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Why Infrared?

IR Illuminators

IR Illuminators from Virtual Surveillance.

In today’s security market mass demands have increased the use of IR (infrared). Businesses and homes need 24/7 surveillance and infrared is essential to capturing security footage during evening hours. Many security cameras boast low lux ratings, some as low as 0.1 lux. These specifications would suggest that the camera will function in low light conditions or total darkness, however despite the implications some cameras still produce poor quality images. Many manufacturers have included AGC to enable these cameras to better capture images in low-light.

What is AGC? Automatic gain control (AGC) is the function which actually increases the strength in the cameras when placed in low light conditions. AGC actually amplifies the image, increasing the video signal. As AGC is activated image static or noise increases. Eventually AGC will over compensate for the lack of light and result in a grainy or static-covered image. Another unfortunately result of AGC is increased bit rate. These rates can often use more bandwidth than the same image during daytime capture.

The solution, disable the AGC. Although this would reduce the bandwidth used, be aware that without the proper IR illumination, this feature will result in an even lower quality image. In most applications, frame rates and resolution are altered to suit the application requirements. When a security system has limited storage space, often the frame rate is reduced to allow more footage to be recorded. Modifications like these enable the user to get the most out of their equipment and by adding additional IR illuminators you can make your low-light cameras go the extra mile.

IR is a field proven answer for night time surveillance. Even though the requirements for bandwidth and resolution standards may be surprising it’s always smart to carry sufficient space in your network and drive space. This encourages risk managers to consider IR as an effective strategy for reducing storage demands.

Comments6
  1. JoseJuly 09, 2010   

    This information was very useful and very well presented, I will keep this in mind as I install my IR Cameras.

  2. HarleyJuly 22, 2010   

    These IR cameras are really cool do they make one that can read a liscence plate in the dark mine just shows a big white blur when I watch my recorded footage?

  3. Mark JonesJuly 30, 2010   

    These style cameras are great they really are a huge benifit to the solution end, great article

  4. Ken DunwoodSeptember 01, 2010   

    IR cameras are quickly making their place in all cctv systems. I just wish more box cameras had the IR capability like most domes or bullet style cameras do.

  5. Anthony FostJanuary 02, 2011   

    IR cameras are the way to go. The video quality on IR cameras is ever increasing as the technology develops.

  6. Katelyn KendleJune 24, 2012   

    Genuinely educational! I did not know that AGC did that. This fixes my problem! Thank you for the awesome information!

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