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Getting the Most out of Your DIY CCTV System

 

Many of us have had that feeling. Getting a new CCTV system home, getting everything unpacked, going over the setup instructions, running cable… you get the idea. You get everything installed, get your security cameras set just right, and then you go to look at what you’ve accomplished. It looks stunning. And why wouldn’t it? You’ve worked so hard. You’ve taken every aspect into consideration. Fabulous.

But you’ve now asked your significant other to go walk around outside, so you can see some movement on your system. That’s half the fun, right? They go off on their walk and… you can’t see them for several minutes. What? Oh, there they are. Now they’re gone again…. No matter, though. Right? At least you’ve got all the entrances covered. Other than the side door they’ve just come in through. No matter. It’s okay.

That night, you take what seems like the 50th look at your gorgeous CCTV system, but this time… something’s wrong. These cameras are supposed to be great at night! WHAT GIVES?! You paid a lot of money for this security system, and it took just about all weekend (with help, by the way) to get the thing installed. Now you have four out of ten security cameras that look horrible at night. Why on earth are they so blown out and gross looking?

How frustrating.

Here’s the thing. Many people who are doing they installs on their own don’t have a good plan going into it. Here are a few tips for you to keep in mind if you decide to forgo having someone install your system for you.

  1. Have a layout plan before you start running cables. Even before you start looking at CCTV systems, you should have a good plan as far as your surveillance layout. You need to know which areas of your property you want to cover, which are key areas, and also have a good idea of how to accomplish your goal. Why plan this before you look for systems? Well, maybe you have a need for more than just a box system. One instance that we’ve seen first-hand here at Ellipse Security is a client needed to keep a close eye on a dock that was about 100 yards from their house. A fixed camera wasn’t going to do this for them, so they needed a variable focus camera for this task. The same client had a need for longer range IR than normal kit cameras could provide. A STOiC variable focus camera, and a few long-range IR cameras came to the rescue. Added to their kit cameras, they made this system something that was perfect for their needs.
  2. Honestly assess your needs. I really don’t know anyone who doesn’t want a fleet of PTZ cameras. Who doesn’t want to feel like they’re one of those guys who gets to play around with the surveillance system for the city of London? This author can sincerely tell you that he would love to. That being said, not only would this be overkill for the majority of smaller systems, but having that many PTZ cameras is pretty cost prohibitive for most of us. There’s also the flip side of that coin. Everyone wants a deal. Again, we’re all in good company here. But the rock-bottom kit system may not be what your situation needs. We’re not saying that you need to spend thousands on a system for it to work for you. We literally work with just about any budget, and can tailor a system for your needs, but it needs to be seen as an investment, as well. Give us a call for a free consultation. It’s not just a slogan; we really do love talking to people about security cameras.
  3. Now you have a good idea of the equipment you’ll need to cover the areas you need covered, you’ve picked the perfect system, gotten the layout perfect… but that camera just looks horrible at night. What?! Despite our best planning, we can’t escape physics. What do I mean by that? Well, during the day, cameras don’t have to deal with IR (infrared). It’s what makes seeing at night possible for CCTV cameras. It’s great, but also comes with a small drawback that needs to be planned for. That infrared light is going to reflect off of certain surfaces. Leaves, concrete, light colored walls, etc… Before you blame the camera, check to see if there’s any IR reflecting back into the camera off of any of the surfaces in your camera’s field of view. Debris, scratches or smudges on a Dome Style Security Camera are also a common culprit! Could be any of the above examples, so you may need to inspect and adjust your camera, or even trim some trees to eliminate this as an issue. Seems like kind of a pain, but we can assure you that the picture quality will drastically improve, so it’s well worth it. Try to include this in your planning and it will save you some trouble later in your install.
  4. One last thing to consider is whether you’d like to be able to monitor your CCTV system when you’re away from home or the office. If so, we’d be happy to help with this. Pretty much all CCTV systems these days have an app for viewing remotely. This can really be a great asset for home or business owners. Setting up alerts for movement, motion detection, etc… One thing, however, is that you need to plan a good, secure password for your system. Yeah, “Password1” is really easy to remember, but it’s… not good. At all. Pretty much every default password from every major manufacturer is available online. Leaving the default password on your DVR or NVR is like leaving your door wide open, with your collection of Rolex watches just inside, and a sign out front saying “Come on in!”. Anyone can log into your CCTV system and see your cameras. Live. Or worse. Check out our previous post called “Security for your Security” for more information on passwords and why you need a good one.

Let me end by saying that this isn’t an exhaustive list. There are going to be issues that may crop up. You may have a camera in your line-up that just doesn’t work for you. You may not have thought about bullet vs dome cameras. Maybe you need more storage space for your recording device. These are all things that we can assist with. With just a few minutes of consultation, we can maximize every dollar you invest, and make sure you get what you need out of your CCTV System! Give us a chance to show you why we love talking to people about security cameras. As stated above, it’s not just a catchy slogan (especially for a tech nerd like myself).

Call Us Toll Free at 877-880-7728