Why Is My Security Footage Low Quality?

With all the strides in security camera technology, why does most of the security camera footage released after a robbery at a gas station or bank look like it was shot with a mid-90s camcorder? In a bid to save money, many companies put off updating their security camera systems or opt to lower their image resolution for storage, resulting in low-quality surveillance footage that is almost unusable. Want security camera footage that can actually be used when an incident occurs? Here are a few steps you can take to capture high-quality images that can actually help police identify perpetrators and make your business more secure.

Surveillance video of a burglar breaking in

Outdated equipment

If it’s been a while since you installed your system and you’re struggling with how to improve the quality of your security footage, the answer to your problem may be staring you in the face. Outdated equipment can severely limit your ability to capture footage that is usable for police and your loss prevention teams.

Old analog security cameras send a video signal to your digital video recorder (DVR) which then processes the signal and records it. Analog cameras also require two cables (one for power and one for video) and a direct connection to your DVR. The result? Low frame rates and a limited platform of resolutions available.

Meanwhile, our standard 5MP IP security cameras encode the video signal at the camera itself and then send the video to the network video recorder (NVR). Replacing old, outdated analog cameras is surprisingly cost-effective. Since IP cameras don’t have to be directly connected to the NVR, they often require less work to install than your old analog system. Want to keep your existing cameras and add to your network? Our analog-compatible DVR is also compatible with new IP cameras. Even our standard IP camera resolutions are as good or better than the best analog options.

The question of storage

Storage issues are probably the greatest contributor to low-quality security camera video footage. In general, high-resolution cameras require more storage space. To get around having to spend more money on extra storage, many business owners opt to lower the resolution of the stored video – resulting in grainy surveillance footage.

While video can be compressed for storage to save space, you should be mindful of what may happen when you need to use that footage later. Running an HD camera 24/7 at its peak setting just isn’t feasible for many small businesses. High definition video takes up huge volumes of storage space. Most DVRs allow for variable recording quality, and lower quality recordings take up less space. That’s the option a lot of shop owners opt for. But it’s that lower quality option that is the biggest cause of blurry, pixelated security camera video. While the FBI recommends 640×480 minimum resolution for surveillance footage, you may find that this just isn’t enough to allow you or the police to definitively identify culprits in your business.

Our security camera experts work with you to determine the most cost-effective storage solution to meet your needs. For example, you can reduce your storage needs without compromising image resolution quality by setting cameras to record only when motion is detected instead of capturing footage constantly. A comprehensive site evaluation can also help you identify specific areas that require long-term storage while overwriting footage in other areas more often.

Be mindful of lighting

Lighting can be your security camera system’s best friend or worst enemy. Bad or low lighting can leave your cameras unable to capture clear, usable images, while excess or direct lighting can leave you with washed out images that are equally useless.

Security camera infrared

The areas covered by your security cameras should have light levels that are high enough to produce a usable image. Try to ensure that lighting sources are kept out of the camera’s field of view. Where possible, try to mount cameras below your lighting sources to prevent glare. Be particularly mindful of cameras in entryways and exits where bright sunlight can cause blooming and streaking, rendering portions of the field of view completely unusable. We also offer infrared cameras that can capture nighttime or extreme lowlight images that are not visible to the human eye. These black and white cameras can capture high-resolution images even without visible lighting.

Camera purpose

Two common purposes of cameras are theft deterrence and risk management. Whether worried about employees stealing from the cash drawer or customers shoplifting, business owners know the security cameras can be a deterrent to crime. Additionally, in a world where civil litigation is booming, security cameras provide a layer of risk protection in case of insurance or legal claims. In these cases, high resolution or top of the line cameras may not be an important consideration, with these business owners focused on doing the bare minimum with their system. If you want a high-quality security camera system for your business, then we can help.

Security cameras in use sign

Security Camera Now can help

Like most things in life, you get what you pay for in a security camera system. During our free one-hour site visit and security consultation, our security experts can help make sure that your camera selection and placement is appropriate and meets all of your security concerns. Our typical security camera system includes four or more cameras connected to a DVR or NVR and a hard drive for storage, but we can work within your budget and project needs to build the right system for you.

If you’re looking a one-stop shop for your security camera needs, look no further than the experienced professionals at Camera Security Now. Our camera service installation professionals deliver the camera solutions that your company needs, helping you ensure the security of your business, employees, and customers. To find out how easy it is to keep your company secure, request a quote today.

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