One of the biggest trends in surveillance cameras is the emergence of the bullet camera. They have a more modern design, are smaller and just as good, if not better than many of their predecessors. While they can be installed anywhere, you probably see more of them outdoors than inside buildings. Since the first line of defense to protecting property comes from securing the property outside, it is critical to know what features a great outdoor camera surveillance system should have.
The Camera Must Be Able to See What People Cannot See
Many bullet cameras have the ability to record images at night when property crimes are most likely to occur. If you took a science class in high school, you may remember learning about the light spectrum and how one end of the spectrum had red light while the other end had violet light. This represented the part of the spectrum of light visible to humans and is only a small part of the entire light spectrum.
Violet light is at one end of the visible spectrum. This light has shorter wavelengths and higher energy than the other end which had red light with lower energy and longer wavelengths. Light with shorter wavelengths and higher energy than violet light includes ultraviolet, x-rays and gamma rays. For security camera purposes, we are not concerned as much with these types of light. Light with longer wavelengths and less energy than red light includes infrared (IR), microwaves and radio waves. It is IR light that specially equipped bullet cameras detect that makes them great for night surveillance.
The more heat an object has, the more IR light it reflects. All objects and living creatures have varying levels of heat, and therefore emit varying levels of IR light. An IR capable bullet camera captures all these different levels of heat and that image is converted to video that humans can see.
A man walking thorough a parking lot at night will likely have a different temperature than the surrounding area and will produce a distinct man-shaped image to an IR camera. Police departments can take advantage of this technology in helicopters equipped with IR cameras. It allows them to find cars that have recently been driven because they can see the heat off the engine or locate suspects hiding in a field or park. This same technology is available in IR cameras that you can use to secure your property.
Because of the higher level of property crime at night, any outdoor security camera used in unlit areas must have IR capability for effective surveillance.
The Ability to Withstand the Elements is a Must
Even areas known for having great weather, like San Diego, have their share of days with bad weather. No matter where you are located, any bullet camera used for outdoor surveillance must be rated for harsh weather conditions, which can damage camera components in a number of ways.
The last thing that anything electronic should be exposed to is water, and you don’t need to be exposed to rain for it to occur. The right combination of humidity and temperature can cause condensation in any unprotected system. This can damage electrical parts and cause the camera lens to fog up.
To avoid these problems, an outdoor bullet camera should be sealed to keep moisture and dust out. If the ambient air is too moist, you definitely want to avoid sealing it inside your camera. Some vendors provide charging kits that allow you to fill the interior of the camera housing with a gas like dry nitrogen before sealing the camera unit closed.
Your outdoor camera should have an IP66 rating. This indicates that the enclosure can keep dust out and withstand water coming from heavy seas or jets, more than enough protection in most weather conditions. Temperature extremes are also a problem. Many units come with internal heaters that automatically activate when the temperature is too cold. When the temperature is too hot, many cameras use sun shields to keep the unit as cool as possible.
Bullet cameras have become popular for their aesthetic appeal and their technological advances. With the right model, you can setup surveillance cameras that can capture video day or night and in almost any weather condition.
Guest writer Erik Johnson is a 25 year veteran of the security and surveillance industry. His focus is assisting home owners and business owners in taking the steps to better secure their most valuable assets.