Home security camera systems help home owners protect their property and loved ones. They provide an extra set of eyes to monitor your home whether you are at home or away. Because of the financial investment, it is important to ensure that everything is working properly.
There are many ways in which you can optimize your surveillance cameras to get the most out of your security system. Here are a few smart security tips to improve your system.
Use Motion Detection
A security camera that is recording everything all the time sounds good in theory, but will require a large amount of memory and power. It will also be more difficult to sort through the mundane footage to find what you are looking for.
Thanks to motion detection, your camera does not have to record all the time. Motion detection enables your camera to start recording when activity in the field of view triggers the sensor. This means you will not need to worry about running out of storage space and makes it easier to sort through your recordings.
Choosing the right location for your security cameras is crucial. Be sure to adjust the angle of your camera to maximize your field of view and ensure that obstructions, such as trees or bushes, do not block the camera’s view.
Other Home Security Solutions
Although security cameras are important, they cannot do everything. Pairing your security camera system with a high quality and reliable alarm system can increase your home security overall and may even help with insurance discounts.
While an outdoor security camera is common, often times, one camera is not enough. If there’s only one security camera present, it’s likely that burglars will work around that. You want your security cameras to monitor high traffic areas and points of entry (ex. front door, back door, first floor windows). That way, you get more comprehensive video surveillance should you become a target for home invasion.
You can’t just set it and forget it when it comes to your surveillance system. Keeping your cameras clean and any potential obstructions at bay will help maintain the performance and effectiveness of your system. Skipping routine maintenance checks may cause your cameras to miss important moments.
For a great selection of affordable security cameras and CCTV surveillance camera systems, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com. For more information about our installation services or to request a free quote, please call 888-203-6294.
There’s something to be said about low-light security cameras. Because lighting conditions in different environments are not always ideal for surveillance, low-light security cameras enable us to capture respectable footage in these situations. And with new technology, the quality of low-light camera images has vastly improved.
But before you invest in low-light security cameras for your home or business, here are some important facts and tips to know to make the most of your security systems.
Here’s some important information in order to make the most of your security systems.
First and foremost, you should know the related terms you may come across:
All of these terms refer to the same classification of surveillance cameras. And while some of these terms are trademarked by manufacturers, the most commonly used terms for these cameras are “low-light” and “day/night.”
How It Works
Despite the sometimes confusing terminology, the basic components remain the same for all low-light cameras: a lens and sensor and some level of image processing. And to be clear, low-light cameras are different than thermal cameras (which track heat rather than motion or images) or cameras with IR illuminators.
A majority of low-light cameras use an IR cut filter, which is a mechanical filter that sits between the lens and the sensor (CMOS chip). The name is derived from its ability to “cut out” or filter out IR illumination during the day to improve color quality. At night, as available light diminishes, it slides out of the way to allow more light to get the sensor, thus improving low-light video quality. In order to help the video quality, it is also captured in black and white. In most cameras the filter is mechanically driven by an algorithm, however, some cameras allow manual control.
Because nearly all the cameras contain IR cut filters, it comes down to the lens and the processing to set these items apart from one another. The lens transmits light to the sensor and then the data on the sensor is processed by a processor. The variance among cameras is often in the optics. You want to be sure that both the lens and the sensor are of great quality, otherwise the potential for stellar images will be wasted.
Aside from the optics, processing is an important factor in determining the best low-light camera for you. Most manufacturers employ the same OEM processor yet make their own adjustments to them. The ability to control the tuning of an image is crucial as the tuning of an image during daylight will likely not hold up at night or in complete darkness.
Pay close attention to image toning, noise suppression, and the ability to maintain color and contrast in low light as these often differentiate one camera from another.
Typical IR cameras will capture images between 1 lux and 0.1 lux, however, the latest technologies can allow .01 lux to 0.00001 lux. This means that what would have been a completely black image a few years ago now looks like a near-daytime picture thanks to new low- and ultralow-light sensors.
While this achievement is impressive, in reality, there will rarely be any situations where there is complete darkness. Some ambient light will likely be present, whether it is from street lamps, the moon, or even the stars.
Spec Sheets Vs. Live Demo
As discussed, the impressive low-light sensitivity and lux will likely be included in the spec sheets, along with other important features. However, these spec sheets often represent technical specifications as opposed to actual performance.
Instead of simply relying on spec sheets, try to find a manufacturer or company that will provide you with a live demo and comparisons. This will give you a better idea of the low-light camera’s performance and whether or not it lives up to your requirements. In addition, third party reviews can give you more insight as well.
Just because a camera boasts a high megapixel count does not necessarily mean it will produce a better low-light image. With higher resolution and higher megapixels, each pixel becomes a smaller percentage of that sensor. For example, image the sensor has a fixed size, yet the resolution is doubled. The pixels are smaller, thus, the sensor for each pixel is also smaller, increasing the amount of sensitivity needed to maintain the same level of quality.
The speed of the lens is important and investing in a fast lens and better optics is crucial. The lens determines what information reaches the sensor, and, because of this, you get what you pay for when it comes to lenses and optics.
Positioning & Distance
Proper positioning of your security cameras is critical. Focus on what you want to capture and the level of detail you need when choosing the location of your cameras.
Position surveillance cameras so that the common range of motion is moving across the field of view rather than having common movement coming toward the camera. Also, avoid bright light pointing directly at the lens – this can cause flare or “fog” on the image.
Consider the field of view in terms of distance. The level of detail from the camera is highly dictated by how close the camera is and how much it’s zoomed in.
And when it comes to distance, you want the right combination of lens and camera that factors in the distance from the area you are trying to monitor. If you need to detect motion from long distances, your best bet would be to switch to thermal cameras. Activity will be detected, however, it will be harder to determine whether it is a person or an animal.
Share your own knowledge of low-light surveillance cameras with us and your peers on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. To shop our selection of quality CCTV surveillance systems and security cameras, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294 today!
As the New Year approaches, you may resolve to invest in a better business security camera system. Increasing your security measures can provide numerous benefits and will likely pay off in the long run. Here are a few ways a security system can help improve your business.
The presence of security cameras not only helps to deter burglars from targeting your business, but it can also bring peace of mind to your customers and employees.
There have been instances where employees fake an injury to claim worker’s comp, as well as customers who may make false claims against the business or employees. Security cameras can prevent these instances or provide evidence to refute these claims.
Security cameras and surveillance can positively influence behavior, resulting in employees complying with company policies.
You not only want to secure the inside of your business, but protecting the perimeter is just as important. Loitering may send the wrong message to your customers, and may negatively affect your business.
Aside from loitering, litter scattered around your business can damage the business reputation. You want to maintain an appealing look for your customers, and excessive litter can be detrimental.
Rather than having a security guard on the grounds, you can actively monitor your premises from within or remotely.
Keeping track of your business traffic can improve your business success. You can identify the busiest hours and adjust your staffing accordingly. It may also give you insight to the most efficient business hours for your location.
If you have more than one location to monitor, an advanced security system will allow you to connect the different security systems. That way, you may be able to remotely monitor all sites from one app or system.
If you need help finding the right security camera system for your business, feel free to visit us online at SecurityCamExpert.com or call 888-203-6294 to speak with a representative. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
Security cameras placed outdoors allow you to monitor your property while acting as a deterrent for trespassing. But what happens if criminals proceed anyways?
Indoor security cameras will show you what happens when the intruders get in. Should theft or damage occur, you are left with video evidence of the crimes to assist in capturing the criminals.
For everyday use, indoor security cameras help to monitor daily activities, such as kids returning home from school, or checking in on pets while you’re at work.
While there are several benefits of indoor cameras, it may be difficult discerning the most effective places to install them. Here are some helpful tips for choosing the best locations for your indoor security cameras.
Statistics show that the most common entry points for burglars are through first-floor doors or windows, thus, your main entrances should be your top priorities. The front door, back door, garage door, and other first-floor exterior doors and windows should be equipped with some type of security (ex. locks). If possible, installing security cameras to cover all of these spots would be ideal.
For a great selection on indoor security cameras and more, visit SecurityCamExpert.com. For more information on site surveys and our installation services, please call 888-203-6294.
When you decide to install home security cameras, where you place your cameras and how you use your footage is important to consider. For maximum protection, it is recommended to monitor common areas as well as possible points of entrance. While home surveillance is not banned, there are a few things to keep in mind to avoid breaking the law.
Home Surveillance Concerns
Within your home, you do have the right to record without informing others, but there are very large exceptions to this rule. First, any area where a “reasonable expectation of privacy” is assumed is off limits. For example, if your home security cameras are monitoring your front yard and possibly the sidewalk and street, your expectation of privacy in these areas is low. On the other hand, bathrooms and bedrooms, where you may be in a state of undress, have a high expectation of privacy, and, thus, are prohibited.
Second, if your cameras enable audio recording, you may want to brush up on wiretapping laws. While these vary slightly from state to state, federal statutes allow audio recording so long as one of the two parties consents. This basically means that you, as the recorder, may know and give consent without informing the other party. However, some states, including California, require dual consent, meaning both parties must be aware and agree to be recorded.
In regards to recording burglars, any trespassers forfeit any expectation of privacy in your home. You may record the person, submit the footage to police, and use your video in court.
For cameras that run non-stop and record audio, you will want to warn any person that is allowed access to your home that these cameras are there and running, otherwise you may run the risk of breaking wiretapping laws. These people include family members, guests/visitors, delivery persons or installers.
The Consent Conundrum
You may now be wondering how you can lawfully gain dual consent. Will verbal consent or a surveillance sticker in the window suffice, or should you have every guest fill out a consent form upon entering? Unfortunately, consent for audio recordings must be given in written form. It is a common misconception that window decals or yard signs are sufficient means to gain consent, as it is expected for visitors to see and recognize them.
However, in a home setting, there may be an exception to the rule. With home cameras, it boils down to what you do, or intend to do, with your recordings. If you don’t do anything with the recording, it is likely that no one will know or care – no harm, no foul.
If you do something with the recording, things change. For example, say a celebrity is a guest in your home and now you have footage of this celebrity hanging out in your home. While selling this footage to a gossip magazine for profit may seem enticing, you will be breaking the law. First, consent was never given from this celebrity. Second, you cannot use a recording for commercial gain without the subject’s consent.
In regards to wiretapping, a possible solution is to simply turn off audio recording if your devices permit. However, why turn off a service that you have paid for? While thieves are usually fairly quiet while they work, using audio recording for eavesdropping may be beneficial (but puts forth yet another ethical dilemma).
Uses For Recordings
Let’s say you record someone in your home plotting a crime, or admitting to committing a crime. Most states allow you to use the recording to prevent a crime or prove that one was committed.
However, if the recording does not involve a crime and you decide to post it on YouTube or a social media site, you could be engaging in illegal activity. Using a recording for exploitive or commercial purposes (as in the previous celebrity example) may be misappropriation if not all parties consent. As a reminder, laws vary from state to state so please look into your own state’s laws.
Also, even within your own home, recording with the intention of blackmail is illegal.
Law enforcement has the right to ask for your home surveillance if they suspect illegal activity, and a warrant will likely be necessary. However, since most recordings are stored in the cloud, they may be able to go straight to the provider and obtain the footage, bypassing your permission to access.
What Should You Do?
To err on the side of caution, be sure that everyone entering your home is aware that the cameras are there, and avoid placing them in areas where privacy is expected. If you wish to withhold the information, so long as you do not do anything with the footage, you should be fine.
However, there are other reasons to be careful with the privacy of your security cameras. While you may not have the intention to do bad things, hackers may be able to access your cameras and broadcast your feed. To protect yourself and your guests, it is advised to take reasonable security precautions (ex. strong passwords, maintain security Wi-Fi network), and take the ethical high road when using new technology.
More and more people are turning to security systems to protect their homes. This is a smart decision, as security cameras will help you feel at ease whether you are in your home or on vacation. Unfortunately, when shopping for a security system, you may find that there are companies that seem genuine, but do not have the customer’s best interest at heart.
If you are thinking of investing in a home security system, here are some helpful tips to make sure you get the best deal on what you are looking for.
Consider your budget and what features are absolutely necessary and which you could live without. Credible businesses will work with you to build a home security system to suit your wants, needs and budget. You can ask for input or recommendations from friends, family, or even your home or renters insurance carrier.
Contact at least three companies before making a decision. This way you can compare prices and service, and ask important questions (ex. proper licensing, background checks for employees). This will also give you time to check reviews or do additional research before committing to a company.
If you have a budget, see what companies can offer for that price. Or you can compare prices from different businesses on a similar system. When getting quotes and prices, be sure ask about any other fees that may apply, for example, monthly monitoring fees or installation charges. It is also wise to consult with your insurance agent since home security systems may qualify you for a discount on homeowner’s premiums.
As with any contract, be sure that you fully understand it before signing. Know how long it will last, what it covers, terminations fees, etc. If your system is going to be monitored, those contracts typically last 2-5 years. Before you sign on to a long term contract, be sure to ask the major, important questions. For example, what happens if you are dissatisfied with the services provided? Is it possible to cancel the contract? As the consumer, what are your rights if the company is acquired by another company?
When shopping around, keep an eye out for these red flags:
Often times, trustworthy companies will give you time to think through the deal and make your decision. But if a seller is trying to pressure you into going with their company, don’t give in until you have done the proper research.
While some companies offer competitive prices, others may offer unbelievable deals that seem too good to be true. Most of the time, they are. In this case, “you get what you pay for” rings true. Whether it is defective equipment or a poor installation job, this is something to keep in mind when making your final decision.
If you cannot get a positive identification for your salesperson or the company, you may want to question using their services. Also, beware of sellers with no ties to their community. This could mean they might pull a disappearing act after mediocre services have been rendered and payments have been made.
It is always wise to check with the Better Business Bureau for any complaints or reviews about the company. If there have been complaints, you can see how the company handled the situation, giving you a better idea of the customer service you can expect.
Visit SecurityCamExpert.com to browse great deals on our quality stock of security cameras, CCTV surveillance packages, and more. Call 1-888-203-6294 to learn more about our equipment and services.
Shopping on a budget for a security camera system? It doesn’t have to be that hard. Let SecurityCamExpert.com help you find smart solutions without breaking the bank.
Our selection of security cameras includes a variety of different styles with varying specifications. We carry security cameras starting as low as $20-$60 and reaching up to $250-$400 depending on specifications. You can pay for better quality and features, or you can get good quality for a decent price. It all depends on how much you can or are willing to spend.
For the most basic security system solutions, you can opt for dummy cameras. Our dummy cameras don’t exceed $30 so you can build a pseudo security system for cheap. Check out this SecurityMan Dummy Indoor Camera, it has a convincing look for a reasonable price.
If you want a functioning security system, dome security cameras and bullet security cameras are common types and low in price. Ours range from $40-$175, all dependent upon picture resolution, special features like night vision or audio components. Still, a great camera can be found for a cost-effective price. Our box cameras hover around the same range, but also require a separate purchase of camera lenses, which can add to overall cost.
As we move up the price ladder, our specialty security cameras like HD-SDI, high resolution, network IP and PTZ (pan/tilt/zoom) start around $100 and go up from there. It should be understood that you are paying more for performance and abilities. These cameras offer much better picture and allow you to better manipulate your viewing range. License plate capture cameras have magnificent zoom abilities along with solid resolution, so they can start north of $200.
While SecurityCamExpert.com offers individual security cameras, we also offer great packaged deals which can significantly assist those on a tight budget. Our camera packages include the basics: DVR (with & without hard drives), cameras, cables and power supplies. Our 4 camera packages range from $249 up to $549, while our 8 camera packages range from $329 up to $567. Our 16 camera packages range from $836-915, but we also offer wireless camera bundles that start as low as $139 and up. Our 4 camera IP/hybrid camera package starts at $399 and you can add more cameras or accessories from there. You can explore our packages options here.
Shop our inventory online and you’ll find security cameras or systems that fit within your budget. Would you rather get a quote based on your needs? Fill out our Free CCTV System Quote and work with our staff to create a security system within your means. Feel free to call us at 1-888-203-6294 with any questions you may have.
Using indoor security cameras as part of your overall security system can help to put your worries at ease. Whether you’re keeping an eye on your home while you’re on vacation, or you’re making sure your employees are hard at work, implementing indoor security cameras can work in your favor.
There are a few things to consider when installing indoor security cameras. Choosing the right indoor security camera will yield the best, most effective security system. Placement of your indoor security camera plays an important role as well.
Indoor security cameras can rely on a fairly constant light source. However, if monitoring indoors at night is necessary, a camera with infrared lights, or night vision, is critical. This will enable you a suitable picture during the night, when lighting is poor.
Placement of your security cameras can play a large role also. If you’re watching for intruders, aiming cameras at doorways or possible entrances would be wise. Placement near windows could be beneficial as well. If you’re monitoring your workers, places with high foot traffic or aimed directly at cubicles could be productive. The presence alone could motivate your workers to be more conscious of their behavior and work ethic, thus yielding productivity.
There are different styles of indoor security cameras as well. Dome cameras generally tend to blend in better than bullet cameras. But this mainly depends on whether you want to covertly monitor your business or property or let it be known to others that they are under surveillance.
When utilizing security cameras in general, it is important to inform people they are under surveillance. This is most commonly done by posting warning signs. When utilizing hidden security cameras within your home, know that they are not permitted in areas where people assume a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as bathrooms or bedrooms. While these are some general tips, it’s very important to look into your local state laws regarding surveillance.
For your indoor security camera needs, visit us online at SecurityCamExpert.com. We carry a great stock of indoor security cameras and more. If you have any questions or need any help, feel free to give us a call at 1-888-203-6294.
Ever wonder why people use dummy cameras or fake security cameras? Do you think “If they’re going to spend money on dummy cameras, why not buy real ones?” There are varying opinions on fake security cameras. Some find dummy security cameras pointless, while others find that their dummy cameras deter crimes for a cheaper price.
Some people believe that since the dummy cameras don’t work, it is useless to purchase and install them. It is reasonable to believe that, and to each his own, however, studies have shown that the presence of security cameras can help to prevent crimes.
For those who desire some type of security but can only afford so much, dummy security cameras could be a great alternative. While employing a real security camera will allow you to actually monitor what is going on in and around your property, the mere presence can do a sufficient job.
The trick is to purchase a convincing fake security camera. The right dummy cameras won’t blatantly look like fake security cameras. Most dummy cameras are made to look fairly realistic, but some cameras possess dead giveaways. It is best to steer clear of these dummy security cameras.
The key to choosing the right dummy security cameras is to know what a real security camera looks like. You want the dummy security cameras to be seen, but you don’t want it to be too obvious. You want people to think you’re trying to be covert, as you would with a real security camera. Most security cameras are built to be somewhat elusive, and placement can help with that. Installing dummy cameras in traditional surveillance camera spots will make them more convincing. Ambiguity can elicit apprehension, which is why fake security cameras can be a wise investment.
As long as you are well-informed about your choice and installation of fake security cameras, dummy security cameras may actually work for you. While they don’t capture criminal acts, they can avert possible criminals. Shop our selection of dummy cameras online at SecurityCamExpert.com or give us a call at 1-888-203-6294.