The Importance of Reliable, High-quality Surveillance Imagery | Oncam

You’ve likely heard us preach time and time again about the importance of leveraging an innovative video surveillance system to enhance security and situational awareness in a variety of markets. But what we don’t talk about enough is the cameras themselves; sure, we’ve described the benefits of 180- and 360-degree views and the different form factors they come in, but there’s one key element that can make or break the entire system: the quality of the technology.


When an organization implements a video surveillance system for monitoring and recording activity, the expectation is that the footage will be reliable. Say, for example, a retailer uses a camera to surveil a section of expensive merchandise in the store when suddenly, a thief grabs an item and runs away. The store management and security personnel would immediately turn to the footage to see what they could identify about the individual. Could you imagine if they went to look and saw nothing but blurry images or broken footage?


Inadequate surveillance technology can cost organizations time, money and other resources that can thwart their security and business goals. That’s why it’s extremely important to take advantage of surveillance systems that leverage the highest quality features to create a productive image or video. But achieving this can depend on a number of factors.


The various applications around the world that require surveillance cameras are very dynamic, and it can’t always be guaranteed that the conditions will be perfect for capturing the scene. But this doesn’t mean that incidents or emergencies won’t occur, demanding adaptable technology. Ensuring usable footage involves a variety of characteristics, but oftentimes, it begins with the lighting situation.


Lighting is related to exposure, which is the amount of light that reaches the camera sensor or film. But very bright or dark areas in the same scene are hard to capture with a single exposure. Multi-exposure High Dynamic Range (HDR) takes several sequential frames with different exposures and combines them into one image by selecting the best area of exposure for each area of the image.


However, with multi-exposure HDR, moving images can change during the process, causing motion blur, tearing and even missing objects. Users can therefore benefit from the latest generation of HDR technology, which allows users to capture both a short and long exposure at the same time — and at a full frame rate — that are analyzed and digitally combined for realistic image quality.


Frames per second (FPS), the speed at which a camera can capture photos, is critical here because a higher FPS is ideal for recording fast-moving objects. It’s important to take advantage of devices that use HDR technologies while maintaining the industry standard 30fps, even at maximum resolution, to ensure that no activity is missed and all footage captured is smooth.


Security personnel at enterprise organizations expect surveillance cameras to be their eyes for what they can’t see at all times. And in real life, if someone’s eyesight isn’t perfect, they use contact lenses or glasses to improve their vision. The same concept should apply to video technology: businesses should look toward features that enhance image quality, through factors such as exposure and FPS, to ensure that they’re gleaning the highest level of situational awareness and intelligence from their systems.


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