In the age of ultra high definition TVs and movies, people often wonder why their surveillance security cameras offer such low quality footage. This is due to a combination of factors, but it is important to note the purpose of the equipment. When filming for television or a movie, the purpose is to capture the footage as realistically as possible to immerse the audience in the story. In CCTV systems, the purpose is to record non-stop all day , to deter criminals and capture any inappropriate events that may occur. Below are a few reasons why your CCTV footage is low quality.
The primary reason CCTV cameras get a reputation for having poor footage is due to outdated equipment. Older 1MP cameras simply do not have the resolution to provide the quality footage modern users demand. Modern 2, 4 and 8MP cameras offer improved image quality, however, with the increase in resolution there comes and increase in storage. And if have analog cameras, then there’s no way the quality will be high. The more picture quality you need, the more budget is required to get the latest security systems.
CCTV cameras are often recording 24/7 and store footage for 7-10 days, this requires a massive amount of storage space. This only multiplies as you add more cameras, recording more information, to the system. The higher quality the footage being recorded, the more storage space it will require. That being said, there are many modern options for those wishing to record high quality footage; external hard drive and improved DVRs are available to boost your recording capabilities.
Improper lighting also leads to disappointing image quality, as cameras need light to capture proper footage. The amount of light is dependent on you camera and can be supported by enhanced IR capabilities. The best way to ensure proper lighting is to install floodlights or other forms of LED lighting to illuminate the area being recorded. An outdoor IR illuminator is also an option for users who want to extend their IR camera range. These devices illuminate the area with IR light, invisible to the human eye but will allow your IR camera to see. This avoids the risk of washing out your image with too much visible light but does require IR cameras to function.
You may also be experiencing low image quality because of wiring issues. The cables and wiring you use run all of the data your cameras capture to the storage and playback site. If corners were cut during installation and cheap wiring was used, or wires have become damaged over time, the quality of your footage may suffer. You may also be running an extension cable that is too long, this will cause your data transmission to slow down and will decrease your image quality.
Weak or spotty internet connection may also cause footage to lose quality and can either be constant or intermittent. IP cameras operating over WiFi are particularly susceptible to this issue because as you lose bandwidth adding devices, your speed and connection decreases dramatically.
Another spot to check is your lens; most reputable cameras come with an IP rating and when properly used, will seal out moisture and dirt. However, sometimes things happen and dirt may have obscured your lens due to extreme weather or extraneous variables. Another issue that may occur is your lens’ varifocal zoom may not automatically focus. The zoom may be adjusted to a point where you lose focus and thus, reduces your image clarity. At the same time, if you’re using a fixed lens, make sure the lens size works for your camera placement.
Don’t forget the purpose of your CCTV security system, which is to protect your home or business. The two most common uses of security cameras are theft deterrence and risk management. These don’t necessarily coincide with perfect image quality and high resolution. Most users want a sufficient amount of cameras to cover their property and a cost effective way to maintain their system. This is important when cameras are recording 24/7 and there are multiple cameras. This can be done easier with cameras with lower resolution as this reduces storage space and cost.