Video Surveillance Recording

Your surveillance system will have the ability to record your streaming video to playback later. The place you can store the video varies depending on the system. With Axis brand webcams we store the video digitally to a computer’s hard drive at the camera location. With older systems the video was stored to DVD recorders or analog storage systems.

Offsite Storage:
With digital storage the possibility of storing the image offsite is workable as well, but requires a service provider to store the images for you. Let me say right off with new AXIS brand webcams, offsite storage of video to an internet server is simple.  You only need a server to store the video, and the camera itself can FTP up the video to a server location.  If you’re expecting a lot of traffic to your camera, an offsite solution for viewing can help keep the camera responsive. This is because the more people viewing the camera, the slower the camera gets. Offsite streaming allows the camera to serve one stream, and all viewers will tax the stream not the camera. So here we are talking about two different things, offsite streaming, and offsite video event storage.  If you’re concerned about security of your video data, an offsite storage solution can be considered. A more effective solution is to store the video on a computer at the camera location, and use recording software on that computer.

PC Recording Software:
With Axis brand web cameras the first camera recording software is free, then you must buy a onetime license from AXIS for 4 cameras, then upgrade to more beyond that. The video camera recording software by AXIS will store the video continually if you choose, although it will eat up a lot of disk space over time.

Motion Detection Trigger Driven Recording:
Better is to use the Motion Detection system built into the camera to define special regions on your camera view. You can have any number of regions, and you use the motion detection trigger on the defined window to tell the camera when to record and how long to record. So when someone walks or drives into the defined view area, the computer will start recording the live video to a movie you can view later. You have to play with the sensitivity and test that the motion detection trigger works when you or your car or your pet moves into the defined area. Movies are sorted by time and date stamp on the local computer. Locating the correct video is a matter of knowing when it happened. There are other trigger points you can use, like set the camera to record on time interval you set, but the most effective tool is to use the motion detection tools to trigger recording. This trigger can be used to contact you with an email on your smart phone, and when you get the email you can view the real time web camera event on your smart phone. The applications are many, including training of your pets, knowing when your children are coming home, and knowing if anyone is moving in your driveway.

Image Quality Issues:
This is a very important point, and that is does the recorded image have enough quality to be helpful? If you are looking at your front door, you are close, it will not require special camera, but if you are recording the view of your gas station, and you want to see who is driving off with a stolen bike, you will be able to find the video, but the image quality will not be enough to figure out who it is. There are so many issues here to discuss including proximity to the view area, lighting, weather, camera resolution are just a few.

Proximity to View Area:
Get as close to the view area as possible, if you cannot get close to the view area you will have to use a special zoom lens option to allow the camera to zoom in close enough to view the area window. Work your angles and make sure to maximize the zoom area to get the image you are focusing in a big as possible and at the best angle.

Lighting in your View Area:
You have two problems you can run into here, too much sun light in the camera view, and not enough light for the camera view. Depending on if you are inside or outside have a bearing on how you should approach your lighting. First each AXIS brand web camera has Lighting, Contrast, and Color options to adjust for normal lighting conditions. Also each AXIS brand web camera has a lighting type like Indoor1, Indoor2, Outside1, and Outside2. You can select and view each color template type and see which one gives you the best image, and then adjust the contrast, color, and lighting settings to get the best view. For night viewing or lowlight viewing there are variables to set that process the video stream by adjusting the expose time and frequency to allow more or less light. The best thing to do is take the time at night to adjust the low light settings for the environment the camera is in. You will run into problems with bright lights, Sun, no light, but the camera is sensitive enough to get great image from a full moon alone. If you are more concerned with low light viewing put more night lights on the view area, or switch to a thermal night viewing system.

Outdoor Cameras and Weather:
The AXIS brand on Web Cameras has proven to be very durable harsh Colorado mountain environments. I can tell you they are not indestructible, and I will go over some problems we ran into over the last 12 years of using them in the field. If you are on a mountain top, and or roof, there is a chance that lighting hits are greatly increased. When and if it occurs, you can expect damage to not only the camera but the network feed to the router can also deliver damage beyond the camera. There are things that can be done including grounding, using non conductive housing and mounting systems, and adding trip breakers to the power and internet solution provided to the camera. All these extra steps are no insurance against a lighting hit and damage to your system. Heavy winds have been known to break the holding arms of the camera and new mounting brackets were required, but no physical damage to the camera or network was sustained. Heavy rain and snow have caused the view area to freeze over, but the AXIS webcams give off enough heat and the Colorado sun is so strong that within a few hours the view area melts off the ice and snow. One major problem in outdoor cameras is the Colorado sunlight. The sun in Colorado over time will burn out the iris of your camera which is the filter that opens and closes to allow more or less light into the lens. Over time the outdoor image will burn out and loose color. In some cases the image will no longer be able to use the iris and you will have to disable the function on the camera. In that case the camera will show are sharp red burn line across the screen when the sun is directly in the camera view.

Web Camera Resolution:
If you want your image to have enough information and resolution to be helpful when you are looking for evidence, you will want to have as much camera resolution as possible. Resolution of the camera is important when zooming in on an object; you will want the image to stay clear as you zoom. If the resolution is too low the image will become pixilated and not show enough detail. In order for the image to stand up in court, the resolution must be sufficient to zoom into the license plate or see the face of the suspect clearly. In some cases you can determine the car or suspect, but the resolution is no sufficient to stand up in a court of law. Early cameras had a max resolution of 640 * 480 which is not enough, but newer AXIS brand webcams can now record and broadcast at much higher resolutions 1280 * 800 and as much as 2048 * 1536. The higher the resolution the more time it takes to view and more storage space required to save.

Streaming Across the Internet:
When streaming video across the internet you have many issues to consider. First in order for it to work you will have to program the web camera and router to pass the streams to the outside world. You will also have to deal with more complex issues when adding more than one web camera. The more cameras you add the more taxation on the internet delivery. The more viewers that look at your camera live, the slower the camera can deliver the streams.

Viewing live on your Smartphone:
With smart phone technology available you can browse the internet and view your camera. Although it does not work on all smart phones currently because of limitations of viewing Java and Active X on your phone. Mac I Phones seem to work out of the box, but android and blackberry phones will need some configuring. We recommend you purchase a Web Cam Viewing App that will have the capability to show your cameras live on your Smartphone. Also, with motion detection triggering, your phone can be emailed if you have activity and you can view the desired camera live on your smart phone in real time.

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We have a proven track record of successful webcam deployment at all levels. From simple projects for home to complex custom programming, we can produce any project at any budget. We service all areas on the front range to the western slope of Colorado. On site service and install for Boulder, Broomfield, Westminster, Arvada, Wheat Ridge, Golden, Lakewood, Denver, Genesee, Black Hawk, Central City, Idaho Springs, Dumont, Georgetown, Silver Plume, Dillon, Silverthorne, Frisco, Vail, Eagle, Edwards, Wolcott, Gypsum, Dotsero, No Name, Glenwood Springs, New Castle, Silt,Rifle, Parachute, Battlement Mesa, De Beque, Carbondale, El Jebel, Basalt, Snowmass Village, Aspen, Redstone, and Marble