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Security Camera Recording Systems - An Introduction to Current Technology


Ever come home and noticed that something was missing; maybe an ornament or silverware and you had no way of finding out where it was or who might have taken it. Perhaps you own a business; an electronic hardware shop to be precise, you do not trust the methods with which your sales personnel are handling business and you would like to keep them on their toes with surveillance. You are in the right place if you are considering buying and installing a video surveillance system for home or office use.

I am going to be discussing the different Video surveillance systems available in the market and the features of each to inform you in your purchase decision. It is pertinent for you to know above all else that the Video Surveillance System is based on the quality of the recorded images. As at the time of writing this article there are three types of Video Surveillance Systems available: The Analog/Time Lapse Recorder (VCR) Systems, the Digital Hard Drive Recording Systems (just like a VCR with the difference being that it uses a hard drive to store videos) and the PC based Digital Video Recording Systems (DVR)

The Analog/Time Lapse Recorder

The first surveillance cameras (which were time-lapse recorders) required a monitor for every camera. It has a single video input, recording incoming signal with a video tape that records between 2-960 hours of video depending on the recorder. The video relay slowed down at a rate of one picture every 9 seconds (very slow right!).  The company’s device uses an organic LED technology for its flexible display. To get a clear image of what the recorded feed would look like, imagine watching people pass by through a video but instead of walking, they seem to be taking each step so slowly it would seem like they were walking 100 meters in 5 minutes.

Digital Hard-drive Recorder

As technology improved, manufacturers were able to come up with a new design that fuses the multiplex function of the time-lapse recorder another system that uses hard drives instead of VCR tapes to store recorded visuals (an upgrade right!). While the software is operated internally, the high resolution for video input is hardware based and can record high-resolution video feed from more than 16 cameras at up to 160 images per second as against the time-lapse that recorded one picture every 9 seconds! As soon as the hard drive fills, the system removes the oldest videos to create space to record new images, (this is called First in First Out Video). So the larger the hard drive, the more images that can be stored.

An awesome feature of this recorder is that it allows advanced playback capabilities that ensure you find stored videos in seconds not hours as against the time-lapse recorder.

I recommend that you set the recording duration to a time no longer than 72 hours as this would enable you record the entire weekend without having to switch tapes. The time-lapse recorder is okay if you are only going to need a single camera or you could add a video multiplexer for multiple cameras.

This will give you the advantage of recording multiple cameras on a single time-lapse recorder and monitor. Multiplexers come in two types, color or black and white. The negative is that during relay of incoming video, about half the information on the picture is lost and the total images per second.

This surveillance system comprises of a computer, video capture cards and a software package. It has a far higher processing speed that relays recording of up to 480 images per second and allows full motion video to be recorded and played back on a PC. For each camera reduce from nine to three seconds.