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TOPIC: Security Cameras

Security Cameras 01 Jun 2004 13:28 #24458

  • puzzlegut
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I was wondering if anyone has tried or is familiar with the security cameras that are sold at Sam's Club. There are at least 2 different systems they have for sale. One has 3 cameras (indoor) with a black & white monitor that flashes between the different cameras and costs around $200. The other one has 4 cameras (3 indoor and 1 outdoor) and a color monitor that seperates into four segements and shows all camera shots. I would like to get something for our 4-screen theater and was wondering if anyone could provide feedback about these systems. Thanks.
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Re: Security Cameras 01 Jun 2004 17:51 #24459

The black and white ones have grainy pictures and it is hard to make out anything. I don't know about the color ones.
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Re: Security Cameras 01 Jun 2004 17:59 #24460

  • Ken Layton
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While I haven't seen the particular camera systems you mention, I can give you some generalities.

Color cameras require alot more ambient light than a B&W camera to get a good picture. Some systems may be limited as to the maximum number of cameras that can be connected. Some systems may use propritary connectors such as phone jacks which are not wired the same as other manufacturers so you would have to stay with a particular make and model of camera. Stay away from the KEEPSAFER (by Linear) and ULTRAK brands as they are junk.

Commercial video security cameras use "BNC" connectors for the video signal and a hardwired +12 volt power cable. These types of commercial cameras can be mixed with other brands of commercial cameras.

Get color cameras where possible as they have much better detail and resolution. Color cameras are the best choice if you need detail especially at the boxoffice in case of robbery.

[This message has been edited by Ken Layton (edited June 01, 2004).]
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Re: Security Cameras 02 Jun 2004 07:39 #24461

  • jimor
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I always wondered if INFRA-RED cameras would work pointing from the front aud. wall toward the audience to be monitored in the office to watch out for unruly patrons, where there are not enough ushers to make every-half-hour patrols. Such infra-red would not be limited by the low light levels since they would only register sources of heat = the bodies of the patrons, as well as any incandescent light fixtures and heat vents. Maybe such would justify warning signs in the lobby such as: ALL PUBLIC AREAS ARE UNDER CONTINUOUS VIDEO SURVEILLANCE – LAW BREAKERS WILL BE RECORDED AND PROSECUTED TO THE FULLEST EXTENT OF THE LAW. Some may think this a trifle unfriendly, but I think such may go a long way toward maintaining order in a cinema/theatre. The good patrons will feel assured, and the miscreants will feel unwelcome, as indeed they should.
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: Security Cameras 02 Jun 2004 07:55 #24462

  • John Pytlak
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Normal infrared sensitive video cameras or those with extended red sensitivity still need a source of infrared light to "see". Special devices needed to "see" body heat are becoming more affordable:
http://www.atsf.co.uk/ilight/tech/thermal.html
http://www.ladder54.com/thermal.htm
http://www.x20.org/thermal/palmirpro.htm



John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
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Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
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John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
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Re: Security Cameras 03 Jun 2004 10:06 #24463

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Thanks for the information. At Sam's Club, they have both systems set up and running so that you can see how the images look on the monitors. From what I can recall, the images on the black and white monitors looked okay. When we go to Sam's tomorrow, we'll have to check out both of them and see if either one will work out for us. Thanks.
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Re: Security Cameras 04 Jun 2004 02:51 #24464

  • MovieGuy
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We have a four camera set-up, with a quad splitter and time lapse vcr. Works great. Kind of pricey, but cheaper in cost than one dishonest employee! I also have an infrared b/w camera. I have used it as a spy camera in the past (hides very well in clocks/signs/etc. Image quality varies with the amount of light in the room. Gets grainy in no/to low light situations. Great in normal lighting conditions. Only draw back is the way it sees certain colors. Could make it dificult to indentify someones clothing, as it alters the shade of their cloths, etc.

[This message has been edited by MovieGuy (edited June 04, 2004).]

[This message has been edited by MovieGuy (edited June 04, 2004).]
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Re: Security Cameras 04 Jun 2004 09:29 #24465

  • jimor
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Yes, the disadvantage to true PASSIVE Infra-red is that it doesn't record any colors at all, just the amount of heat produced by an object, hence the image on a screen will be either black (less heat) or white (more heat) or 'false colors' as programmed into a color monitor setup. But then, maybe even the false image will be enough to identify someone doing something nasty and give you enough time to call the cops, or at least send someone to monitor the situation to identify the miscreant(s) for the cops! Another advantage to Passive Infra-red is that it could be used in a restroom where concerns of privacy of a regular video camera would preclude its use. True, Passive Infra-red may not yield a good enough image to video-tape, but it may be good enough for real time monitors to alert you to trouble in time to do something about it, such as someone trashing the restroom -- or worse! In such a case, perhaps a warning inside the restroom something like this would be appropriate: THIS AREA IS UNDER SURVEILLANCE BY NON-VIDEO, INFRA-RED CAMERAS FOR YOUR PROTECTION. It may cause a few questions to the manager at first (whereupon he can show them the screen showing only vague shapes in there), but it may also save you the expense of smashed fixtures and assualted patrons.

NOTE: Passive Infra-red cameras can be blinded by someone striking a match or lighter, but we hope that the miscreants don't know this. Some cameras can be damaged by such sudden, high-contrast heat source, but one can obtain cameras designed to avoid this. There are many security device firms selling these items both locally and on the Net.

[This message has been edited by jimor (edited June 04, 2004).]
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: Security Cameras 05 Jun 2004 12:53 #24466

  • puzzlegut
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Ken Layton:
Color cameras require alot more ambient light than a B&W camera to get a good picture.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

If color cameras needs a lot of light, does that mean they do not work well in the middle of the night? What happens if someone broke into the theater in the middle of the night? Does that mean the color cameras would be unable to pick up a picture of the person who breaks into the theater?
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Re: Security Cameras 06 Jun 2004 09:07 #24467

  • jimor
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No, color cameras do not work well in low light conditions since, for complex reasons, both cameras and the human eye need lots more light (lumens) to properly render color. This is why b&w cameras are better at night, and there are specialty cameras designed to see especially well in low light. We have all heard of 'night vision' goggles which are actually electronic Light Amplifiers, but just how practical these expensive amps are for commercial camera use is debateable. The image they render is rather like that of the infra-red cameras and monitors in that it is a false color generated electronically, hence not really able to identify colors. Their images are usually varying shades of green.

Probably the best way for someone determined to have cameras record the entry of crooks, is to use automatic turn on of sufficient lights to allow a regular camera to see, but then one might as well use a standard burglar alarm to scare away the burglar, one hopes. Such would also notify the owner and police, of course. Would the camera then record nothing if the miscreant ran away before entry? Would the cameras/recorders then be rendered supurfluous? One would have to ask himself just what good a camera would be under such circumstances. Would the vandals/thieves be able to tour the theatre during regular hours and see the placement of the cameras and perhaps be able to get behind them then to disable them? Would they be able to get to them upon entry and spray paint their lenses before any real pictures could be taken? Would the illegals be able to gain entry to the place where the video recorder is housed so as to disable/steal it before it could be used against them?

It would seem from the foregoing that it is probably best to use a standard burglar alarm set up in preferance to cameras, or at least in conjunction with them. Some people have installed large, dummy cammeras in plain view to act as disposable targets, while hidden cameras do the real work, but then this means that all wiring must be well hidden too. And what if the crooks disable power to the theatre before entry? Is everything on back-up batteries? How long will they last in serving all security equipment? If infra-red cameras and recorders are used to get around the low light conditions, perhaps it is better to use ACTIVE Infra-red where infra-red lights are placed to activate during darkness or when the burglar alarms go off. Such light would be invisible (or nearly so) to the average crook not expecting such, though experienced criminals do have ways of detecting infra-red and avoiding it.

There is no such thing as a foolproof security system, sad to say, but a careful exhibitor will go through some cost/benefit analysis to secure his investment, and likely his insurance carrier will give him some reduction in premiums if a suitable system is installed with the comapany's approval. It may pay to check into it.
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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