School System Video Surveillance: How to Tackle Low Light Performance

If you’re a school administrator, you want your equipment to work no matter what. It doesn’t matter what the conditions are – even if they’re challenging. It’s like a new flashlight. You want it to work when it first comes out of the package – and you want it to work several months later when it’s cold, wet, and dark, even if you’ve dropped it a few times. Because we rely on our tools and equipment to function when we need them.

If your K-12, Hoosier school system has video surveillance cameras, you expect them to work and meet your objectives. You want them to capture images that you can use. Therefore, you expect your security cameras to provide the appropriate coverage for the specific location with the pixel density needed.

However, you may not realize that the lighting environment can affect image quality. Some locations, like cafeterias and hallways, have lighting environments that can be controlled, so it’s easier to obtain a good image. While other locations may have changing light conditions from bright sunlight to dimly lit areas, like entrances. These varying lighting conditions can make capturing images challenging, especially in low-light conditions.

Issues with Conventional Cameras and Low Light Performance
The facts are, conventional security cameras with standard electronic imaging sensors can’t record accurate images in dimly lit areas. Some of the problems that arise when capturing images with conventional security cameras in low-light conditions include:

  • Faded, inaccurate colors
  • Grainy images
  • Loss of detail

Additionally, when conventional security cameras are adjusted to increase the pixel density and to offset the decreased signal level results, unfortunately, the images don’t get better. You’re left with a useless image in which you can’t accurately identify people filmed.

Many schools and other organizations try to compensate for a camera’s poor low light performance by installing more lights in dimly lit areas, or by installing supplemental infrared or thermal cameras to help film images in poor light conditions. However, these tactics have their downsides, too. Additional lights can be expensive when you consider the extra equipment, installation, and ongoing energy costs. Whereas, infrared and thermal cameras can’t take colored images. Plus, the images they do take are typically a lower resolution. And these cameras add additional costs to your budget.

Newer Video Surveillance Cameras Improve Low Light Performance
To improve camera quality for better low light performance, many camera manufacturers have addressed three specific factors related to this issue:

  • The need for the lens to gather as much light as possible that’s passed to the imaging sensor.
  • The physical area of the sensor, as well as the quality of the pixels when it comes to sensitivity, accuracy, and consistency.
  • How the image is processed when the signals from the sensors are interpreted, so the most accurate, usable image is extracted with the least amount of noise possible.

Newer video surveillance cameras use improved image enhancement technology that combines all three factors to deliver better quality images in low-light conditions. The lens systems and imaging sensors are selected so the sensors’ output has an improved signal-to-noise ratio and accurate, consistent pixel responses. For the most accurate, highest quality video images possible, image processing tools like 3D noise filtering, wide dynamic range (WDR), and tone mapping are used. Subsequently, when the images of these newer video surveillance cameras are compared to conventional cameras, they’re far superior in low-light conditions.

Choosing the Right Video Surveillance Cameras for Your Low-Light Applications
Is your school system worried about thieves breaking into your schools to steal valuable school resources, like computers, audio-visual equipment, or other equipment and supplies? Are you concerned because the performance of your current video surveillance cameras isn’t the best in dimly lit areas, and you’re worried you won’t be able to accurately identify the criminals?

Has your school been plagued with episodes of tagging and vandalism, especially in dimly lit areas of your property? You want to catch the offenders, but are your security camera images so grainy, it makes it impossible to distinguish who they are?

To overcome these issues, you need to choose the right security cameras for your school properties. Therefore, you need to partner with a video surveillance expert, like Conzer Security. With over 17 years of experience in security camera systems, we can help you design and install the best video surveillance system for your K-12 school system. We will help identify your low-light areas and take them into consideration when planning your surveillance system. Additionally, we will choose the right cameras to overcome these limitations, so you’ll have better quality images.

If you want an improved level of security for your Hoosier school system, contact Conzer Security today at 317-580-9450 for a free consultation. We can provide you with peace of mind that your video surveillance cameras are performing optimally in your low light conditions.