Surveillance Cameras System to record Haunt Footage?
So each year we film groups going through our haunt...and each year I hear from my actors how I missed their best scares...go figure hahaha. So I was wondering if anyone has ever used a DVR Surveillance System to achieve the same idea....Put a camera in each room and just let it record each night.
There seem to be some pretty decent packages online with up to 16 cameras with night vision. I have never used one of these systems so I wasn't sure if each camera can be viewed separately after recording or not.
Any suggestions would be great - Thanks
Things to note about CCTV camera systems
First of all let me say that I think every haunt should be using a CCTV system. But there are things that people that arenít experienced with them should know. They are not the same as having a number of home video cameras hanging around your halls and walls. There are differences in image quality and colors, especially in a dark space with a night vision camera. Doing a little research before you buy a system will go a long way and minimize your frustrations down the road. CCTV systems have become relatively affordable to the public but the physical functions of them are bare minimum at best. (Hardware speaking) Some of the software that comes with these systems can be quite extensive and capable of doing some pretty cool stuff. But just like everything else, if you throw enough money at it you can achieve Hollywood type functionality and quality. These are my own thoughts and opinions on what Iíve come to understand and expect from the systems Iíve personally used. Take it for what it isÖ
Things to note about CCTV camera systems;
Images captured with Night Vision can be deceiving. Things that you take for granted like being able to pick out the colors of customers clothing appear nothing like they are to the natural eye. A White shirt will still appear white, but Dark Hair on someoneís head appears light! It all has to do with the materials the objects are made of.
Hint: Pick out unique features such as a hooded jersey with a teams logo on it, a hair style or a hat.
Motion activated recording can be triggered by even some of the smallest particles floating in the air, especially in a dark space with a night vision camera. Real spider webs will even trigger a recording if there is the slightest air movement.
Note: Check to see if you can adjust the sensitivity on the recording trigger.
Most of the CCTV cameras that are available at a reasonable cost online today are what is known as FIXED LENSED cameras. There is very little adjustment that can be done to increase the cameras viewing aspect. (to the home video camera person Iím referring to zooming in and out to get more in the picture) With most haunts being built with tight hallways and small rooms, (a 10í x 10í room is small for a CCTV camera) you are generally limited to the angle you have to place the camera in order to get a good shot.
Placing a Fixed Lens camera at the end of a hallway or higher up a wall to allow for more distance between it and the object you are trying to video will help. Check the distance focal point of the camera, most are 12-15 feet, and donít offer much of a viewing area at that distance. Look at wide angle lens that can give you more viewing area in a shorter distance.
The amount of recording time that a system will record before over-writing old footage or stopping, depending on what settings you tell it to use, is determined by the size of the Hard Drive the system has. The larger the hard Drive the more footage it will store. The more cameras your system has the more Hard Drive space the system needs. Donít buy a CCTV system and think that youíre going to record your entire haunt season on it and be able to go back months later and watch it. Youíll be surprised to realize that most of it isnít there.
BACKING UP YOUR DRIVE:
Most systems are not well equipped to back-up the entire Hard Drive. Generally they have a USB port for backing up selected time frames of a recorded event. The size of the device recognized by the system is dependent on the hardware and software used to build the CCTV system. Some older systems only recognize up to 2G, so the use of a 4G flash drive isnít even possible. Some newer systems are capable of adding additional Hard Drives to increase recording time or allowing for drive duplication. Some have the capability of connecting external Hard Drives to back-up footage in larger quantities.
Check the back-up speed! CCTV systems such as the all-in-ones with the monitor and DVR built as one unit are sometime built with old technology. The functions of a CCTV system are not that of a computer and require far less resources to accomplish their designed goal, recording. The processor speeds and amount of RAM used in your standard CCTV DVR are ridiculously low. They just donít require it. Most CCTV systems are not designed with the intent to have to back-up the footage recorded except for when a notable event occurs such as a burglary. Even then there is no need to have to back-up the entire Hard Drive, just the time frame surrounding the event. Do you research and know what youíre buying.
ENBEDDED CODEC ENCODING:
Play back can be easily done on most every CCTV system, but saving the footage to your computer and playing it back on something as popular as windows media player can be a bit more tasking. Every CCTV system uses a Codec to encode its video to make it secure. (hence the term Security Surveillance Camera System) The Codec keeps you from being able to just pop the footage into another device for viewing. Youíll probably have to export it to a separate file and play it back with the CCTV companyís own version of a player. SOME PLAYERS DO HAVE A ďSAVE AS AVIĒ FEATURE. This will let you save footage to an AVI format that can be used in a wide variety of video programs.
Codec Ė A codec encodes a data stream or signal for transmission, storage or encryption, or decodes it for playback or editing.
See link below for more info on the subject:
I personally use CCTV Security Systems daily at my regular job. They are great pieces of technology and their capabilities are amazing. Iíve used footage from our CCTV systems for police investigations in robberies, video tutorials on how-toís and training, Iíve even used remote viewing to help fellow employees repair equipment so that I didnít have to drive 3 hours to fix a problem.
Iíve been using a CCTV system in the haunt I work with for the past 4 or 5 years. It has its pluses and minuses, but overall I would say itís a plus. You just have to learn what to expect form it or learn from the frustrations that come from thinking it will be just like watching people on TV, which it is but its not. You get all the movement but it lacks some of the details.