Thursday, June 11, 2009

Video Surveillance - Part 3: Your Typical Retail Setup

Welcome back. In the previous 2 posts on Video Surveillance, we covered the basics of a CCTV system, including DVRs and cameras. Now that your familiar with these components, I'll cover what a typical retail setup might look like and which cameras to use.

The Entrance
If your storefront is made of glass, the lighting is going to change depending on the time of day. It is best to have a Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) camera here. WDR cameras record 2 images, one at a high shutter speed and the other at a low shutter speed. This generates clearer images of the subject by extracting highlights and shadows from the two shots and then combining them into a single detailed shot.

Cash Registers
For this situation, install high resolution, varifocal cameras. A varifocal camera has an adjustable lens that allows you to get exactly the picture you want. You can zoon in to get a tight image with lots of detail, or zoom out for a wide overview.

You'll probably want to get a long-range lens here, depending on the size of your store. It's also a good idea to put cameras at both ends of the aisle, facing each other. This will give you optimal results by minimizing dead spots (area with no coverage). But remember not to face them towards a light source.

Much of employee theft comes from the storage areas, so this is an important area to cover. Many warehouse and storage rooms are lit poorly, so it's best to go with a Day/Night camera here. If your on a budget, get one with a wide-angle lens to cover more area. The trade-off is a slight loss in detail and clarity.

It's a good idea to have cameras outside of your store also, whether it be to help deter vandalism, or in the event something like a robbery happens on your property. Your going to want a Day/Night camera here also, which will help see images once the sun goes down. Note: once the infrared illuminators come on, the camera turns to black and white. If color is important to you, its best to have auxiliary lighting.

Recording Options
Keep the DVR in a dry, cool, safe spot. If your worried about someone tampering with the system, you can enclose it in a lockable cabinet. You'll need high-speed internet access and a router. Forward the ports on your router to access your cameras from any PC on the planet.

If you have any further questions about setting up your CCTV system, contact a Discount Low Voltage Surveillance Specialist at
By Phone - (888) 797-3697
By Email -