The most important function of security cameras is to capture clear, sharp and completely visible footage. In some situations, normal surveillance cameras are not able to capture such dynamic footage. For example, there are cameras that capture wonderful footage in day time thanks to the bright sun. However, the same camera might perhaps not be able to record a perfectly visible footage at the time of the night outside the building.
If you would like to have your property monitored and protected by surveillance cameras at night as well, then you need to make sure that you do not have such cameras installed that need an absolutely lit environment to capture a footage. Obviously, if such cameras are installed at the premises, and an intruder attempts to pursue any illegal activity, the camera would not be able to capture clear and visible footage that might be used as an evidence in the court of law.
In order to avoid such situations, infrared security cameras are usually installed. Infrared surveillance cameras are also known as low light cameras. Certain misconceptions are also associated with infrared security cameras. Let us take a close look at these fallacies.
First of all, it is important to note here that there are different types and sorts of night-vision cameras. There are low light cameras, and then there are thermal imaging cameras and Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) Cameras. There are significant differences in these types of night vision cameras.
One of the key differences between a Low Light camera and Thermal Imaging camera is that the Low Light camera delivers an appropriate, clear and visible footage both at day time and night time due to the deployment of Infrared cut filters.
On the other hand, the Thermal Imaging cameras demonstrate the footage with the absolute heat differences. This is what makes the use of low light camera more sensible for surveillance purposes because thermal imaging cameras only show the heat differences instead of clear picture and vision of the intruder while the low light camera shows a clear vision of the people in the footage in day time and night time both.
Another renowned misapprehension regarding low light security cameras is pertaining to facial recognition. This means that the result of these cameras are always perfect facial images. You might have seen a lot of crime investigation shows on the television in which the cops receive perfectly high definition footage from the security surveillance department or company, and based on the clear visibility of the face of the culprit in the footage, the cops apprehend the culprit. However, in real life, things are not as easy as they seem to be on television shows.
Actually, in real life, although the footage might be much visible and clear, but it is not completely always the case that the quality of the footage shall be of such a nature that the face of the culprit or the intruder could be easily identified and used to find the person. Although there are high chances that the footage might display good quality face recognition, but again, it is not 100% sure. There are certain aspects on which the quality of the footage and the face recognition depends. These aspects include the exposure of light in the footage and the distance between the camera and the culprit.
Especially, the distance is one of the most important factor on which the quality and clarity of the low light security camera depends to a great extent. Sometimes people install cameras at such a point in the premises that a huge area of the premises could be monitored with a single camera. The thing is, such a huge area could be monitored with a single low light camera, but if a person who does any wrongdoing is not near the camera, like approximately fifteen yards, then although the footage shall be recorded with someone doing something, but the clear face will not be recorded and it could not be identified in the video. So the illegal activity, the intrusion or the wrongdoing might be recorded in the video footage, but the person won’t be definitely clearly identifiable. Moreover, the environment of the premises in which the camera is installed also plays a vital role here.
The quality of a security camera footage is to a great extent influenced by the exposure of light. This means that even in the time of night, it is not a very good idea to have the security camera installed at a place in the premises where there is no light at all.
Although apparently, having night vision cameras mean that the cameras should have the feature to capture images and footage at the time of night when it is dark, but still practically, even at the time of night, different sources of light can be used to make the environment a bit lit instead of completely bleak. For example, bulbs could be lightened up near the camera to allow the camera to capture footage with appropriate lighting. At certain situations, even the moon and the stars come handy and allow the camera to capture visible footage.
Although having low light cameras does not exactly mean that you do not need any light at all in order to capture footage at night, but still these night vision security cameras can be of great help in order to ensure the security and safety of a house or business place. A great deal of information and evidence can also be ensured through these surveillance systems.
If you only intend to have your premises to be monitored only at day time, or only at an environment that is completely bright and lit, then you can obviously choose to have normal high quality surveillance cameras installed at your place. But if the monitoring of the premises needs to be done at night or at a place which is not very bright and lit, then having low light cameras installed at the place should be a good option.
Ironically, according to facts and figures, as far as home security surveillance systems are concerned, most of the occasions on which the footage might be necessary occur at the time of night because usually thieves and robbers use darkness as their cover for performing illegal activities.
When installing low light night vision cameras, you need to make sure that the Infrared feature is powerful enough to capture a footage properly. Different vendors and manufacturers of such cameras claim to have perfect IR and they try to prove the power of the IR of the camera by mentioning the maximum range of the camera. Usually the maximum range of a camera can vary from 5m to 50m or even more. The point you need to consider here is, at maximum range, the camera will be able to capture the footage, but the quality of the footage at maximum range shall be ideal enough for facial recognition.
The trick is to have the security cameras installed at your place that have the maximum range of more than the range you wish to be monitored. For example, if you need to monitor an object or person that is at a distance of 20m from the point at which the camera shall be installed, then you should get a camera that has a maximum range of 30m or more.
Let’s make things more confusing. Purchasing night vision security cameras that have too strong IR is also not a good decision. Not many people are aware of this fact, but if the IR of a security camera is too powerful, more than the requirement, even then the quality of the video footage can be compromised and affected. The thing is, such cameras usually do not have the feature to adjust the brightness of the Infrared. So this means, if the camera has a very good maximum range, with a very powerful Infrared feature, a person standing very near to the camera will not be perfectly visible in the footage. His image might be excessively bright and might look washed out.
Usually night vision low light cameras have the built in feature to brighten the center of the image or video footage more, so that the focus remains on the center. This has a drawback though, that area of the footage besides the center is not of very high quality in night vision. This can sometimes be a problem when you use the lenses of the camera to zoom out. In this case, you need to remember that the corners of the footage might not be as bright and illuminated as the center of the footage.
Moreover, you should also remember to make sure that nothing unwanted obstructs the view of the camera. For example, a tree branch or something similar. If any such object is very near to the camera, it might affect the night vision and the camera might automatically try to brighten up the tree branch or the other obstructing object because obviously the camera does not know it does not need to focus on such objects, and on the other hand, the other view of the footage remains a bit dark.