Security and surveillance have had a huge makeover with the advent of CCTV Cameras. Closed-circuit Television (CCTV) is also popularly known as video-surveillance and involves the usage of video cameras which transmit the images as signals to a specific place on specific monitors. CCTVs are now widely used for surveillance of public places, traffic monitoring, monitoring in schools and offices, and spy or body-worn cameras.
The First Shot
The first known CCTV cameras were installed way back in 1942 by the Germans to observe a launching of rockets. Walter Bruch, a renowned German engineer, was credited with the installation and technology and is thus considered as the inventor of CCTV cameras. For the next few years, CCTVs were mostly used for non-commercial purposes until the first instance in the US in 1949.
Technology for Better Captures
The early CCTVs needed to be monitored continuously as their feeds could not be recorded. They worked on magnetic tapes which needed to be changed once they ran out of space. This whole task was very cumbersome. With the emergence of the Video Cassette Recorder (VCR) technology CCTVs too got a boost. Advancements such as multiplexing, time-lapse recording, motion-only recording, and the internet made them even more popular and commercially viable.
CCTV found their first commercial application in the form of pay-per-view theatre television for sports. A game or match would be broadcasted live to certain theatres where people could come, pay and watch the game live. Later the police department in several cities in the US started using them to keep an eye on the busy areas with the intent to reduce and stop criminal incidents. They now find their usage in common areas of schools, shops, and malls, assisting the traffic police, in areas where human presence is risky (like high temperature and pressure areas in industries), monitoring employees and more.
There is ‘One’ for Every Need
There are several types of CCTV cameras, which one can buy according to their need. At very first, one must need to analyze the requirement and the budget. Accordingly, they can choose the perfect CCTV camera that fits all their needs. So, let’s take a look at the most commonly used ones.
Dome Cameras are named so because of their dome-shaped outer casing. They are commonly used for indoor security purposes and are generally placed on the ceilings or such high points for better coverage. The outer casing hides the inner camera lens so it is not easy to determine the direction that the camera is facing. Some high-end dome cameras are fitted with illuminators to capture low light or night scenes too. Few others give the freedom to zoom, pan, and tilt the camera and are called “speed domes”.
Bullet Cameras are designed to resemble an ammunition cartridge. They have a long, cylindrical and tapered body which is perfect to capture the long-distance vision. They are generally wall-mounted or fixed to the ceiling and capture images from a particular area only. They do not support pan, zoom or tilt feature. They are ideal for outer use and can be installed under protective casings to protect them from rain, dust and other natural forces.
C-Mount Cameras come with detachable lenses. This makes them useful in a number of cases and as per requirement. Using special lenses, it is possible to capture images beyond a distance of 40 feet, unlike the regular CCTV cameras which capture till 30-35 feet. They use a vari-focal lens in order to fine-tune focal distance and the angle of view. They support zoom in and out feature without losing focus.
Day/Night Cameras are perfect for areas that need surveillance 24X7. They are designed to work in both broad daylight and low light or night light conditions. They can take both black and white and colored images. Their enhanced performance is due to an extra sensitive imagining chip which is used in the dark which negates the need of illuminators. They are mostly used outdoors and can perform under direct sunlight, low light, glare or reflections.
Pan Tilt Zoom Cameras or PTZ cameras can do as suggested by their name i.e. pan, zoom, and tilt. It gives great freedom to the controllers and let them capture views from multiple angles. They can be operated manually or programmed for an accurate view. They are a bit expensive than the above-mentioned cameras. Since they can be easily controlled to get better live feeds, they are generally deployed at sensitive areas.
High Definition Cameras have a very high resolution, higher frame rate and high definition quality of images and videos. They help to capture finer details and clear pictures. They are good for use in sensitive areas, exit, and entry points and wherever misconduct needs to be avoided and captured in real time (like the exam hall or Casino).
Infrared Cameras provide clear images irrespective of the time of the day. Perfect for surveillance of busy areas where round the clock surveillance is required like airports. They are equipped with small LEDs around the lens which let them capture images even in dark. They also have a very high range of capturing distance.
Network Camera or IP camera can transmit images over the internet. They can be wired or wireless and are easy to install. They are useful in areas where remote monitoring is essential and work for both domestic and commercial purposes.
Wireless Camera is non-IP cameras that need no hard wiring. They offer the flexibility of installation and can be put up almost anywhere as per requirement.
ANPR Cameras are specifically designed cameras which go by the name Automatic Number Plate Recognition camera. As the name suggests they are used to read and store the number plate data. They help in organizing traffic, checking speed limit violations and parking. They can capture, track and recognize vehicle registrations and give good information when required.
Discreet Cameras or the Spy cameras and typically small and can be hidden easily. They are not easily spotted and can be propped, mounted, worn and disguised in a number of ways. They work best in close ranges.