Purchasing A Video Surveillance System?

Before starting to compare surveillance systems or evaluating potential vendors, consider what you want to monitor with your CCTV surveillance system. Once you decide what you want to see, choosing components will become easier. Be sure you have the answers to the following questions before you spend any money for a video surveillance system...

Do you want to observe the general comings and goings? Vehicles? Or do you want to see specific faces, merchandise, or a crowd en mass?

Next, decide what picture quality you need in your surveillance systems. Quality can refer to both how detailed the image is and how fast the frame rate is. Frame rate measures the number of many individual pictures that make up the video. "Real-Time", what you see on television and on VHS tapes, is 30 frames per second. Most often, surveillance systems record at slower rates, which result in more jerky-looking images but saves on recording space. A system with higher Recording/Playback rate is preferred.

How will your surveillance system be monitored? Will you simply record at all times, and only review the tape when a problem occurs? Or will you have a dedicated employee watching for trouble? Also, with multiple surveillance system cameras, you have the option of connecting each to its own monitor, or combining multiple images onto one monitor.

What's the priority for the surveillance system? Is it the deterrence of potential crimes or the capture of perpetrators? If you are more interested in deterring certain activities, large, visible cameras are your best bet. Trying to catch criminals without them being cognizant of the surveillance, requires hidden surveillance system cameras, which cost more for hardware and for installation.

One of the newest trends in the surveillance system industry concerns digital recording. Only a few years ago, most closed-circuit TV systems were paired with the familiar Time Lapse VCR to record images. However, digital video recorders (DVRs), which record onto hard drives instead of tape, offer a positive alternative.

For businesses that do not want to change tapes constantly, DVRs definitely are the way to go. While security VCRs offer a time-lapse mode that lets them record for long periods of time, the resulting images are not a good record of events - they record only one snapshot every eight seconds. To get higher quality, the tapes need to be change every day, if not more often. DVRs, on the other hand, can record for weeks or even months without the video data needing to be archived or written over. However, if you're on a tight budget and willing to invest in fading technology, good time-lapse VCRs, designed specifically for security use, start Security Products at $300 to $400.

When choosing a CCTV camera, consider the space of your surveillance zone: Are you 5 feet or 15 feet away from your surveillance target area? It's best to locate your camera as close to the surveillance area first, and then choose how much zoom you need.

To determine the field of view required, take photos of the areas to be covered from the proposed camera locations. The type of lens you need depends upon what you want to see, how far away it is and how wide the viewing area. Do you want to capture a person's face or a car license plate? Each camera location will determine which lenses would maximize your surveillance potential. For example: A 4mm wide angle lens will be able to view an area 20' high X 26' wide at 21' away.

Will the cameras be subject to damage? If they will, damage resistant cameras would be a must.

Is the space well lit or dimly lit? Are the lights turned off at night? Do you want to monitor the area with the lights turned off? If so, infrared CCTV cameras will be required.

You have a broad range of video surveillance cameras available to you. Understanding the different kinds will make it easier to determine which will suit the application best.

Outdoor Cameras - Outdoor cameras need to be able to withstand extreme temperatures and humidity and usually come in a weatherproof casing that also helps protect against vandalism.

Infra-Red Cameras - These cameras have infrared LEDs installed around the lens of the camera. This provides the light the camera can use to 'see in the dark' even when no outside light is available. In some low light installations, a day/night camera will work as well.

Day/Night Security Cameras - Day/Night cameras have a super sensitive imaging chip in them. This allows these cameras to work great in low light with no infrared lighting needed. Low light means that there is some light available but not a lot, for example from street lights or even moon light. If your application has absolutely no light then you'll need to use infrared instead.

Mini Security Cameras - Mini cameras are some of the smallest available, but still offer extremely good resolution and are ideal for unobtrusive surveillance. The compact design of these coin cameras make them very easy to hide and difficult to see.

Bullet Cameras - Bullet cameras are small, compact and can be placed almost anywhere. These cameras are great for covert surveillance. The lens is built into the camera and cannot be switched. The main advantages to the bullet camera are their low cost and their small size.

Dome Cameras - Dome cameras are a popular style. Dome cameras present a streamline and professional look to any company, organization or building. They are available in both black & white and color formats. Some Security Products dome cameras come in an armor dome to protect against vandalism. Typically, they're only used indoors.

Budget: Just like any technology, the more you spend, the better the system you get. Keep in mind a low system is better than no camera at all.

By: DL Consultants, LLC

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Vigilance and Security, a wholly owned subsidiary of DL Consultants, LLC, is a fast growng internet reseller of a broad line of cutting edge security camera and surveillance systems appropriate for home, as well as, small and medium business applications. Our clients include parents, homeowners, warehouses, convenience stores, restaurants and retail establishments.

Bringing Children to Coachella: Good or Bad Parenting?

When attending the Coachella music festival, there's no shortage of people to meet: Sahara tent bros, VIP elitists, burners, 18-year-old girls in flower crowns -- you name it, they're at Coachella. But one of the most surprising demographic is also one of the most controversial: the families.

From babies in noise-canceling headphones to pre-teen kids trying to avoid their embarrassing parents, there is a surprisingly wide range of children attending the festival. In fact, Alessandra Ambrosio brought her 5-year-old daughter Anja to this year's Coachella -- and subsequently sparked quite a bit of controversy surrounding the decision.

On one hand, there is a legitimate argument that Coachella (or any similar festival) is no place for children. Between the drugs, the alcohol, the crowds, the rowdiness and the heat, it's understandable why children-toting parents get more than a few side-eyes at the festival. It's hard enough to get a group of adults with cell phones to stay together -- just thinking about keeping tabs on children makes me briefly reconsider my position on child leashes. Not to mention the fact that seeing an incapacitated young woman being taken out of the festival was one of the most disturbing things I, an adult, have seen. Is this the type of stuff we want to expose our children to?

But on the other hand, there is part of me that is very attracted to the idea of making Coachella a family event. Putting aside the parents that only take their kids because they Kids Headphones selfishly want to go and the parents who bring their infants (don't even pretend they can appreciate the music), I think there is a certain respectable reasoning behind bringing children to the festival. In a time when second graders have iPhones and girls idolize Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry, Coachella represents a desire to return to a simpler and more authentic pop culture. There is a sense of community and appreciation that is at the core of the festival -- the founders did not start Coachella to be a drug-fueled bender with a side dish of music; they started it with the intention to bring people who love music together for a weekend dedicated to this art. Yes, bringing children to Coachella is a significantly bigger and more complex commitment than bringing them to a museum -- but at a basic level, they are in many ways the same. Would I rather have my 5th grader spend a weekend at Coachella, or a weekend playing Candy Crush on their iPad? 100% the former.

Yes, there are parts of Coachella that are NSFW, or NSFK. I'd encourage parents to avoid the Sahara tent, hang towards the back of crowds, hit up the do lab for a midday cool-off, and stock up on water. And if you're going to bring your children to Coachella for the sake of a cultural and artistic experience, then make sure they get it -- explore the Kids Headphones art installations, go on the ferris wheel and eat some of the incredible food in the Terrace.

So while bringing children to Coachella might initially seem like a serious lapse of parental judgement, maybe we're just having a lapse of judgement ourselves.


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House Votes to Give Former Presidents a Pension Cut

President Obama could soon get a bill on his desk limiting his post-presidential pay.

The House has approved a measure to curb the taxpayer-funded benefits former presidents receive each year after leaving the White House in order to tamp down on benefits afforded to those who make a considerable salary in the private sector.

The bill from House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, would limit yearly presidential pensions to $200,000 -- slightly less than they're allowed now -- but Pension would cut that amount by a dollar for every dollar they earn over $400,000 a year in the private sector.

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, has introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

The Utah Republican says taxpayers shouldnt be footing the bill for former presidents who have no trouble earning money.

Its pretty simple. You want a retirement and pension, its there. But if youre going to go out and make enormous sums of money, then you dont need taxpayer subsidies, Chaffetz said in an interview.

"The former presidents are making gobs of money speaking and writing books, more power to them, but that doesnt mean they need more taxpayer dollars on top of that, Chaffetz said in an interview. Its embarrassing that they take that money.

Under the 1958 Former Presidents Act, previous commanders-in-chief are entitled to a pension equal to the annual salary of a Cabinet Secretary - $203,700 in 2015. They also receive stipends to pay for postage, office space and staff salaries.

While the measure was enacted after President Harry Truman left office - and had trouble paying his bills when he returned to Missouri - former presidents now make comfortable livings running foundations, writing books and giving speeches.

Chaffetz has introduced the bill in Pension previous years, only to see it die in committee. Now, he has a buy in from Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, the top Democrat on his Oversight Committee.

Weve got a good working relationship, and I think we have a mutual trust, he said of Cummings support for the bill, adding that it would impact Republicans and Democrats equally.

The bill doesnt affect funding for presidential security details, but does increase the annual compensation for presidential spouses from $20,000 to $100,000 a year, and tweaks the laws language to include widowers.

The government spent roughly $3.2 million on presidential allowances in 2015, according to the Congressional Research Service, with President George W. Bush receiving the most taxpayer money ($1.09 million), followed by President Bill Clinton ($924,000).


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