Simply put, video camera surveillance is the supervision of behavior, activities, or other changing information, with the intention of managing, directing, or protecting. Video camera surveillance allows individuals to watch from a distance by means of electronic equipment such as closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras. These cameras are often connected to a recording device or IP network, and can be observed remotely

Below are a few types of video camera surveillance systems and the features that accompany them.

Analog surveillance

Analog video surveillance equipment records straight to a video tape recorder — which records analog signals as pictures. The tape must run at a very slow speed in order to operate on a continuous basis. The reason for this is that most tapes have 3-hours of space but have to be run for 24-hours thus the frames are turned down to approximately 4 frames per second. Seconds are everything in the world of video surveillance. Within one second a person can walk between 3 and 5 feet thus the distance is divided into four parts or frames. Analog surveillance can be, at most times, very blurry and difficult to assess.

Analog signals, however, can be transformed into a digital signal to allow the recording to be stored on a computer as a digital recording. For this conversion, the camera must be plugged directly into a video capture card in the computer. Digital video recorders (DVR) offer an additional solution for those wanting to convert analog signals without using a computer. DVRs function similarly to a computer with a capture card and video recording software. Most DVRs designed for surveillance purposes are embedded devices that require less maintenance and easy to setup.

Digital surveillance

Digital cameras do not require a video capture card because their signal can saved directly to a computer. Uncompressed digital recordings take up large amounts of space thus digital signals are compressed 5:1 and DVD quality can be achieved with further compression. Most standard recordings are fairly poor in quality because most of the image chips within the devices record at 320p. Luckily, technological advancements have made high-definition (HD) cameras much more affordable.

Unlike the analog surveillance equipment, digital surveillance equipment records at 30 framers per second. Digital recording are much clearer and are visually smoother than analog equipment.

Network video recorders

IP cameras or network video recorders can be either analog or digital video cameras, with the addition of an embedded video server with an IP address, capable of streaming video. Network video recorders are used for very cheap surveillance solutions or even replace entire CCTV installations. Network cameras can have resolutions higher than CCTV analog cameras. Potential advantages of IP cameras or network cameras include:

Ability for two-way audio

Flexibility: IP cameras can be moved anywhere on an IP network (including wireless)

Encryption and authentication

Remote accessibility

Network video cameras can function on a wireless network

Indoor and outdoor cameras


CCTV cameras

While indoor and outdoor cameras are very similar in size, shape, and color; some of the differentiating elements between the two types of cameras include:

Lighting conditions

Lens quality and selection

Video quality

Weather durability

Mounting capabilities

Power sources

Lighting conditions

For more information on the types of cameras and what types might be best to protect your home or business. Contact our offices in Joplin, MO. We cater to a wide variety of security needs and can devise a solution that is customized for you.