Digital Video Recorders
Digital video recorders (DVRs) are an important part of any successful CCTV project. Video resolution is getting larger, recording speeds are getting faster, and video data compression is reducing the video data file size. TeraByte storage capacity is becoming common in many CCTV applications.
In order to choose the correct DVR for any application, the following questions need to be answered:
- How many channels (cameras)?
- What speed of recording is required?
- How long to retain video files (Hard Drive Size)?
- What features are important to the application?
- Where will DVR system be located?
- What, if any, are the remote monitoring requirements? (say you have a lock-up pub or are running more than one pub)
In choosing the right DVR for your CCTV application, ensure that you are determining the quantity of cameras needed now and in the next 24 months. DVRs come in 4, 8, 9, and 16 channel increments and this selection is critical because adding cameras above the DVR channels available will require an additional DVR, not just additional channels. DVR systems in large installations are segmented into 16 channels units and are monitored and managed through a Central Management System.
The speed of recording is critical to many CCTV applications. 30 fps (frames per second) is considered real-time video, therefore to obtain 30 fps for the application, 480 fps for 16 channels and 240fps for 8 channels is required. Many CCTV applications will provide real-time (30 fps) live viewing of video channels and 7-15 fps for recorded files. It is acceptable to have 7-15 fps for recorded files in many applications, but technology in DVR systems has pushed real-time video for the masses and 30 fps recording will soon be the standard recording rate across all channels as available today.
Storage of video files is much easier and cost effective than ever before. DVR storage at the TeraByte (really huge) level is common and drives have become faster and more reliable. Retention of video data files (as with any business critical data) and network drive archiving is common. All of the top DVR systems have USB ports for external storage devices. A critical component of any DVR system is the ability to access the video files. The software provided by DVR manufacturers is proprietary to the DVR unit and the ability to retrieve files chronologically or based on certain security events is vital to the DVR product.
CCTV Cabling and System Layout
DVR location in choosing the optimal location for the DVR system, consider the access of the area for control and security of the area. The DVR is the heart of the CCTV system and should be protected as necessary to ensure it is safe from theft or damage. If the security breach includes theft of the DVR component, all evidence is carried off under the arm of the thief. And the thieves know this, so ensure that the DVR system is in a lock-box or an appropriate secure area.
Camera Power Supply
Each professional camera requires either 12VDC or 24VAC. Both power options are acceptable and some CCTV installations will require both. Central Power Supplies are available in 4,8,16 and more channels.
A successful CCTV system requires: a Quality Plan, Quality Cameras, Quality DVR and Quality Installation.
Registration of Your CCTV System With The Information Commissioner
Under the terms of the Data Protection Act, 1998 the images you record or “collect” with your CCTV systems are deemed to be “personal information and as such must be dealt with according to the law. You (or your business) are what are termed “data controllers” in that by recording CCTV images you control the data contained in those recordings.
Accordingly, you are required by law to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
The ICO maintains a public register of data controllers. Each register entry includes the name and address of the data controller and details about the types of personal information they process. Individuals can check the register to find out what processing of personal information is being done by a particular data controller. Notification is the process by which a data controller’s details are added to the register.
There is a registration fee and annual renewal fee but these are relatively modest. The notification/registration process can be completed on line at the ICO website, which, has an extensive explanation and Frequently Asked Questions section to help you.
New Code of Conduct for Licensing Authorities
The Code is now in effect in England and Wales and there are several ways in which it may impact licensed premises going forward, once of which relates to licence conditions as paragraph 1.15 of the Code notably states:
“When a relevant authority has licensing functions and considers the use of surveillance camera systems as part of the conditions attached to a licence or certificate, it must in particular have regard to guiding principle one in this code. Any proposed imposition of a blanket requirement to attach surveillance camera conditions as part of the conditions attached to a licence or certificate is likely to give rise to concerns about the proportionality of such an approach and will require an appropriately strong justification and must be kept under regular review. Applications in relation to licensed premises must take into account the circumstances surrounding that application and whether a requirement to have a surveillance camera system is appropriate in that particular case. For example, it is unlikely that a trouble-free community pub would present a pressing need such that a surveillance camera condition would be justified. In such circumstances where a licence or certificate is granted subject to surveillance camera system conditions, the consideration of all other guiding principles in this code is a matter for the licensee as the system operator.”
The full Code can be found by following this link. Consult your licensing solicitor for specific guidance on how this might affect your licence or any variation you might be considering.
(With thanks to John Gaunt, Licensing Solicitors for the update)