Using Multiple Cameras and Views to Capture the Evidence You Need
Installing security cameras is a common practice for businesses and residential areas. Whatever your reason may be for doing so, installing security cameras is a cost-effective way of monitoring activity in your area. With many security cameras available on the market today, you can even view a live feed from your mobile phone, giving you maximum control over your security.
Security cameras are especially helpful for monitoring activities in public areas. Research has shown that installing security cameras is virtually proven to reduce crime, even in areas beyond the camera’s coverage. The research focused on the Chicago and Baltimore area, and it was found that Chicago saved $4 in costs related to crime for every $1 spent on security cameras. The very sight of a security camera in a vulnerable area was enough to scare the criminal away on the suspicion that they could be seen and caught!
There are several types of security cameras: some more advanced than the others in terms of video quality, while others shine in terms of fields of view wide enough to scope a large area.
Here are some tips to using and choosing multiple security cameras to capture evidence.
Best Practices for Using Multiple Cameras to Capture Evidence
When it comes to making your security camera selections, there are a few first steps you should take into consideration. Specifically, determine your needs, identify areas of coverage, and be aware of privacy concerns.
Determine Your Needs
There are several types of security cameras, but the most basic distinction is between outdoor and indoor cameras. Each has special features designed to optimize the camera for the use it was designed for. Outdoor cameras, for example, are often far more resilient in the face of bad weather situations. And although you can use outdoor cameras indoors (such as in covered areas that are exposed to a lot of moisture and condensation), indoor cameras cannot be used outdoors.
Additionally, you may want to consider other features that could benefit your needs, depending on where you’re planning to mount your security camera and what kind of footage you intend to capture. For example, do you need features like motion detection or audio? Do you need night vision or even just low-light performance cameras? Make sure to have a basic understanding of your needs before evaluating specific options.
Identifying the Area of Coverage
After identifying the area you want to be covered, another thing that you need to determine is the kind of landscape that you want to capture. Do you want to capture a wide area in general or a small area in great detail? It’s important to know this distinction so that you can choose the ideal camera angle.
The technical term for the camera viewing angle is field of vision or view (FOV), which is measured in degrees. The FOV has an inverse relationship with the lens focal length, meaning that the larger the FOV, the smaller the focal length.
These can be broken down into 5 types:
Superwide-angle, or panoramic cameras,have FOVs of 180 degrees and above, which creates a sort of fisheye effect. These are best for outdoor surveillance since they can cover up to 360 degrees (meaning no blind spots). However, since the angle is so wide, images can be distorted. PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) cameras usually have superwide FOVs. Since they can cover a large area and can zoom into objects, these cameras are usually expensive. To make the most out of superwide-angle cameras, avoid placing them in or near corners, as walls will hinder its panoramic view. Also, make sure that the camera is located in the center of the monitoring zone, or else the images will be reshaped.
Wide-angle lenses cover FOVs between 60 to 110 degrees, and focal lengths of 25 to 10mm. These are also good for surveillance, although they will not cover up to 360 degrees like panoramic cameras. In general, wide-angle cameras capture more objects but less detail.
Standard/medium lenses have FOVs between 25 to 60 degrees and focal lengths between 65mm and 25mm. These capture better detail than wide-angle lenses and are best for general use.
Telephoto lenses have FOVs of 10 to 25 degrees and focal lengths between 160mm to 65mm. These larger, narrow-angle lenses capture a limited area but the objects appear more detailed. These types of lenses are recommended for capturing objects up close, such as doorways, hallways, cash registers, safes, and high-value displays.
Super telephoto lenses have FOVs of 1 to 10 degrees and focal lengths between 600mm to 160mm.
Besides field of view, you should also consider whether or not to get fixed or varifocal lenses. Fixed lenses have a set focal length, so it’s important to choose the correct FOV for your application. On the other hand, varifocal lenses allow the user to adjust the camera lens but are more expensive than their fixed lens equivalents.
In addition to the camera’s technical aspects, another thing that needs to be considered is privacy, especially when placing cameras in outdoor or public areas. Be conscious of the areas you're capturing.
Private owners may not want their lawns or second floors captured. It makes more legal sense to avoid pointing your cameras at areas where others expect to find privacy, to avoid lawsuits and other issues down the road. We recommend seeking legal advice from a lawyer if you have questions about your security cameras and your neighbors’ privacy concerns.
Final Thoughts: Using Multiple Cameras and Views to Capture the Evidence You Need
Security cameras are a must for businesses as they help capture events that human surveillance would necessarily fail to do, especially in hard-to-see areas or after business hours. When deciding which kinds of security cameras to purchase and deploy, the most important thing to consider is the areas to be captured so you can decide on what kind of camera or lenses will accomplish the job.
If you have questions about selecting the best camera for your needs, want to understand more about field of view, or are ready to make your purchase, we invite you to contact our team directly for assistance. We are always here to help!