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Are your cameras too high?

CCTV steep angles guide

Back in 1992, when I was in CCTV sales, I spent one afternoon working out how many pixels would be needed in a camera’s field-of-view to identify a person or read a vehicle number plate. Why? Because I wanted the customer receiving my sales proposal to understand the issues involved. As a consequence of that I hoped that they’d realise my competitors had undermined their own cases by not being so diligent and getting the design wrong.

The Rotakin standard didn’t become public until two years later. So they might have been chewing their pencil over the same issues that very afternoon! No, I’m not claiming guru status here, but I am recalling that I’ve always thought proper design is vital. The Rotakin CCTV test-target did help sales people meet, or fail to meet, their customers’ requirements, measurably, clearly, in a black & white decision (geeky pun intended).

One thing it didn’t do (no criticism meant here as Rotakin’s purpose was more narrow) was give guidance on the steepness of viewing angle when trying to identify people. I think this is fundamentally important, so I’ve created a series of computer generated graphics to illustrate the effects of high angled views. The result is the self-explanatory one-page PDF document that you can download here. It recently appeared in CCTV Image magazine as a cut-out-and-keep feature. I want you to use it freely to illustrate this factor to your customers, colleagues or suppliers.

Until next time; stay focused.

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