Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Solutions for Challenging Surveillance Lighting

Lighting challenges are very common when setting up a surveillance system. However, it is usually one of the last things people think about when setting up their security cameras. It's not until the cameras are installed that the user looks at the feed, only to be disappointed by bad or challenging lighting. Challenging lighting can come in a variety of flavors: very dark, low light, too bright, and the really annoying case of back lighting where the intensity of the light can vary a lot, namely areas when there are both very bright and very dark areas simultaneously in the camera's field of view.


Areas that are too dark: Sometimes the area is too dark or even pitch black. This can be solved simply by using an Infrared (IR) Security Camera. By using IR emitters (usually IR LEDs), the camera can send out infrared light to illuminate its target area. The image below was taken from an IR camera in a pitch black room using an iPhone application. The more emitters a camera has, the more effective is it at illuminating a target.
IR Camera Screenshot

Outdoor areas with low or varying light: The best solution for these types of areas are day and night cameras. These cameras have the ability to see the picture during the day, when there is plenty of sunlight, and also during the night in total darkness. Using photocell activation, the camera recognizes changes in lighting conditions so that once the infrared is no longer needed it switches to non-IR modes.

Areas with back lighting and high-contrast lighting: Take the scenario below as an example, you have a security camera in your lobby. These can be very frustrating areas because when the sun is shining through windows or doors, a standard IP camera will display the door area looking like a big white sheet of light and nothing can be seen outside [see photo 1 below]. Conversely, the dark areas inside the lobby will appear to be black and hard to see [see photo 2 below]. In these situations, Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) cameras work great. WDR allows the camera to filter the intense back light surrounding the area. In areas with back lighting (usually in areas where light enters from various angles such as a multi-window room) where the camera points towards the light source (doors or windows), the background washes out the area during the daytime [again photo 1]. With WDR the camera will be able to see through the intense sunlight (or artificial light) resulting in what you see in photo 3.
Photos from geovision.com.tw

For more information about lighting conditions or to purchase cameras equipped with these technologies, visit us at camerasecuritynow.com or call one of our specialists at 1-877-422-1907.

1 comment:

  1. Great advice to pass along to anyone in the market for a security system.