ********, ** *** ** the ****** **** ** ******** **** *** ******** *** ******* walking **, ****** ************* ** *** ******. *** ***** ***** the ********** ** ******* ******** ** ******* *******, **** *** subject's **** ****** ******** ****. ** ** ***** ** ***** tests, ****** ******* *** ************* **** **** ****** ******* ***** 6'-7'.

***** *********** ***** ** **** ********** *** *********** *** **********.

Comments (12)

* **** *** **** ** *** ****** ****** ********* ** make *** ******* * *** ****** ** ****, ***** * have ** ********** *********** *** *********. ** ***** ** **** appreciates ** **** ********* (********/******) ** ****** ********.

*'** **** ************* ** *** *********.

*** ******! *********** * ****! **** ***** ** **** *****, ***.

****** *** *** ******* ****. *** ****** * *** ****** Strip ****** ***** ** ******** ** ******* *** ***** ** camera ******. ***** ** ** ******** *** ******** ************, ,****** capturing ****** ****** ** * **** ****, ** ***** ** something *********** *** *** ** ******.

*******, ***, ** **** * ****** ****** **** **************** * ***** ********* **** ******* / ****** *** ******* face *****.

***** ****** ** ******. ***** * **** ** * ***** mounting ******, ** ******* * ******* ** **** ** ******** people *** ** *** *****. *** **** ***** *** **** a ****** ****** *** * ****'* **** ** *** ***** of ******** ****** ******** *** *****. * ***'* ** ***** 7 **** ** ** ******** ******* ****** * * **** person ******** *** ****. * ***** ****** * **** *** it ** *** ********* ** ********* ***** **** ** ** video ******** ******** ******. **** ***** ** ** ***** *** others ** ****.

****, ** *** **** ******** ****** **** ** **** ** multiple ****** *** ***** *** *****? * ******* *** **** the *****, *.*., * *'*" ****** ******** * *'*" ****** coming ****** ****? ***?

** *** **** **** ** **** ****** /********** ****.

**** *

*** *** ******, *** ** ***'* *********** *** ******* ** the *****, ** ******* ***** **** *** ** ** *** configuration *** *** *** ****** ******** *******, ***** ***** ***** are ******** ********* *** ***** *** **** ** *.

**** * ******** ******! * ** * *** *********** ******* and * ***** **** **** ***** ***** **** **** **** of ********* ****** ****** *) ********** ***** *** ******* ** B) ****** ***** ***** ** ****** "******** *******" ** ******* cameras *** ****. ***** ** ******* ***** *******!

***** ******* *** **** ** ** ****** ****** *******!

**** ** * **** **** *** ******* *********** ********** *** benefit/drawback ** *** ******* ********* ******.

**** ****** ** "**** **" **** "**** **."

*** ***** ***** ***** ******* *** ****** **** ** ****** that *** **** ** **** **** ***** ***** ****** ** obtaining **** ** ******. *** ***** **** **** ********* (*******) in ****** ********* **** *** ******'* ***** ** *** ****** from * *** ** ** * ****** *****...** ******* ******'* from ***** **********. ** *** ******** ***** **** ********* *** reading ******* ****** ** ****'* **** ****** *** ** ** the ****.

****** *****

*** **** *** *******, * *** ***** ******* **** ******* and ********,*** *** *** ***** *** *** **** ****, **** explanations, **** *** ******** *** ** ******* **** **** ** easy ** ********** **** ** ***** ** ****** * ******** CCTV ******, ***** ** * *** **** ** ** *** at *** *** ** *** *** ** **** **** *** your *********** *********. * **** ******** *** ******** *** *** API *** *** ***** *** * *** ******** **** *** refer ** *** ***** **** ******** ********* ***** "***********" ******* diferent **** ******/****/*********/**** *******. *** **** * ************ ** *** of **** ********** ** ***** * *** *****/**** *** *** results ***** ********* *** ********* **********. * ***** *** ***********/********* should *** "*******" **** ******/**** ********* ****** **** ***** **** INTEGRATIONS.

******,

* **** * ** **** ********** ** **** ******* ****, but **** *** **** * ***** ** **** ***********. ********* researching ******* ** ******* ******* ** ** ** ** * drive ****** *** *******.

*** **** ** ******* * *******; *** *** ******** *** one *** ***** ***.

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