Home Safety Security Systems – Cameras

Home Safety can mean many different things – from small things to big things. A Home Security System to protect our home and family against intruders is definitely one of the big things to consider. Making decisions with a “Safety First” mindset means our goal is to prevent and avoid accidents and problems, and so finding and selecting a home security system that has been designed with ‘Safety First’ in mind is important and is a big, not small decision. Home safety is all about putting safety first. Choosing a home security system with video camera options not only can provide an alert or alarm should there be an intrusion, but video cameras can provide surveillance video. After all, an unauthorized person entering the home through a door that has left unlocked will most likely not trigger an alarm, but the video camera will provide video footage that can be reviewed.

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When deciding what kind of security system might be most appropriate for your home there are many factors to consider. Just as there are many different types of homes, and homes of different sizes, so it is with residential home security camera systems. Some are simple, such as entry video surveillance systems that provide surveillance of a limited area, the approach to an entrance to a home. More extensive, multi-camera systems designed with small and perhaps medium size residences In mind all the way up to larger, more extensive residential home security systems, including residential home security camera systems that feature both outside home security camera systems involving both outdoor installed cameras and indoor home security cameras. Today, many systems offer wireless options.

Outdoor wireless home security camera systems and indoor wireless home security camera systems that are appropriate for smaller homes as well as larger homes are available with some wireless home security camera systems offering options that will meet the requirements of both larger and smaller residential properties. A major advantage of systems that can be installed both indoors and outdoors, and also meet the requirements of both larger and smaller residential properties, is that property owners with more than one property can install the same system for both properties, or several properties if they own more than two, and manage them from a single device, or if not a single device, at least the same type of device so one doesn’t have to learn different systems.

For the homeowner who has the capability of installing the system themselves, do it yourself home security camera system kits can be found. Do it yourself home security camera systems are easier to find for the smaller systems than Do it yourself home security camera systems for larger residential properties.

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Types of Home Security Camera Systems

Camera systems fall into the following main categories:

Box Camera
Bullet Camera
Day/Night Camera
Dome Camera
IP Camera
PTZ Camera
Thermal (FLIR) Camera
Wide Dynamic Camera
Wireless IP Camera

Box cameras are designed to be functional. They are not always the most aesthetic and when installed indoors are difficult to blend in with décor. However, they are tried, tested, and proven. They are usually also the most affordable. Box cameras also accommodate interchangeable lenses which can be a big advantage on larger properties.

Bullet cameras are generally more aesthetic in appearance, require less wall or ceiling space (smaller footprint) than the Box camera. The Bullet camera design is virtually an all-in-one package that generally does not accommodate interchangeable lenses, but some Bullet cameras have infrared illuminators.

Many entry surveillance cameras fall into this category of camera while others, taking advantage of new technology more closely resemble a doorbell push button.

Day/Night cameras are generally closer in appearance to Bullet cameras than they are to Box cameras. Generally designed for either outdoor or indoor use and has an Infrared (IR) filter that adjusts as lighting levels change to accommodate normal and reduced lighting levels, including usefulness after dark even if it is limited to seeing shadows and movement only.

Dome Cameras are most often ceiling mounted but can also be wall-mounted. The compact ceiling mount package in a discreet dome shape makes the Dome camera popular because it blends in well with décor. As it is ceiling mounted, unlike other types of camera bodies, the Dome camera has no top surfaces that collect dust and grime. If one is concerned about vandalism, some Dome cameras are available with vandal-resistant housings which are toughened glass or plastic domes which can optionally also be protected by a custom-fit mesh screen. These you are more likely to find in industrial and office properties but can also be appropriate to public-facing buildings such as garages, workshops, and storage sheds.

IP Cameras are digital network-based and most often wirelessly connected. Physical packaging can be Dome, Box, or Bullet style and cameras usually feature increased resolution compared to normal analog cameras.  Their digital technology offers high scalability meaning they can be installed in almost any size of system, and management of them is more advanced with more features which can even include built-in video analytic software.

PTZ Camera – The Pan, Tilt and Zoom capability of the PTZ camera is enabled by mechanical controls managed by remote control management. Older systems typically use a joystick while newer technology systems can be joystick controlled or software controlled. Software controlled systems can be programmed to automatically turn to preset positions focusing on different areas of interest at different times. These systems which can both survey a wide area of interest and zoom in to detail are most often used by security management. Some PTZ systems are able to run patterns, scanning one direction then another, and changing from wide angle viewng to zoom on a pre-programmed basis.

Thermal (FLIR) Cameras were developed initially for the military, the Forward-looking infrared (FLIR) camera used on military and civilian aircraft is a thermographic camera that senses infrared radiation. In non-military applications, the FLIR is known as the thermal camera which uses thermal imaging – meaning it uses heat to differentiate objects. Thermal Cameras are most often installed to provide surveillance footage in low lighting or even dark environments. They are capable of detecting people and objects in smoke, haze, dust, and in light fog, and Thermal Security cameras will even work in complete darkness.

Wide Dynamic Cameras are capable of handling a wide range of lighting levels enabling them to capture clear face shots even when sunshine or bright lighting coming toward the camera such as headlights is encountered, for example, in parking lots. The Wide Dynamic Camera is especially useful indoors inside entrances surveilling people coming in from outside. Because Wide Dynamic Cameras have the ability to balance light-levels on a pixel-by-pixel basis, even though there is bright sunlight behind a person entering with sunlight behind them, Wide Dynamic Cameras are able to capture a clear image and avoid the person’s face being nothing more than a dark shadow.

Wireless IP Cameras eliminate the cost of network cabling which is required by other types of cameras to your video surveillance system. IP stands for Internet Protocol, the same digital protocol (coding) as is dominantly used on the Internet. Wireless IP security cameras use Wi-Fi for communication and that makes easy installation and setup although the device does have to be powered.

Like the PTZ Cameras, Wireless IP cameras are usually capable of tilt and swivel as well as being offered with zoom options. As Wireless IP cameras generally employ high-quality lenses, they typically provide high quality, crystal clear images – even in low light conditions. Some Wireless IP camera systems can be used for motion detection offering instant alerting in the event of intruders.

Simple Home Security Camera Systems

For the smaller home, there are a good number of simple home security camera systems available. As mentioned earlier, home security camera systems range from installation of just an entry video surveillance system which provides surveillance of a limited area, the approach to an entrance to a home all the way up to more extensive, multi-camera systems designed with small and perhaps medium size residences and all the way up to larger, more extensive residential home security systems surveilling all around and even inside the property.

Entry Surveillance Video Cameras

There are a good number of entry surveillance video camera options to choose from. Some include two-way intercom capability and others include a motion sensor activated floodlight that is triggered by an approaching person after dusk.

When one thinks of monitoring inside a property – inside a residential home – there are definitely limits as people have a right to privacy, and audio eavesdropping on a private conversation is against federal law, even using a two-way intercom on a ‘Nanny cam’. Indoor monitoring in community residential properties of common areas is generally considered acceptable, especially video surveillance of entrances and exits.

In private areas, baby monitoring in the nursery is most often the only area where one might install video indoors. Unless one is planning on garnering extensive multi-angle video footage to make a movie, there is usually only a need for a single camera. There are a good number of affordable options available, many of which can be managed and monitored using your personal cell phone.

Installation of Home Security Camera Systems

Retailers, whether brick-and-mortar or online, will always be happy to sell you the equipment for your home security system, but who is going to install it? The two obvious options regarding getting any Home Security system installed are self-installed – the do-it-yourself, DIY approach – or professionally installed. Even with wireless video camera systems, power is a requirement unless the system is a ‘wire-free’ system in which case it runs from batteries that will need to be recharged monthly or more frequently depending on how active they are. ‘Wire-free’ systems with security lights will require charging more frequently.

The power source can be a local power outlet, or it can a specially run power cable. If you want to have a battery backup so that your video surveillance will continue to operate even if you have a power outage, then using a local power outlet is not an option; you will have to install, or have installed, separate power wiring. If the camera system is not Wi-Fi, then you will also need to have network cabling installed for each camera location.

Legal Considerations – State Laws

States have laws that may apply to installation of a video system in the home. State laws may exceed Federal laws and so it is necessary to check before purchasing and installing. For example, in California, ‘Nanny cams’, home security cameras and dash cams are easily accessible to the average citizen and all three are legal in California. Owners of these cameras don’t need to ask permission to video record in a public place so as long as there is no audio eavesdropping on a private conversation. As a general guideline, you cannot place hidden cameras inside the bathroom or bedrooms of a home.

Checking what local State laws apply is advised. However, here is a single point resource that provides some initial guidance for all States: www.robertreeveslaw.com/blog/nanny-cams/.

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