We’ve recently carried out an upgrade of the CCTV system of a popular bar and nightclub on Shop Street in Galway. They had an analogue camera system, which would have been about maybe 10-15 years old. The picture quality would have been extremely poor.
10-15 years ago, video quality wasn’t great, even though at the time we thought it was okay. However when you compare it to today’s video quality, it’s like chalk and cheese. We can classify a quality called TVL, which means how many lines are in the video. Each line across the screen held colour and information on the picture. A few years ago it would have been 500-900 lines, which in comparison to today we use megapixels, and at the moment we use between four and 8 million megapixels per picture.
That is a lot more information and the end result is a much higher video quality where you can use one’s camera to digitally zoom in on a number plate or a face and still identify it. In the older equipment however, you wouldn’t have been able to make anything significant out. It was like stretching, writing on a balloon. It would weaken and deteriorate.
This system in the building was already wired with coax. Rather than rewire the system with what we normally use, which would be CAT6 cable and have IP cameras (internet protocol) cameras, we used a different type of camera called a HikVision Turbo HD camera. In the nightclub, we used four-megapixel cameras, so that’s 4 million pixels per picture, which is quite a high resolution, and you would make items out very clearly even when digitally zoomed in. We have to use the true colour cameras that work at nighttime, and they work by using a very, very low look receiver chip in the camera, along with in absolute darkness assisted LED light that activates automatically either from dawn to dusk or by motion. Normally, though, in the nightclub or in a pub environment, there is already light there.
So the sensor on the camera detects that, and the video quality will be very similar to the human eye. So that means we’ll be able to identify a person, their clothing, the colour, their hair, everything comparison to the older cameras would have gone black and white at nighttime, so it would have been extremely hard to identify a person using black and white, whereas colour makes things far easier. In that nightclub, we were able to recycle the coax cable and used the Turbo HD cameras.
We were also able to recycle some power supplies in the area, but we did change the vast majority of power supplies to new fresh power supplies because the older power supplies wouldn’t last much longer.
We went around, took down the old cameras, connected up the new cameras using the same connections, which allowed our job to be installed much more quickly. Once all the cameras were installed, we installed our new HikVision Turbo HD camera system recorder. We plugged all our cameras in, and then we’re able to position our cameras into the right spot. We showed the images to the management, and they assisted us if they felt they needed to point the cameras at whatever they were interested in viewing.
The staff on the premises notice a huge difference in quality. They couldn’t believe the difference because they were so used to looking at a very pixelated blurry image which was now extremely sharp. We were also able to set the camera system onto a mobile phone app called “HikConnect” so that management or security could have access to the cameras no matter where they were in the building or the world.
If something happened in the middle of the night, they wouldn’t have to spend time fast-forwarding through a whole night. They can hone right in on the time of motion because displayed on the screen is this lovely timeline. When motion is triggered, you can see a yellow line around the time of the act, you can then just hone in on that and playback, which makes it very useful and far easier to operate. The HikVision system in general we find is very user friendly.
Playback is very, very easy and rarely are we called in now to retrieve playback from a camera system as the staff are well able to manage. They can playback and save data via a USB stick plugged into the recorder, or they can simply go on their app. Once they find the incident, they press record and it saves it to your phone from your phone. You can then save the image into your Gallery and then share it on WhatsApp or whatever media form you require.