High resolution surveillance systems?

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by Existential Angst, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. Awl --

    You've proly seen them at Costco or Sam's club, like this:

    I'm wondering if these systems could, for example, read a license plate of a
    passing (offending) vehicle?
    I've always been mightily impressed (albeit personally harmed) by red-light
    cameras, and how accurate they are.
    Is it possible to duplicate this economically?

    Many locales have the *full video* (not just the snapshot) of the red-light
    event, and then the zoom of the plate. wow....

    Is it optimal from a practicality pov to buy these whole systems? Can you
    just buy the camera/reciever and use software on your own desktop/laptop?
    If so, how does one proceed with this route?
    Start/stop based on motion detection would seem to be pretty important
    "conservation" strategy, as well.

    Another Q:
    Most of these camera systems seem to be wireless. But where do the
    cameras get their power from? Batteries I presume? What a pita it must be
    to climb to all those locations and change batteries. Solar would help, I
    supposed, but how reliably?

    Appreciate all input.
    Existential Angst, Mar 9, 2013
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  2. Existential Angst

    Paul Guest

    Your example camera is not high res. It's only 640x480. You're not
    going to get a license plate with that.

    You want one of these :)


    Paul, Mar 9, 2013
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  3. No.

    That system in the ad, I use those at home and work, one an 8 channel the
    other a 4, with the night cameras.

    Unless someone sticks their nose in the lens, you really can't make out much
    past 3 or 4 feet away. There are good for like watching the walkway,
    backyard, behind the garage or something, but only to see what is going on,
    no details.

    I really doubt if you could determine someone standing like 20 feet away if
    they were male or female, let alone much detail with what they are wearing.

    To grab license plate numbers, highly unlikely unless the camera was put in
    a strategic spot that was within a few feet of the passing vehicle (bushes
    or something).

    The quality of those aren't really much better than a web cam.

    One of those companies (swann or qsee) is supposed to come out with hi-def
    hardware soon, but retail prices they ballparked were in the $1500 to $2000
    range, but no PTZ, yet. Just the hd, night vision cameras and a recorder
    large enough to record the hd feed from them.

    Bruce Esquibel, Mar 9, 2013
  4. Existential Angst

    Brian Guest

    Why do you want a camera that can read number plates of cars? It's the sort
    of thong that would be more useful to the police.
    Brian, Mar 10, 2013
  5. It's called living in a big city with inconsiderate assholes, dumping
    garbage in front of your house -- and worse.
    It's also called useless police.
    I'm moving to VC, BC, Canada, asap.
    Existential Angst, Mar 10, 2013
  6. Um, I and many other Americans were scammed by a Canadian named
    Michael Cantrell (Google "Michael Cantrell scam"...), and several
    of us found each other and compared notes, which included MC's
    parents' address, his address, his shop's address, and our stories,
    which were given to the RCMP in Montreal. What happened? NOTHING!
    MC continued his scams, untouched by the police in Canada (I lost
    David Ruether, Mar 10, 2013
  7. Um, I just noticed that that Google search turned up about 2,150,000
    hits - I guess MC has gone "BIG TIME", without being stopped. Amazing,
    huh? So much for "The RCMP always gets their man" nonsense, even when
    they are supplied the who, what, when, and where (including *his*
    location) info in complaints.
    David Ruether, Mar 10, 2013
  8. Existential Angst

    Paul Guest

    If you have a problem, and the police are ignoring it...

    1) Contact a TV station that does investigative journalism.
    Say W5. http://www.ctvnews.ca/w5/
    2) W5 will ask the police what they're doing about it.
    The police will say they have an open file.
    3) W5 will do the real investigation.
    4) Police reap the rewards.
    5) Ten years later, you'll have your conviction.
    Perp will receive a light tap on the wrist, and get "time served".
    For serial perps (people who can't help themselves, and work
    the same scam over and over and over again), they'll be right
    back at their old game.



    "...the Security & Investigation Services team works very closely
    with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP),
    the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre,
    United States Postal Inspection Services and
    the Competition Bureau and others in these matters."

    Now, I don't know what a "Canadian Anti Fraud Centre" is, but
    maybe you could try them instead of the RCMP. Who knows,
    maybe you'll get a nice form letter for the effort.

    Paul, Mar 10, 2013
  9. Is he in VC, BC??
    When I get there, do you want me to take care of him for you??[/QUOTE]
    Existential Angst, Mar 10, 2013
  10. Existential Angst

    Brian Guest

    Maybe a fake camera with a sign telling them that they will be recorded on
    a surveillance system might be enough to prevent them from dumping rubbish.
    Brian, Mar 11, 2013
  11. Existential Angst

    Paul Guest

    Telling them a camera is present, makes them wear a paper
    bag over their head, when dumping rubbish.

    You want to install the camera, in a way that you can catch
    them in the act.

    And as for infrared illumination for photographing at night,
    a person with their own silicon based camera (such as a cellphone
    camera), will be able to detect that right away. All the cameras
    have the same passband, which includes infrared (as long as there
    is no heavyweight IR filter in place). Surveillance cameras include
    mechanically switchable filters, such that the IR filter is
    removed at night, and is present during the day to maintain
    color balance under sunlight. My CCTV camera here, can easily
    see the blinking light sent by the IR TV remote.


    To light up a car park, you need something like this.


    They used to make illuminators, which used some sort of incandescent
    source, and a filter over top. Such sources can put out more light
    than a LED based source, but at the expense that humans can see a dull red
    glow coming from the illuminator, with the naked eye. The LED one
    should not be detectable that way. To detect a LED illuminator,
    just turn on your cellphone camera, wave it over the area, and look
    for any out-of-place bright spots. Even if the cellphone has an
    IR filter on the camera, it's still going to detect a powerful
    illuminator if looking straight into it.

    An illuminator source which is fitted right to the camera, has a
    pretty distinctive look to it. At the very least, you want
    the illuminator mounted on a different place than the camera.
    And mounted so that the camera gets the benefit of the light.

    And if you use a powerful enough infrared illuminator, you can
    "feel" the thing as a heat source. So it doesn't remain hidden
    if you go overboard.

    Paul, Mar 11, 2013
  12. Yup, exactly.

    Very inneresting, I was not aware of IR "illumination".
    What kind of picture do you get with this? Not like this crazy "night
    vision" stuff in Silence of the lambs, I hope... lol
    Good visual fidelity?
    Is all surveillance stuff "IR capable"? Or it has to specifically say

    Overall, what do you think of the packages in the B&H link, or at Costco et
    al? Some of them have 16 channels and SIXTEEN cameras!!! Which may not
    be so great if all the cameras suck. How can I tell in advance if the
    cameras are poor quality? What should I look for, and look to avoid in
    these packages? I have a tough time distinguishing one package from
    another, other than price and number of channels/cameras! Motion detection
    would seem to be a plus, for "incident review", etc. I gather they are all
    wireless, nowadays.
    Existential Angst, Mar 12, 2013
  13. Existential Angst

    Paul Guest

    Standard surveillance cameras are 640x480.

    They're virtually useless for any practical purpose.

    Sixteen times useless = useless.

    The purpose of such a system, if for usage with a security guard.
    Using zoned coverage, it tells a security guard where people are
    located currently. And sixteen cameras, allows "following" them
    as they move from one zone to another. It's not particularly
    good for facial shots (or license plates), unless the area is so
    confined, that their face fills the shot. (Like the hallway
    in my old apartment building.)

    Such cameras, when you connect the recorder to a security monitor,
    you can get a 16 tile "overview" of what the cameras see. And that's
    how the security guard can determine which zones should be reviewed
    full screen. The other mode such devices have, is placing each camera
    on screen for one second, such that you review all the zones full
    screen over the period of 16 seconds.

    Those are the traditional behaviors.

    Actually recording a boatload of cameras, all at the same time, in
    real time and 30FPS, takes some capable recording equipment. The
    very cheapest 16 channel system, might only actually record one
    channel at a time. You have to review the specs carefully,
    to avoid getting something you don't want.


    Some of the IP cameras, sport higher resolutions. In particular,
    if you can find an intelligent camera that does "area of interest"
    or "scene" analysis, then investigate user comments about that.

    To give you an example of how much progress has been made, for
    point and shoot cameras now, at least one camera is capable
    of snapping a photo when it detects a smile on someone's face.
    One camera I tried out, in the Staples, when you look in the LCD
    viewfinder, it does realtime analysis of the photo, figures out
    the scene type (distant, macro, whether people might be present),
    draws a frame around what it's using for focus, and processes
    the image appropriately for the situation. So camera
    software seems to have become a lot more capable. If any of that
    tech has trickled down into IP cameras, then you'd have a useful
    tool for guarding a car park.

    You have to read the descriptions carefully.


    "...intelligently detects human movement"

    Well, actually, no, that one isn't intelligent. It uses a PIR
    sensor, and it doesn't really know what entered the field of
    view. PIR (passive infrared) sensors are used inside homes,
    for detecting intrusion, and they've just fitted a PIR sensor
    to the front of the camera.

    To give you an idea how sensitive those are, a mouse in my basement,
    set off the PIR sensor I had set up experimentally. I didn't know it
    was actually a mouse, and not a fluke, until later. (I got the mouse.)

    This is scene analysis. So there are people working on it.
    You'll just have to track down someone offering something
    that works. It's a bit too hard for me to read all these
    adverts, and identify something that's "for real".


    Here's an example. Does this actually work ? Who knows.
    But at least the lingo sounds about right. The idea with
    scene analysis, is either a two camera system, hands of
    zoom shots to the second camera, or, using a high enough
    resolution sensor, only the area of interest is
    recorded for later analysis (saving disk space perhaps).
    If the second (hand-off) camera has a 70x zoom, that's when you
    nail the license plate number.


    You either record gobs of video (capture everything, using
    cheap equipment), or, more intelligently analyze and zoom
    in on the thing of interest. Thereby using a camera with
    a not-outrageous resolution, zoom optics, to get the job done.
    And perhaps only two recording channels of info needed.

    Paul, Mar 12, 2013
  14. Mr Angst[1] might want to tell the police who the perpetrator is. Being
    able to read a number plate involves reasonable resolution, useful also
    in identifying faces and other identifying characteristics besides the
    license number

    On the TV news that I watch, they often show surveillance videos and ask
    that if you recognize the person shown, notify the police. The only
    problem is that most of the videos are so poor that I wouldn't recognize
    my own mother. Not that she is likely to be robbing a 7-11.

    [1] I admit it - I can't tell if "Existential" is a man's or a woman's
    first name :)
    Gene E. Bloch, Mar 15, 2013
  15. Thong, indeed..... lol

    At this point, you could proly use either -- my testosterone is so low, I
    think I'm growing ovaries. goodgawd....
    Existential Angst, Mar 16, 2013
  16. Yeah. I noticed it, but I couldn't think of a reasonable comment, so I
    just went on...

    But it *is* funny.
    OK, then you better take adequate precautions :)

    "Be prepared, that's the Boy & Girl Scout marching song" - with
    apologies to Tom Lehrer.
    Gene E. Bloch, Mar 16, 2013
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