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Compression Needs Lighting

by msecadm4921

Every camera needs light to see and network cameras are no different, say security lighting manufacturers Raytec.

Network cameras need lighting to achieve high quality images at night, reduce their bandwidth and storage requirements and to allow faster frame rates. Without good lighting network cameras won’t live up to their full potential; they will not be able to deliver the superior resolutions they are capable of, and may overload a system with the large amount of data they generate.

Because of the relationship between a camera’s resolution and its requirement for light, professional lighting is even more advantageous with modern megapixel cameras than it is with analogue technology. The higher the resolution of the camera, the more light that is required to deliver high quality images at night.

Moving to megapixel allows for higher resolution images, each containing more data than standard analogue images. The benefits are numerous and include sharper pictures, the ability to cover larger areas with one camera, and the ability to digitally zoom into the image and maintain a good image quality. But of course, increasing the data in each frame increases the file size of each frame resulting in greater network and storage demands.

Higher Resolution = Larger File Size = More Bandwidth and Storage

Video compression is an essential part of the megapixel camera’s offering because, without it, a lot more data has to be handled leading to higher bandwidth and storage requirements. Compression techniques such as H.264 work on compressing the raw data into smaller ‘chunks’ to reduce bandwidth requirements. In simple terms compression works by replicating data from previous frames and only the pixels that have changed (due to colour or movement) are transmitted and updated in the live video image.
Most security professionals will be familiar with the noisy “white-noise” images that cameras produce then there is not enough light on scene. With each pixel changing frequently the camera is fooled into thinking there is constant movement throughout the image and this prevents video compression from working.

A fundamental benefit of professional lighting for network cameras results from delivering enough light to prevent noise in the image. In turn this provides higher quality pictures, allows compression techniques to work and substantially reduces bandwidth and storage requirements. Operating network cameras at night will always come down to a choice for the end user. Without light, the end user needs to pay to increase the system data handling capability, both bandwidth and storage, accept lower frame rates and accept significantly lower quality video, or limit the number of cameras in a system. Or they can choose to add lighting to support their network cameras, lowering infra-structure costs, delivering better pictures and allowing video analytics to work to its full potential.

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