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Security PACE Book 3 - CCTV Systems and Control Concepts

Security PACE Book 3 - CCTV Systems and Control
CCTV Systems
and Control
Concepts CCTV Systems and Control Concepts is Book Three in this PACE series on Security
Basics. It was designed to cover the basic concepts, technologies and applications of
CCTV systems.
CCTV System
Learning Objective
Cameras After completing this PACE Book, you should be able to:

Lens Technology identify the three (3) components of CCTV systems and describe their functional
Light list peripherals commonly used with CCTV systems
list the three (3) possible functions a customer wants a CCTV system to provide
describe the basic considerations influencing a CCTV system design
explain the three (3) functions required to create a video image
Monitors describe the function and advantages of a CCD (Charge-Coupled Device)
given industry standard camera (CCD) formats, identify and describe their individual
Transmission features and applications
Mediums list and explain the three (3) primary considerations in selecting a camera
describe the four (4) secondary factors that affect image quality
list the environmental factors that contribute to the selection of an appropriate
CCTV camera/lens configuration
Accessories given the two (2) principles of illumination, reflected light and available light, define
their role in the design of CCTV systems
Signal list the factors to consider in selecting monitors
Management distinguish between the types of transmission media, their capacities, limitations
and applications
explain the three (3) most important considerations when selecting an enclosure
describe the unique requirements of fixed and pan-tilt-zoom cameras, and how they
are used
given types of control/signal processing equipment, identify, select and apply the
equipment to technical requirements

Use the Menu at left to navigate through the course.

CCTV System Definition

CCTV System Definition

Select the first topic below to begin this lesson:

● System Definition
● Basic System Performance Issues
● Structure of Video


System Definition
CCTV — Closed Circuit Television — has become a
prime tool in modern security systems. In the past few
decades, technological advances have made video
monitoring systems much more effective for security and
much more affordable. This book introduces CCTV
concepts and equipment. It highlights the capabilities and
limitations of each component of a CCTV system.

The most basic CCTV system consists of a:

camera (imaging device)

transmission medium (connecting cable)
monitor .

Larger, more complex CCTV systems: (1 of 5) [10/16/01 9:10:52 AM]

CCTV System Definition

utilize many more cameras (which may be remotely

may include multiple viewing points (monitors,
controllers, multiplexers)
use a variety of transmission mediums to send the
signal from the camera to viewing device (coaxial cable,
fiber optic, twisted pair, even phone lines or wireless
transmission via microwave).

In most systems, peripherals provide additional

capabilities. Recorders allow video images to be stored.
Printers generate "hard copy" of selected images.
Switching devices allow operators to select specific
cameras and direct their output to specific monitoring
devices. Controllers permit operators to point the camera
at an area of interest and to zoom in or out.
CCTV System Definition

Basic System Performance Issues

Regardless of the technologies used in designing and
implementing a CCTV security system, there are a
number of issues that must be addressed in all situations.
First, what information does the customer want the
system or component to provide? There are three (3)
possible answers:

Detection - indicate something is happening in the field

of interest
Recognition - determine exactly what is happening
Identification - determine who is involved in the activity.

Each of these three answers can effect the type of

equipment selected for a given CCTV application. In
addition, there are other basic considerations that will
influence CCTV system design — and, of course, the
customer's budget. These basics include:

Required quality of representation of field of interest

Environment in which the equipment will be used
Size of the field of interest to be viewed
Available light — and need for supplemental lighting
Power source.

Again, each of these will influence the CCTV design. For

example, if a "truer" representation of a scene is required,
design specifications might call for color as opposed to
Black and White cameras.* Each additional consideration
also has a significant impact on component selection
CCTV System Definition

criteria. By the conclusion of this book, you will have an

understanding of what system designers must consider
as they develop a CCTV system.

* More detail and resolution can be acquired using a

lowlight level Black and White Camera. However, to
support shoplifting litigation color cameras are required to
properly identify perpetrators. As a rule of thumb, color
cameras and monitors should be used in systems that will
be used for identification purposes.

Structure of Video
CCTV System Definition

The most basic piece of information regarding "video" is its

structure. As shown in the figure, all video motion images are
actually made up of still images — or frames. Each frame, in
turn, is composed of two (2) fields. When these two fields are
properly synchronized and interlaced in a 2:1 ratio they form a
complete still frame of video. Video cameras use AC voltage
to synchronize this process of creating motion video. In
countries using 60 Hz (cycles) alternating current, each
second of video contains 60 fields forming 30 frames. In
Europe and other regions using 50 cycle, there are 50 fields
and 25 frames of video per second. To the human eyes, these
frames of video appear as moving images.

Select the first topic below to begin this lesson:

● Camera Technology
● CCD Function
● Camera Ratings
● Camera Options
● Camera Sensitivity
● Illumination
● Camera Resolution
● Other Camera Issues


Camera Technology
Video cameras were once large, heavy devices requiring
high levels of power, with multi-wire cabling to transmit
signals to and from the camera. The image sensor was a
large photocathode tube. Such tubes, which are still in
use today, are susceptible to jarring or vibration. Even
minor bumps to a tube camera can seriously degrade
image quality. In addition, tube cameras aimed at the
same scene for long periods experience "burn-in." The
image, especially from bright or linear shaped objects,
permanently sensitizes the image sensing tube, so that a
"ghost" of an object appears to be present in the scene

even if it is removed.

Today, with advances in technology, cameras can be

smaller than a lipstick case, with minimal power
requirements, high resolution, and high image stability.
But despite all the improvements, the functions required
to create a video image remain the same.

lens - a means of gathering the light reflected from a

image sensor - a device to convert the light image to
electronic signals
processing circuitry - to organize, optimize, and transmit
those signals.

CCTV cameras are available in both monochrome (black

and white) and color. Monochrome affords the following

Higher resolution
Requires less light
Lower cost

Color, on the other hand, offers:

Better overall representation of a scene (with proper

Better capabilities for identification and prosecution

CCD Function
The preferred camera for use in CCTV security applications
today has no tubes; instead, the camera is designed using all
integrated circuits. The electronic component replacing the
image sensing tube is, in most instances, a CCD (Charge-
Coupled Device).

A CCD is actually an integrated circuit containing hundreds of

thousands of tiny light sensitive receptors. This grid of
receptors breaks an image into picture elements (pixels).
When individual receptors are "excited" they emit electrons.
The amount of electrons emitted varies according to the
amount of light hitting the surface at any given moment. A

receptor being excited by a lot of light emits a higher voltage

(more flowing electrons) than one being excited by lower
levels of light.

In a simplified explanation of the process, electrical impulses

generated by the CCD are processed and outputted from the
camera in a rigidly defined manner. Monitors and other output
devices then reprocess the incoming information in the same
defined manner, thus creating a representation of the image
"seen" by the camera.

While CCD cameras are being used more and more, many
CCTV security systems still employ tube cameras. For most
companies which use tube cameras, there is no reason not to
upgrade to CCD cameras. Tube cameras are no longer
manufactured and CCD cameras are economically priced.
CCD cameras offer the following:

less susceptibility to shock and vibration

lower power requirements (because they are solid state)
no distortion of the image
highly resistant to image "burn-in"
greater sensor reliability (requires less maintenance)
longer overall life cycle than a tube camera
can be used in a wide range of lighting conditions

Camera Ratings
The primary way of identifying cameras is by image
sensor size. The current standards are listed in the figure.
These dimensions refer to the diagonal size of the image
sensing device, either tube or CCD. The image lens or
size effects the camera's light sensitivity (the amount of
light required to process an image) and resolution (a
measure of image detail and quality).

With advances in technology and increasing

miniaturization, these standard sizes continue to shrink,
allowing for even smaller camera packages. This is due

to higher yields in silicone wafer chips, resulting in chips

with equal sensitivity at lower costs.

Camera Options
Proper camera selection for a CCTV system is of course
important for maximum system effectiveness. On the
other hand, with the range of cameras available, it is
possible to select "over-qualified" cameras, that is,
cameras with more capabilities than are actually required.
By selecting cameras with features which closely match
the needs of a given job, significant cost savings may be
realized and the system may be expanded or otherwise
enhanced as a result. Therefore, in selecting a camera, it

is important to know why, where, and under what

conditions a camera will be used. Specific camera
features and capabilities can then be matched to the
customer's needs.

Camera Sensitivity
Sensitivity describes a camera's ability to "make pictures" in
varying levels of light. The higher the sensitivity, the less light
is required by the camera to produce usable images.

The terms, "usable video" and "full video" are often heard in
discussions of sensitivity. An image that contains some
recognizable detail but also has dark areas with no observable
detail may be classified as "usable." As shown in Figure 3-8,
using a camera with higher sensitivity (or adding light to the
same scene) will immediately cause details to appear where
there was formerly just blackness. When all objects in an
image are all visible, it is described as "full video." Most
customers want their systems designed to full video
standards. Full video is 7.14 volts peak to peak + 100 IRE (1

IRE = .714 mvolt). (IRE is Institute of Radio Engineers.)

While there may be some subjectivity in determining usable

video, light can be measured scientifically. Camera sensitivity
is, therefore, expressed in terms of the level of light required to
produce usable or minimal quality video. Most camera
specifications provide usable and full video light levels.
Therefore, when considering camera sensitivity, it is important
to know the lighting conditions in which the camera will be
used (see "Illumination" below). Camera selection should
include determination of how high the sensitivity must be to
produce usable video with the minimum amount of light
available at the surveillance location.

Note there are cameras available which can produce images

in extremely low light level. Some CCD cameras (using
intensifier CCD's) can produce images with just the
illumination from starlight. Specialized tube cameras can even
produce images with less light. More typical cameras have
more than enough sensitivity to function well in standard
industrial or corporate settings.

Illumination refers to the light falling on a scene. Strictly
speaking, illumination is not a camera function; however, it is a
critical issue when considering which camera to select for a
given area. Adequate illumination is essential to acquiring
images which allow security personnel to monitor an area
(detection), observe activity at the location (recognition) and
identify specific actions, objects or persons (identification).
Keep in mind that the camera (like the human eye) actually
processes reflected light (Figure 3-9), that is, light reflected off
objects and persons in the field of view.

We will discuss additional lighting issues later, but for now, we

simply want to note the following: the amount of illumination

available — in conjunction with the camera's sensitivity — is

crucial information when selecting a camera for a given
application. Illumination and sensitivity have an inverse
relationship: more light, less sensitivity is required .. less light,
higher sensitivity is required.

Camera Resolution

As suggested in the figure, resolution is a means of

defining image sharpness and detail. The higher the
resolution, the better the definition and clarity of the
picture. A system within the camera "scans" an image in
a series of lines running horizontally. Each horizontal line
is made up of a number of elements. Once one line is
scanned, the second line is scanned and so on.
Resolution is a measure of the quantity of both the
individual lines and the component elements making up
each line. In a CCD camera, resolution has a direct
relationship to the number of pixels on the CCD image

Resolution measures the number of horizontal lines a

camera uses to produce an image. Horizontal resolution
measures the number of elements making up each
horizontal line. Vertical and horizontal resolutions typically
yield a 3:4 ratio relationship; e.g., 600 lines vertically, to
800 elements in each line. Resolutions for CCTV security
cameras are usually in the 320 to 470 line range. Special
high resolution cameras can generate up to 800 lines and
higher per image scan.

The higher the camera's resolution, the more detail is

visible (because the lines are closer together and there
are more elements in each individual line). Lower
resolution cameras produce images with less detail;
however, do no confuse resolution with focus or lens
quality. Resolution is a technical measure of a camera's
electronic design and function. It is a major factor in
image quality, although other factors contribute as well.
Light levels, lens quality, monitor resolution, and even the
medium of transmission can all effect the way an image

ultimately appears to a viewer.

Other Camera Issues

In addition to the primary considerations when selecting a
camera, there are four (4) other factors that affect image
quality. These include:

Manual and electronic adjustments

Electronic iris/Automatic shutter
Backlight compensations
Digital Signal Processing

Manual and As with all sophisticated electronic

Electronic components, periodic adjustments to
Adjustments a camera may be required to
maintain its optimum performance.
On some cameras, these
adjustments must be done manually.
Newer cameras permit a limited
amount of adjustments to be made
electronically from remote locations.
The benefits to this are clear:

Immediate corrections can be made

as required
Adjustments are instantly made
from one central location

Consider a camera mounted on a

pole in a parking lot. A technician can
make such adjustments to this
camera with no concern for the
weather, and without having to climb
a ladder or use a personnel lift.
Valuable time is saved, the change of
injury reduced, and there are fewer
interruptions to the security operation.
However, this can be done only with
high-end cameras that have
advanced technology using a matrix
switches with a software control
Electronic Iris The iris controls the amount of light
striking the face of the image sensor.
It deals with the quantity of light. It is
either a mechanical (manual) or
electro-mechanical (automatic)
component of the lens. If too much
light hits the image sensor, the image
"burns out" (the image is all white or
portions of the image are "too hot,"
that is, all light colored surfaces may
lose all detail). Closing the iris
corrects this. At the other extreme,
too little light hitting the image sensor
results in a black image or one in
which only the brightest objects are
visible. Opening up the iris corrects
this situation.

Irises may be manual or automatic in


their operation. In cameras with

automatic (electronic) iris control,
circuitry continuously samples the
amount of light hitting the image
sensor and opens or closes the iris
accordingly. Auto Iris is especially
valuable in setting where light levels
are constantly changing — exterior
locations for example.

Automatic Automatic shutter control adds further

Shutter flexibility to a camera. It deals with
the quality of light.

Remember basic high school

science, "white light" is actually made
up of several colors — the colors of
the rainbow. Each has a specific
wavelength. Sunlight is said to be the

most "pure" form of white light, that

is, each wavelength is present in
roughly equal amounts. However, in
other types of light (fluorescent,
household light bulbs, sodium vapor
streetlights, etc.), wavelengths are
unequally represented. While the
human eye is able to compensate for
many of these differences, a color
camera cannot without specialized

As shown in the figure with a color

camera, these differences are
extreme, possibly resulting in
significantly degraded image quality.
Where auto irises adjust for light
quantity, automatic shutters
compensate for changes in light
quality. Thus, an external camera
with automatic shutter control is able
to produce accurate images of
activity in a parking lot in daylight as
well as under artificial illumination.

Electronic Iris and Automatic Shutter

have become more marketing lingo
than actual functions. There are
several spins on these functions,
"Super Shutter, Super Iris", etc.

Electronic Iris is actually an automatic

iris function that resides in the

camera instead of in the lens. An

Automatic Iris lens measures the
video signal strength of the camera
and then decides to open or close.
The intelligence is in the lens itself.
Realizing that the information needed
already exists in the camera,
manufacturers developed electronic
iris functions within the camera. To
accompany this added feature, lens
manufacturers have developed
"dump" auto iris lenses. More
appropriately, simply motorized or
"DC" lenses. The decision is made in
the camera about the iris opening
and voltage rather than in the lens.
This technology combination results
in lower cost.

Automatic shutter is similar in

operation but doesn't involve the lens
directly. Shuttering is a function of the
camera. Basic cameras sample, or
look, at an image at a rate of 60 times
per second, a shutter speed of 1/60.
Digital technology, which already
exists in the camera, has been
enhanced so that this circuit can now
analyze the video signal and, if
needed, change the sampling rate of
the image up to 100,000 times per
second. This allows darker images to
be "digitally" sampled more, utilizes

existing light, and produces better


Backlight Backlight is light which is behind the

Compensation object of interest in a scene. This can
be a major problem, especially in
cameras with automatic iris control
because the camera will often adjust
to keep the bright background within
acceptable levels.

Consider a camera aimed at a door

at the end of a dark hallway. When
someone opens the door and steps
into the hallway, the camera will try to
compensate for the sudden bright

exterior background. The result will

be the person in the doorway will
appear silhouetted and lose detail in
"shadow." In extreme cases, there
may be no discernible detail at all.
Cameras must have backlight
compensation to overcome this

Backlight compensation is composed

of camera circuitry which samples a
scene and makes an assumption that
objects in focus are the objects of
interest and that light levels should be
optimized for these objects.
Extremely high background light
levels are selectively shut down while
maintaining optimum levels on the
objects of interest.

Digital Signal Many cameras today employ digital

Processing signal processing. This circuitry
allows elements of the video signal to
be enhanced or stabilized, thus
improving overall image quality when
delivered to the monitor. Digital signal
processing can be valuable in
improving images of low light level
scenes. In addition, video signals
which are digitized may be sent over
longer distances using standard
transmission mediums without the
degradation associated with standard
analog video signals.
Lens Technology

Lens Technology
Select the first topic below to begin this lesson:

● Lens Technology
● Mounts
● Focal Length
● Lens Selection


Lens Technology
The lens is essential for creating video images. A camera
lens is the mechanical equivalent of the lens in the human
eye. It controls the amount of light hitting the image
sensor (retina, in the eye) and keeps objects of interest in

The characteristics of a particular lens determine the

portion of an area "seen" by the image sensor, where the
focus will be, the magnification (if any) of the objects of
interest, and the amount of light striking the image

The lens is designed to be used with specific image

sensor sizes (1", 2/3", 1/2", 1/3"). The figure identifies the
basic components of all lenses. Every lens is composed
Lens Technology

of a barrel, one or more glass lenses, an iris or aperture,

and a mount. The barrel prevents extraneous light from
hitting the image sensor. It also provides the means for
mounting the lens to the camera. It houses the mechanics
which allows the lens to be adjusted. The glass lenses
define the image area, its size, shape and focus. As
discussed above, the iris (also referred to as the aperture)
controls the amount of light striking the image sensor.

Lens Technology

For decades the standard video mount has been the C

mount. Today, a new mount — the CS Mount — in
replacing the C mount as the standard for small format
(smaller image size) cameras. As shown in the figure, the
major difference in the two mounts is that the CS mount
puts the back flange of the lens 5 mm closer to the image
sensor. With the use of an adapter, C mount lenses can
be used on CS mount cameras; however, the reverse is
not true: CS-type lenses cannot be used on C mount
cameras. Finally, CS mount lenses are generally less
expensive than C mount lenses.
Lens Technology

Focal Length
Lenses may be categorized by both their focal length and
aperture opening. Focal length (fL) is the distance between the
center of the lens and the image sensor. Focal length
measurement is expressed in millimeters. This is an important
measure. Lenses are defined as normal, wide angle, or
telephoto according to their focal length. For a 1/3 inch format
camera, an 8mm lens, for example, is a wide angle lens, that
is, it "sees" a wide field of view. On the other hand, a 1000mm
lens on the same camera in the same location see a much
narrower field of view, although the objects are significantly
magnified. The longer the focal length, the greater the
magnification. Zoom lenses are actually variable focal-length

Focal length is one of three factors that are closely related and
of crucial important in designing a CCTV installation. The other
two related factors are camera placement and desired field of
view. Changing one of these factors results in a change in the
other two. For example, by increasing the camera distance
from the area of interest or by decreasing the focal length of
the lens, it is possible to enlarge the field of view. Conversely,
by moving the camera closer to the area of interest or by
increasing the lens focal length, the field of view if reduced
(and magnified).

As discussed earlier, the iris (or aperture) opens or closes to

adjust the amount of light striking the face of the image
sensor. Although there are some fixed aperture lenses, most
are adjustable using a ring which can rotate around the lens
Lens Technology

barrel. Aperture control may be either manual or automatic. In

addition, some cameras allow an operator to control the iris
from a remote location. Aperture opening are expressed in f-
stops. The smaller the f-stop, the larger the opening and the
greater light transmission, and vice versa — the larger the
number, the smaller the opening, with less light being
transmitted through the lens. Note that aperture opening may
also be referred to as "speed" — a somewhat confusing term,
since nothing is actually moving faster in a "fast" lens than in a
slow one.
Lens Technology

Lens Selection
Proper lens selection requires four specific pieces of

Camera format
Mount format
Distance from subject to image sensor
Height and/or width of scene.

Camera format (measures as size of the image sensor)

and mount format are "nuts and bolts" issues. Generally,
in designing a system, the latter two items — distance to
subject and size of field of interest — are the primary
considerations. Lenses are then selected according to
those parameters, making sure that the selected lens
matches the camera, both in camera format size and type
of mount. This is true when both lens and camera are
being purchased. If a new lens is being purchased for an
existing camera, then obviously only lens mating with the
existing camera can be considered. The fact is, a lens
which meets the requirements of distance and field of
view size should be available in each mount and camera
Light Considerations

Light Considerations
Select the first topic below to begin this lesson:

● Light Source Comparison

● Reflected Light

Light Source Comparison

There are two aspects of light which effect camera


The quantity of light is fairly obvious: adding light makes a

scene brighter generally produces a better video image
(unless the amount of light is extremely high or the
lighting is uneven). The quality of light was discussed
earlier. To summarize the earlier discussion, not all light
is the same; cameras must be able to compensate for
different types of light with special circuitry.

In addition to the range of light visible o the human eye,

cameras can "see" certain "invisible" wavelengths of light
— infrared, for example. Some cameras are specifically
designed to enhance these invisible wavelengths, thus
producing higher quality images in low levels of "visible"
Light Considerations


Light — its quantity and quality — is always an issue in

designing CCTV security applications. In addition, other
factors must be considered if additional lighting is
required at a given location. The Light Comparison chart
in the figure lists several types of lighting and their
characteristics — both in terms of optical performance
and practical features such as average life and operating
cost. Selection of specific type of lighting depends on the
demands of the application, budget, maintenance issues,

Reflected Light
Light Considerations

The camera, like the human eye, actually sees reflected

light. Light strikes an object, bounces off it, and that light
passes through the lens, strokes the image sensor and
creates an image. Different materials reflect light at
different rates. A black cloth, for example, is black
because it absorbs all of the light, and reflects very little.
A red object is seen as "red" because it reflects that
specific wavelength and absorbs all the others. A white
object reflects virtually all light. Finally, because different
light sources may emphasize certain wavelengths, the
light source itself affects reflectance, color, and overall
illumination. So far, our examples have dealt with objects
of "pure" color. The figure lists several common areas or
objects and the reflectance values, that is, the percentage
of light reflected off them. Also man-made materials tend
to reflect more light that natural objects. This is especially
true in fabrics. Cotton or wool will absorb light, while
polyester or rayon will reflect light.


Monitor Size and Recommended Viewing

While CCTV monitors may appear similar to standard
television sets, they generally have no tuner circuitry;
therefore, they can only generate images from direct
composite video input. (Some recent models do
incorporate TV tuners, although this is certainly the
exception, not the rule.)

Monitors may be either black and white (monochrome) or

color. In the past, virtually all security CCTV monitors
were B&W (as were CCTV cameras), although current
trends point to an increasing use of color. Care should be
taken to avoid mixing B&W cameras and color monitors.
Linking a high resolution B&W camera to a color monitor
of lower resolution produces images of poor resolution
and lower quality.

Monitors are available in a variety of sizes ranging from 5

inches to 27 inches. In systems having a dedicated
monitor for each camera, the monitors are typically small
— 9" diagonal measure, for example — with perhaps one
larger monitor to allow the operator to "call-up" a specific
camera to view in greater detail. Larger monitors allows
for effects such as split screen viewing where two or more

video sources are displayed simultaneously on one

monitor. In the past, a frequently cited "ideal" design for
security applications called for one monitor for each
camera; however, today systems increasingly use large
monitors in conjunction with new multiplex and quad
compressor technology to view several video sources on
one screen. Fewer monitors can mean reduced
maintenance cycles and lower initial cost, although
multiplexing and compressor technology will offset this.
Also recent studies have reinforced the fact that operators
can not effectively view and comprehend more than three
(3) monitors for more than 45 minutes continuously.

Monitor size also has a bearing on the design of the

operation center where the monitors are located. Smaller
monitors will require that the operator be closer to them in
order to see detail within the image. The figure lists
common monitor sizes and the recommended viewing
distance from the operator to the screen.

Just as cameras scan an image in a series of horizontal

lines, monitors draw information on the screen in scanned
lines. Smaller monitors put these lines closer together
than larger monitors, therefore the smaller the monitor,
the higher the resolution. Also, as a general rule, the
resolution of monitors will exceed the resolution of most
CCD cameras.

A final note regarding monitors: the home television

market has a direct bearing on the monitor market.
Picture tubes, specifically, are built to the less demanding
specifications of the consumer market, and therefore are
likely to have a shorter lifespan than other CCTV

Transmission Mediums

Transmission Mediums
Signals from the camera to the monitor and other devices are typically
transmitted by coaxial cable, fiber optic cable, twisted pair wire or
microwave. Special CCTV applications may utilize other transmission

Select the first topic below to begin this lesson:

● Coaxial Cable
● Fiber Optic Cable
● Twisted Pair Wire
● Microwave
● Telephone Network


Coaxial Cable
Transmission Mediums

Coaxial cable ("co-ax") is by far the most common method of

transmitting video signals from the camera to the monitor or
other video processing devices. Coaxial cable consists of a
single wire surrounded first by a nonconductive insulating
layer (dielectric), then by a braided wire shield, and finally a
plastic or rubber covering. Note that CCTV applications
require cable of the highest quality materials and manufacture.
Both the center conductor and the braided shield must be
copper. Aluminum foil-wrap shield, which is used in some
consumer cable applications, does not meet CCTV

As reported in the chart of coaxial cable specifications in the

figure, direct-run distances of up to 2,000 feet can be
achieved, depending on the gauge of the cable. (The heavier
the cable the lower the signal loss, and thus, the longer the
run.) Cable runs across greater distances are possible,
although this requires the use of amplifiers inserted in the line
between the camera and monitor.

Poor quality cable can have a serious impact on reliability and

image quality. In addition, other factors can effect system
performance. Because transmission through coaxial cable is
electrical, it is susceptible to RFI (radio frequency interference)
and EMI (electro-magnetic interference). Signal loss occurs
along the course of the cable and it is possible for
unauthorized persons to acquire the video signal either
through these emissions or by directly tapping into the cable.

Care should be taken in properly grounding the entire CCTV

system when using coaxial cable or any other form of
electrical signal transmission. Improperly grounded devices
and cabling can result in ground loop effects (RFI/EMI
Transmission Mediums

interference) and other potentially damaging effects.

Fiber Optic Cable

Transmission Mediums

Fiber optic cable is lightweight and made up of a single

spun glass or plastic fiber or a group of such fibers
encased in a protective covering. It has a broad
bandwidth making it ideal for carrying video signals. In
fact, a single fiber cable can carry several video signals,
or a combination of video, audio and data, this is
dependent upon the transmitters and receivers used in
the application.

Fiber optic cable can transmit signals up to six (6) miles

without amplification. Because it transmits modulated
light, the video signal coming from the camera must first
go through a fiber transmitter which converts electrical
signals to light impulses. A fiber receiver at the other end
is required for conversion back into electrical signals.

Fiber optic cable is immune to RFI and EMI and other

types of electrical interference. Grounding is not an issue
with fiber optics. Furthermore, in systems designed with
top-of-the-line components, fiber optic cable has high cost-
performance ratios. In low end systems, this may not be
the case and the expense of fiber optic cable may not be
warranted. Fiber optic cable requires extremely precise
installation. Even the most minor damage to the cable or
sharp bends can cause a major degradation of the
Transmission Mediums

Twisted Pair Wire

Twisted pair wire is exactly that: two wires, twisted together.
They are most often 22 or 24 (AWG) gauges in size. When
using twisted pair for video transmission, use only shielded
twisted pair and only use the wire to connect one camera to a
monitor or other device; that is, the twisted pair must be
dedicated solely to this particular video camera. While the per
foot cost of twisted pair wire is lower than coaxial cable, it
requires signal conversion devices (transmitter and receiver)
at either end of the wire run. Twisted pair wire can be used in
runs of up to 5,000 feet. By using repeaters at least every
4500 feet, twisted pair can be used over greater distances.

Twisted pair, like other electrical transmission mediums, may

Transmission Mediums

be susceptible to various forms of interference and

unauthorized acquisition of the signal. A final note:
performance is compromised when wires are routed through a
telephone switching station.

Transmission Mediums

Microwave transmission is line of sight. It involves transmitting

a narrowly focused radio signal from the camera transmitter to
a receiver. Signal strength may degrade because of fog, rain,
even flocks of birds and other factors. These problems can be
overcome by a proper design and properly selected
components. Because of this, the transmission distance is
always determined with a "margin of safety" — technically
called a freznel zone. Thus, microwave transmission is, at
best, a mid-range medium (in the 2,500 foot range). Greater
distances may be achieved by using repeaters.

While some newer, low power systems do not require FCC

licensing in the U.S., most microwave technology does, with
similar requirements in other countries. Depending on its
specific configuration, a microwave systems can transmit
video, audio and/or data.

Microwave transmission is only appropriate in special

applications. The chief reasons for using microwave are if
conventional "hard-wired" options are impossible or extremely
expensive. Consider a company having its CCTV operations
base in a building in St. Louis, with requirement to monitor a
company building in East St. Louis across the Mississippi.
Microwave may be the most feasible solution in this situation.
Portable microwave systems may also be appropriate for short-
term usage — for example, providing coverage for a special
one-time event occurring in a remote part of the grounds of a
Transmission Mediums

Telephone Network
A final option for transmission of video signals is the use of the
world-wide telephone network. Standard voice grade
telephone lines have a narrow bandwidth. This means these
lines do not have enough capacity to handle full "real-time"
video. Nevertheless, phone lines still have value in specialized
CCTV applications. Many CCTV systems utilize "slow-scan"
video imaging. Instead of using the standard 30 frames per
second, slow scan video selectively skips frames. In addition,
each frame may be a lower resolution than standard video.
Digital compression can improve this transmission method

With constantly improving compression technology, it is now

possible to send video images more efficiently across the
phone network. Currently, one frame of video can be
Transmission Mediums

transmitted every 6 to 12 seconds over standard phone lines

at 28.8K bits per second.

Higher bandwidth quality ISDN (Integrated Services Digital

Network) phone lines combine two 56K "channels" for a total
transmission speed of 112K bits per second. This high speed
data transfer rate allows one frame of video to be transmitted
in approximately one second.

As of this writing, other high speed options have yet to realize

their full capability. These include T-1 or Fractional T-1 lines
and satellite. The T-1 family of technologies allow for multiple
56K channels to be combined to achieve wider bandwidths.

Current technology only allows use of two channels, effectively

limiting the T-1 output to that of ISDN. Satellite communication
technologies for CCTV applications remain in development.
Eventually, you will be able to send video, audio and data
transmissions over these mediums for CCTV systems.

As in fiber optic cable and twisted pair, conversion devices are

required for all these technologies using the telephone
network. In voice grade telephone lines, the video signal is
converted to audio signal, much as a modem converts digital
computer information to audible tones. In other telephony
transmission mediums, the signal is transmitted digitally.
Despite the current limitations of telephone transmission, it
does have one clear advantage: signals can be sent and
received (video, audio, and pan, tilt and zoom instructions)
anywhere throughout the global telephone network.
Transmission Mediums
CCTV Accessories

CCTV Accessories
Once basic decisions have been made regarding cameras, lenses,
monitors, and method of transmission, several other considerations
remain. The first of these decisions has to do with enclosures and/or
mounts for the camera and remote control positioning systems.

Select the first topic below to begin this lesson:

● Enclosures
● Mounts
● Remote Positioning Devices (RPD)


Enclosures serve two distinct functions. They protect the
camera and lens from environmental factors and they
disguise the camera and lens, thus minimizing the
possibilities of detection. Enclosures may be designed for
either exterior or interior use.

There are three important considerations when selecting

an enclosure:

the ability to protect the camera and lens from

CCTV Accessories

interior or exterior use
identification of specific environmental conditions at the
camera location

Tamper proof switches and lock kits address the first

concern. Enclosures are available in both interior and
exterior configurations. Although current cameras are
more rugged than older cameras, they are still
susceptible to a variety of environmental factors. Heat,
cold, humidity, dust, wetness, direct sunlight can all
degrade a camera's performance and shorten its
expected life cycle. To compensate for such
environmental conditions, a number of options exist for

coatings to resist salt or even radiation

heaters and blowers
sun shields
insulation packages
protective coatings such as Rain-X®

With respect to the last item, raindrops on the enclosure

window (through which the lens is aimed) can quickly and
seriously degrade visibility. These coatings help prevent
raindrops from building up.
CCTV Accessories

Mounts attach the enclosure and its contents to a stable
surface. Many are adjustable, permitting the camera to be
oriented for optimal viewing of an area. It is important that
the mount be both tamper resistant and stable.

Especially with a telephoto lens, even a small amount of

movement — vibration from machinery on the floor above
a mounted camera, for example — can severely degrade
image quality.

The mount must be matched to the weight and load

displacement of the enclosure and camera assembly,
again to ensure proper orientation and stability. Mounts
may have fixed or adjustable heads. Adjustable heads
allow the enclosure and/or camera to be positioned for
optimal viewing. Some of the most common mounts for
CCTV Accessories

interior applications include:

wall mounts
ceiling mounts - either flat (flush mount) or drop
parapet mounts
corner mounts
pole mounts

The figure shows some of these mounts.

Another type, the dome mount,<.i>, essentially combines

the functions of the mount and enclosure. The dome
mount is typically mounted on the ceiling and is made of
clear, mirrored or tinted material. Domes offer all the other
mounting configurations as well.

To review, selection of the proper enclosure and mount

depends on:

weight and load displacement of the camera package

actual surface or structure to which the mount will be
the environment in which the mount/enclosure/camera is
CCTV Accessories

Remote Positioning Devices (RPD)

CCTV Accessories

CCTV system operators have a distinct advantage in

monitoring events if they are able to move and refocus the
camera. It is only practical to do this be remote control. Such
remote control devices allow operators to pan (move the
camera side-to-side), tilt (move the camera up and down),
and zoom (change from wide angle to close-up). These
Pan/Tilt/Zoom capabilities are often referred to a "PTZ."
Note: when using telephoto lens or zoom lens extended to
telephoto, it is essential that the camera be capable of either
remote focusing or autofocus.

RPD units are available in several configurations:

355 degree (pans an almost complete circle, hits a stop,

then must pan back)
360 degree (pans continuously in any direction)
Present/Prepositions (sensors and motors in the drive-unit
automatically pan and tilt to pre-defined positions)
Auto-pan (automatic and continuous panning in a pre-
defined manner)
Scanners (pan, without tilt capability

Selecting which Remote Positioning Device is appropriate

for a given application requires assessing the type of
coverage needed, the environment, load, and power
requirements of the various system options. You must also
factor in that regular maintenance should be performed to
ensure its functionality remains constant.
CCTV Accessories
Signal Management

Signal Management
Select the first topic below to begin this lesson:

● Signal Management
● Switchers
● Matrix Switchers
● Quad Compression
● Multiplexing
● Video Recorders
● Video Recording
● Additional Signal Management Hardware


Signal Management
Signal Management is simply how the video signal is
controlled by the system, once it leaves the camera. If the
signal goes directly into one monitor, there is essentially no
management. If, however, an operator can intervene to
route the signal to one or more destinations (either
monitors, VCR's or other devices), then signal management
is in play.
Signal Management

Signal Management

The controllers used to route video signals are called

switchers. In their most primitive form, they are in fact little
more than mechanical switches; however, today these devices
can be highly sophisticated digital systems. They permit not
just one-to-one switching (one camera to a selected monitor),
but one-to-many (one camera to many output devices), and
even many-to-one or a combination of all of the above. Such
switchers may be operated manually or they may be driven by
a computer.

State-of-the-art CCTV switchers are generally programmable.

This permits functions or sequences of functions to occur at
specified times. For example, operators may program the
system to display images from a number of cameras in a set
sequence. Each image may be displayed for a set number of
seconds or frames. Thus, an operator viewing one monitor can
see the front entrance of a building, its lobby, a hallway
leading from the lobby, a stairway leading off the hallway, and
a doorway at the second floor landing of the stairway, all within
the space of a few seconds, with the sequence repeating
continuously until the operator requests a different sequence
or a specific camera location. In addition, frames from selected
sources may be recorded for purposes of logging and
archiving events.
Signal Management

Matrix Switchers
A new class of programmable CCTV switcher is the matrix
switcher. These utilize a CPU (Computer Processing Unit) to
manage the programming and control of the switcher's
operation. Matrix switchers generally permit many more video
source and output devices to be managed. Cross-point
switching allows any input to be directed to any single or
multiple output devices.
Signal Management

Quad Compression
As shown in the figure, quad compression allows four (4)
images to be displayed simultaneously on one monitor.
Such "split-screen" displays require careful selection of
monitors with respect the size and resolution. In addition,
while the quad compression video can be recorded, when
playing back, any of the four compressed images can
only be "expanded" to full frame using digital
enhancement. Notice that the monitor in the lower portion
of the figure displays a digitally expanded full screen
image. The image appears significantly degraded, and is
a result of the digital expansion process. This condition is
Signal Management

known as "pixelation."

Signal Management

Multiplexing affords methods of archiving video from several

source onto one videotape. This process uses "Time Division
Multiplexing" technology. Here individual frames from each
camera are encoded with a camera ID number, date and time.
As shown in the figure, the multiplexer cycles frames from
each source to the recorder at a rate faster than the human
eye can see. The actual number of frames depends on the
number of multiplexed cameras and recording rate of the
video recorder.

Viewing the playback of multiplexer recordings requires a

decoder ("D-mux," for De-MUltipleX). Operators can specify
which single or multiple images they wish to view full-screen.
The image may be degraded slightly, not a poorer picture, just
less frames depending on the number of cameras involved.
Full frame viewing is full resolution. Multiple camera call-up is
digitally compressed. In addition, multiplexed video can be
presented in a split-screen format on one monitor. The figure
shows a few of the many screen configurations possible in
multiplexed systems.
Signal Management

Video Recorders
Signal Management

Video recorders for CCTV security applications have the

ability to record at:

"real-time" frame rates (30 frames per second (fps) in

North America)
"near real-time" (20 fps)
time lapse.

Time lapse records only a specified number of frames per

second. This procedure allows a standard two hour video
cassette to record images from one camera over several
days. A standard 2 hour cassette is capable of recording
432,000 individual fields of video, i.e., (120 minutes X 60
seconds per minute) X 60 fields per second = 432,000. If,
instead of recording at the full 30 frames per second rate
(60 fields per second), the recorder "grabs" five (5) frames
of video every second, the same 2 hour tape will last 24
hours. A simple formula demonstrates how many fields
per second will be recorded given a desired time lapse
recording mode: 120/Mode = Fields per second where
120 represents the minutes of recording time on a
standard length tape, and Mode represents the total hours
desired to be archived on the tape. Note: the recording
mode is selected from a range of options by programming
the recorder. Refer to the figure for recording rates
available at various recording modes.
Signal Management

Video Recording
Video recording allows the end user to archive video
transactions for administrative, legal or liability reasons.
There are several methods and technologies used to
record video signals:

Standard 1/2" Video Tape

- VHS T-120, standard two hour tape
- S-VHS T-120, high resolution two hour tape (S-VHS
decks only)
- VHS T-160, extended play 8 hour tape. (Special tape
heads -
used only on machines rated for T-160 tapes)
Signal Management

8 mm - High resolution, exceptional detail

Hard Disk - PAC based, digitally compressed recording

There are also numerous methods or lengths of time that

can be recorded:

Real Time - Generally up to 8 hours - 30 frames per

Near Real Time, or Real Motion - up to 24 hours - 20 to
24 frames per second
Time Lapse - up to 960 hours from 20 fps to 1 frame
every 8 seconds

There is generally a lot of confusion around time lapse

recording. For real time recording, the tape is in constant
contact with the tape heads. The machine slows down the
tape feed to accommodate up to the eight hour mode.
After eight hours, it is no longer technically feasible to
slow down the tape feed. This is where time lapse
recording comes into play. Technically, time lapse is a
timing method in which the tape deck automatically
places the tape against the tape heads, then removes it
based on the desired time lapse mode. As the time lapse
mode increases, the length of time the tape is in contact
with the tape heads becomes shorter and the interval at
which this occurs becomes longer.

There is a sacrifice of video quantity and quality in the

time lapse mode. As the time mode increases there is
proportionately less video recorded, per camera.
Depending on the scene being viewed, not recording
every frame of video may be allowable. General
Signal Management

surveillance is a prime example.

To determine how much video is recorded use the

following formula:

T120 Tape/Time Lapse Mode (in hours) = # of Fields

per Second
Example: 120/12 hours = 10 fields (5 frames) per

Keep in mind this is for one video signal. If you have

multiple cameras on the system, the amount of video per
camera is reduced. In the above example, if the system
has five cameras, there would be only one frame on
video, per camera, per second. Once you have the frame
rate, divide by how many cameras are in the system for
actual frame per second/per camera. Having a time lapse
recorder with extended recording up to 960 hours may
sound great on a data sheet, however, recording 1 frame
of video every eight seconds is not reliable evidence.

As you increase the length of time of recording, resolution

is also sacrificed. There is no specific formula to
determine the loss of resolution. It is generally conditional
upon the quality of the video heads and the tape being
used. The quality of the tape heads is two fold. One is the
manufacturer; you get what you pay for. The second is
how clean the tape heads are. Regular service and a
clean environment will help produce better time lapse
recordings for longer periods of time.

The tape used for time lapse recording is very critical. Not
only for the quality of the recording, but also for the
Signal Management

maintenance of the deck itself. Many customers will want

to go out to a local mass merchant and purchase a ten
pack of consumer tapes for ten dollars. If they do, inform
them that this may void any warranty of the deck. This is
for a good reason. Consumer tapes have a thicker, more
pliable emulsion on the tape. They are meant to be used
only as a consumer product, several hours here and
there. When used on a continuous duty industrial deck,
the emulsion heats up and becomes sticky. This clogs
and scars the tape heads, resulting in a poorer quality
recording and shorter life span of heads. Industrial tapes
have a thinner, harder emulsion that is designed
specifically for continuous duty and matched to the style
of tape heads used in the security industry.

There is a new technology in time lapse recording called

"Real Time" 24-hour recording. This is a marketing twist
on human perception of "Real Motion." Real time video
frame rates are determined by the AC sine wave, 60
cycles or 50 cycles. When you go to the movie theater,
these 35mm films are at a rate of 24 frames per second.
The human eye can perceive real motion down to 20
frames per second. Recent technology advances have
made it possible to achieve "Real Motion" recording for a
period of 24 hours at a frame rate of 20 per second. The
catch is that they use T-160 tapes and tape transports,
motor and the over-all design is for this specific length of
time. They work extremely well. There is some confusion
when some manufacturers refer to them as "Real Time"
as opposed to "Real Motion."

Selection of recording technology and length of recording

time will be determined by the nature of the business.
Signal Management

Some industries, such as gaming and banking, have strict

guidelines concerning recording times and archiving.
Other industries are less formal, and the user usually
defines the criteria. There are some basic guidelines:

Determine the risk, safety and loss factors: cash

handling, parking area, dormitory, retail, etc.
Advise clients about the features and benefits of each
technology as they apply to their situation.
Assist client in weighing the cost/benefit, along with
liability factors.
Evaluate the result/cost of the realization of the
described risks if video is not recorded or frames are
Design the appropriate systems to handle their
Signal Management

Additional Signal Management Hardware

Signal distribution amplifiers boost the power of the signal
being transmitted. Just as a cable signal can degrade
when split over several TV's in a home, so too can a
video signal degrade when distributed across several
devices (switchers, monitors in remote locations, etc.).
Distribution amplifiers maintain the video signal
throughout the system.

Video motion detection sensors detect movement at an

area of interest or initiate a defined set of events. This
may include activation of a video camera and
transmission of the video to a monitor or recorder. PC
managed systems also provide alarm message capability
with routing to multiple locations or operators, which can
be used as a proactive element of their security
management program. Motion detectors usually employ
infrared and laser technology.