Maximising video surveillance quality

Video surveillance technology has improved to the point that there's little excuse for images that look like they came from a first-gen camera phone. Tim Kridel explores the options.

We’ve all seen it: the news report with surveillance stills and video that are so gray and grainy that the perpetrator could be nearly anybody. It’s a wonder any crimes get solved in cases where that’s all the police have to go on.

Often the culprit is that the best position for the camera also is the worst. For example, indoor surveillance cameras frequently are aimed at the front door, which often is flanked by windows. That means lots of ambient light to overpower the camera.

“If you can’t avoid that, you definitely need to make sure your camera(s) have excellent wide dynamic range capability,” says Lt. Eddie Lawhorn, tech services division manager at Regent University’s campus police department.

Panasonic's Mega Super Dynamic technology is one example of products that help overcome high-contrast environments.

“Super Dynamic captures multiple images with short and long exposures,” says Hayashi Noriyuki, Panasonic senior marketing manager for security/broadcast in the Middle East and Africa. “The short exposure captures the bright areas well, and the long exposure captures the dark areas well. Super Dynamic combines them into one frame and results in clear images.”

One challenge is that some businesses don’t believe they need high-resolution cameras throughout their facility. Take the example of banks, which some vendors say often use lower resolutions in places such as teller lines and vault entrances.

In the full article you can learn more about the tools available to improve surveillance quality, as well as the barriers to implementing them, from vendors including Panasonic, Genetec, Barco, Axis and Christie.

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