If you can identify the biggest stumbling blocks for installers trying to make sense of HD IP video surveillance then it’s easier to work towards planning for them or expanding your skill set, making installations faster and solutions more effective.
TRYING to commission HD IP cameras can be challenging but it’s even more challenging when you’re constrained by bandwith issues, required to position cameras in less than ideal locations, or forced by a low budget to employ a camera that might not be up to the job.
But what are the key stumbling blocks? There are so many factors to consider including managing storage, handling bit rate over public WANs, tweaking camera performance parameters for 24-hour operation, wrangling massive bandwidth demands in very busy scenes, the challenge of installing cameras to capture face recognition, as well as situational awareness.
Scentre Group’s CCTV Shootout held at Westfield Mall in Bondi Junction covered ID, mall and low profile cameras. Among other things, the shootout showed the vital importance of avoiding motion blur when you want face recognition.
SCENTRE Group’s CCTV shootout was great fun and really highlighted the challenges of quickly assessing the best camera in a large lineup. The application covers 3 key locations at Westfield Bondi Junction that typify challenges in many Scentre Group (Westfield) Malls. From the individual perspective, it’s about a definition of terms in the first instance, what does 'best' mean in relation to meeting a specification?
The Strand at Coolangatta has the best ocean views of any retail complex in Australia and a video surveillance solution to match after Chris-Tech Security Alarm Systems completed an installation comprising 60 Sony IP cameras and a Milestone video management solution.
FROM an operational perspective, retail centres like The Strand at Coolangatta in Queensland, are tough. There are multiple conflicting demands in complex environments. Surveillance must support safety, security and insurance risks, while being unobtrusive. The built environment includes variable lighting, challenging ceiling designs and compact spaces adjacent to vast open areas, including food courts and foyers that may challenge typical installation practices.
Sony’s SNC-VB630 is a full body 1080p HD camera that combines strong WDR performance with good low light performance and very low latency. In our test the VB630 offers useful situational awareness in low light levels and positively eats backlight for breakfast.
SONY’S Gen6 SNC-VB630 features a 1/2.9-inch progressive scan Exmor CMOS sensor, with approximately 2.14MP. This day/night 1080p camera claims a minimum scene illumination of .1 of a lux (0.06 Lux 30IRE) at a shutter speed of 1/30th of a second in colour, or down to 0.05 lux (30 IRE)in monochrome. I don’t go this low but I think under 1 lux at the lens in monochrome is getting towards the minimum for useful situational awareness in street applications. That’s a good number for an unassisted camera. In our test we get down around l lux at the lens in our darkest target area.
FLIR, distributed locally by QSS, will release its new TCX thermal mini bullet camera at this year's IFSEC exhibition in London.
The FLIR TCX security camera combines 24/7 high-contrast thermal video and high-performance built-in video motion detection with a level of affordability that the industry has never seen. FLIR TCX is powered by the company's revolutionary Lepton camera core. The TCX is not available locally and there's no local pricing yet but in line with FLIR's current wider market play, it's likely to be sharp as a tack.
HD cameras incorporate so many variables, from sensor type and processors to lens and compression engine, that making a balanced decision about what constitutes the ideal HD CCTV camera is an extremely difficult business.
WHEN it comes to choosing the best HD camera, where do installers, integrators, consultants and end users start? Is the best HD camera best in low light, best in strong backlight, or does it offer the most workable balance of both? Does the best camera have an adjustable CS-mount lens or can good performance come from the integrated lens of a tiny dome? Is it packed in an IP66 and IK10-rated housing or is it a full body?
ACCORDING to independent video surveillance industry observer, Norman, IP video is not plug and play, no matter what anyone says. He also said claims cameras could see in starlight unassisted were 'hopeful' and predicted a boilover at SecTech HD Camera Shootout in Melbourne this Monday.
"I stood at the RNA in Brisbane for about 5 hours watching 10 of the best CCTV technicians in Australia tie themselves in knots of blue cable over camera config, issues with bandwidth and hassles with camera mounts, and that was before the lights were turned off," he said. "Plug and play is a proprietary gig - I declare the ONVIF experiment dead."
Norman also scoffed at suggestions a camera could produce useable images in virtually no light.
Norman troubled by opaque HD camera specifications
NORMAN, who will be instrumental at SecTech’s HD Camera Shootout, has expressed broad concerns over the nature of HD camera performance in challenging applications. According to Norman, too many cameras juggle performance parameters on paper and don’t offer all their maximum specifications simultaneously.
“It’s disappointing for me,” said Norman, in an exclusive interview with SEN. “And frankly, it feels a little like sleight of hand. I expect my modelling to be respected and my features to be rendered exquisitely using the highest quality hardware available. But if cameras have poor quality lenses or employ agricultural noise reduction algorithms that make me appear wooden and 2-dimensional, my confidence will be undermined and I'll find it difficult to perform at my best."
SECTECH’S HD Camera Shootout (register here for free parking!) pits the best cameras in the industry head to head in bright light, low light, backlight and IR light. But who are the contenders and what are their strengths and capabilities?
First up is Hikvision’s DS-2CD6026FHWD Darkfighter, (distributed by CSD), which features a 2MP, ½-inch progressive scan CMOS image sensor. Together with a 120dB WDR (wide dynamic range) and Hikvision’s 3D DNR (Digital Noise Reduction) technology, the new camera is able to stream video in full 1080p HD at 60 fps. Low light performance is 0.002 lux in colour and 0.0002 lux in black and white.
HIKVISION has released its new super fast f0.95 1/1.8-inch Dark Eye lens. The new 1/1.8-inch lens has flexible focal range adjustable from 7mm at the wide end to 33mm at the long and an extremely fast f-stop, giving an extremely wide aperture for low light applications.
Dark Eye is designed to enhance the performance of the company’s Darkfighter full body camera and has a resolution rating of 6MP. Hikvision's Tony Lagan said the team was looking forward to showing what Darkfighter could do at SecTech Roadshow in Brisbane May 4, Sydney on May 6, Melbourne on May 11, Adelaide on May 13 and Perth people on May 18. (Register here for free parking!).
"We're proud of Darkfighter's performance and we are excited to see how it performs in the SecTech shootout," Lagan said.♦