Wall Camera Aims To Eliminate Bad Face Shots

By: John Grocke, Published on Aug 22, 2013

Identifying individuals entering an area or building with an overhead or ceiling mount camera is always a challenge as the camera's steep down-tilt makes it literally poorly positioned to capture faces, especially when the person is wearing a hat or simply looking down. One camera manufacturer, Clinton Electronics, claims to solve this problem with their new Wall Camera. In this note, we examine this camera's pros and cons, comparing to competitors.

Clinton CE-WC30 Wall Camera

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Comments (24)

I am a big fan of any product that makes it easier to mount cameras lower. The obsession with preventing cameras from being vandalized is ridiculously counter-productive. Instead of a certain percentage of cameras being vandalized every so often, all cameras mounted 12, 15 feet high are assured of getting significantly poorer quality face shots.

It would be nice to have someone do a MP IP equivalent to this.

p.s. - see our 'In-Your-Face Bank Surveillance' discussion for more on lower mounted cameras.

I am in complete agreement with John with regards to the obsession that system designers seem to have with making cameras "vandal proof" and completely compromising the efficacy of placing the camera there in the first place.

It's nice to see a manufacturer considering specific applications such as this as sometimes camera selection is a compromise of what is available and too often we are trying to make a squre peg fit a round hole.

We've been using the GE/GBC/Kalatel IW-series in-wall cameras for years, though they are difficult to obtain now. They had nice wide angle lens options (2.5mm) that worked well for showing who was at a door.

Ganz makes the GBK-36W in-wall camera but the 3.6mm lens it comes standard with is too narrow for our applications. On the plus side, it comes with three different color plates: white, silver and ivory and has two camera options: a 1/3" 600TVL Sony SuperHAD II and a 690TVL Pixim Seawolf. Ganz also claims to offer lens options.

Thanks for the tip on the Ganz Carl, we will append it to the article.

Question for the group (fair warning, I am an RSM for ACTi); what MP range/format would be preferred for this application? 720P, 1080P or higher? Narrow field of view, or fisheye? My concept for this form factor is for use with Access Control (maybe above a reader). I am thinking 720P and 1080P models would be sufficient, but would like to hear opinions.

I would LOVE a camera like that for above a reader Dennis. 1080P with a wide field of view (2 to 3mm) would be perfect. However I could also see using this in a few hallway situations where a narrow field would be fine.

Dennis, such questions are perfectly fine. In fact, I'd encourage manufacturers to ask genuine questions about customer needs or future products. Thanks!

Dennis - 720p should be more than enough at that close range, something that integrated into a door frame that could be installed on the lever side of the door would be a nifty innovation. I had thought about trying to install an Axis M7001 covert kit in a door frame at eye level one time just to see how it would work.

I'm surprised that there aren't more of these types of cameras actually. The applications are huge especially like Ross stated, near a card reader.

We have used Panasonic IP cams many times for this purpose. Wide angle fixed lens. SF135 for indoor and SW155 for outdoor vandal resistant right above the reader. 1280x960 right in your face.

Carl - In this case, do you mount the Panasonic with the dome bubble facing up kind of like this?

You mount them vertically on the wall with the dome bubble down. The vandal version being installed at eye level has proven to take abuse without a problem. As a person presents their card their face fills half the screen. They also have a 104 degree viewing angle so you get a good view of the area instead of just the face shot.

ChannelVision 1.3MP Flush Mount IP Camera

  • 1.3 megapixel CMOS sensor
  • H.264 compression, MJPEG and MPEG4 codecs
  • Event triggered micro SD card recording
  • Flush mount design blends into most settings
  • Double Gang box included
  • Tinted faceplate included

Thanks Carl - We'll take a look at it.

The article has been edited to include the cameras Carl commented on, we even found an additional one.

Carl - Thanks for the tips, keep them coming!

One other option to consider is the Ganz DFS-37. It's housing is a little different but allows for the camera to rotate to adjust for blind spots/multiple doors etc.

Undisclosed, thanks. I've never seen a camera with a form factor quite like that.

It looks a bit like the head of a Cylon, from Battlestar Galactica. All it needs is an LED going back and forth in the slit and a voice saying "By your command!".

It's great that IP cameras are starting to become more concealable. They have an application in law enforcement, but so far the offerings do not meet my requirements.

My current need is for an interview room. I would like a concealable IP camera with high def that captures audio as well. It would also need an input relay so that we can trigger when to record manually (ie. it wouldn't record on motion detection).

We currently have an Axis IP camera tied to a light switch. When the switch is turned on, the video starts recording. It works well, other than the fact the camera is not concealed and it's not at eye level. I've yet to find the concealable IP camera that records audio too.

Sherman, there's the Mobotix S15, which has audio. It's concealable but not as covert as an Axis P12.

John, I totally agree with your observation on vandal proof obsession in this industry being over emphasized. I used to feel the same way, but in my experience of installing thousands of cameras over the past 12 years, I could probably count on one hand the cameras that have been "vandalized". Particularly confounding is when a customer demands "vandal resistant" cameras that are going into a drop tile ceiling. When I point out that their weakest link is the ceiling tile and if the camera will be compromised it will still be easy to do, they for the most part don't care, even though it may had $50 per camera additional cost.

On another note, I've had architects and other specifiers want to put PTZ cameras so high on a building it's like looking down at ants.

Hi John

Face shots is not a new problem, those already commenting on Access control issues have dealt with this in the past, quite adequately with lower level specified cameras . What is required at concept design is a clear designed task for the camera. This will determine all the requirements, normally missed by keen new sales men promising the earth and delivering nothing like what was requested by the client. The main issue will be the wall recess itself normally as low as 80mm in depth (60mm back to back ) for stud walls so this will limit the options and the CCTV modules used.

I do agree with John the vandal resistance should only be a threat risk accessed item, as most applications do no require this extreme level of resistance or protection and image quality/ delivery should be a main consideration.

Many covert cameras will offer better concealment and reduce the risk of damage and meet most if not all of your facial requirements.

I remember Stanley had a thing called a Jambcam. It was an analog camera and I'm not sure if it was successful. They also had an auto door sensor that used a camera to activate the door using an analytics tripwire style activation.

I believe Jambcams are still available. The Stanley website still lists an active cutsheet for them.

I'd guess the big reason why they didn't take off more is because only Stanley will sell and install them, with them being king in the sliding door market.

The Axis P85 is essentially an IP equivalent to the idea of the Jambcam.

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