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Audio Surveillance, CCTV Microphones, and Audio Monitoring with Security Systems

cctv microphone

Adding an Audio dimension to your security application can be a significant upgrade for a number of reasons. CCTV Microphones or Microphone Kits are popular in a variety of industries, and for a multitude of reasons. We have received multiple calls with both residential and commercial customers that ask “How can I add audio to my Security Camera System?” Most systems support audio surveillance in some capacity. However, it is necessary to take note of individual State and Local laws and statutes regarding audio surveillance and make sure you are in compliance before implementing your strategy.

Audio Surveillance is commonly used in retail and food service applications to promote, and monitor good customer service practices. Owners and Managers can monitor interactions between customers and employees to make sure the staff is providing courteous service as well as offering all the sale details, or pertinent information, etc. Recordings of these interactions are sometimes used as a training tool as well. Since many Security DVR’s and NVR’s will support audio over the web, Owners and Managers can monitor audio from other locations. This comes in handy when a business has multiple locations.

Body Worn Camera
Body Worn Camera

CCTV Audio is commonly used in Law Enforcement as well. In interview rooms as well as with Body Worn Cameras, Audio surveillance and recording can provide important evidence and documentation. Audio surveillance can also be used to pinpoint problem areas in active situations, especially over large areas such as college campuses or stadiums.

Stand Alone CCTV Microphone

 

CCTV Microphone kits, or Stand Alone Microphones, are generally ‘One Way’ Audio. In other words, you can hear and record what is being said from the location of the microphone. Many IP Cameras, however, have built-in, two-way audio. Two way audio allows for two way communication as the camera actually has a built in speaker as well. This can also be used for training or communicating in instances that need video support. It takes a little setting up for the talk back feature but can be very useful in the right application.

Microphone kits can be used indoors or outdoors as well. Outdoor applications require weather resistant microphones, or even weatherproof microphones, depending on the application. There are different issues that affect usage for indoor and/or outdoor audio. Since there is more ambient noise in outdoor applications, placement of the microphone becomes extremely important. Covering a large area may require several microphones. Background noise such as traffic sounds or wind blowing may affect audio quality. Similar issues may arise indoors if your application is in a busy, noisy restaurant for example. Familiarize yourself with the features and/or limitations of your Microphone and Equipment, as well as the environment it will be used in. Other issues to watch out for include installation issues including placement of cables. There are some guidelines to follow when installing Audio, or Microphone Kits and we have listed some of the main ones below.

Outdoor Microphone
Weatherproof Microphone: MICO-MIC

 

Here are some General Guidelines for Installing CCTV Microphones:

1. Never run your microphone cable next to, or across an electrical line. This will cause ‘noise’ in your line. Instead of hearing what you intended, you will hear static or just a loud hum. It’s not a pretty sound.

2. Do not install microphones next to noisy appliances. Due to proximity, you will hear unwanted noise in your feed. Even if you can’t hear the appliance very well, the microphone may pick up the noise enough to make important information hard to hear.

3. Do not install your microphone next to or too close to fluorescent lighting. This will also cause noise issues.

4. Installing a Microphone too close to a speaker may cause feedback issues (A loud pitched, gosh-awful, screeching noise).

5. Some applications require Stand-Alone Microphone Kits as opposed to Security Cameras with Built-In Mic’s. Placement of a Camera for optimal Video may not necessarily correspond to optimal placement for audio.

6. Make sure your Security DVR or NVR has the proper Audio Inputs before running your cables!

7. Consider the specifications and limitations of your equipment relative to the environment where they will be deployed.

And of course, if you need assistance, please feel free to call us for assistance. We love to talk to people about security cameras! And Microphones also!

View Audio Surveillance Equipment Here!

See Security Cameras with Built-In Audio Here!

 

Please also see our post, “How to install a CCTV Microphone to your Security Camera System”

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Seeing Color in Extremely Low Light Levels with STARVIS!

Starvis Compare

Starvis CCTV Security Cameras

I’ve been in this industry for a while now, and there have been a handful of innovations that have really grabbed my attention. STARVIS, certainly is one of them. For quite some time, a major drawback to to having CCTV cameras in a low-lit area like a restaurant or bar, is that since the light levels are below the IR threshold, cameras stay in IR mode (Black and White) all the time. In IR mode (night vision), you sometimes lose detail that may be important later on, especially color. In a situation where we need detailed images from our CCTV Cameras, like what color shirt someone is wearing, having a Security Camera that can see in color in low light can be very beneficial. In addition, there are unforseen times when something may cause the IR to bounce wrong and ruin a picture. I know it sounds far fetched, but we don’t have CCTV systems because we’re complacent.

Like I had mentioned earlier, Starvis is one of the few new things in CCTV (well… relatively new) that has really grabbed my attention. It allows for very low-light footage to be captured in color. The Starvis Back-Illuminated sensor, made by SONY, is incredibly sensitive, and since its introduction, they’ve improved upon the technology. You may very well be asking yourself what practical application would this have for you. Check out this comparison below and pick which image you would rather use as evidence or as a way of determining what color shirt a person was wearing.

Starvis

With Starvis technology, not only are images captured, but the footage would also have extra information for the police to possibly make an arrest. Can’t see the color of a car when your cameras are in IR mode? What about a home intruder? The ability to be able to show the police exactly what they looked like is something that could be incredibly beneficial. Business owner? Maybe a restaurant or bar? Being able to keep all footage in color would help identify troublemakers should they start making a scene, or worse. Detail is better preserved in color. Beyond capturing detailed evidence, viewing your live CCTV images and recorded footage can be much more productive when in color. Imagine trying to explain to an employee in training: “Hey, when you served that woman with the, well I’m not sure what color hair she had but on my footage it looks…grayish?”

So Starvis Low Light CCTV Security Cameras are quickly becoming popular with Bar’s, Restaurants, Poker Rooms, Internet Cafe’s and a multitude of other business’s that operate in low light conditions. One Internet Cafe owner exclaimed “Wow, it’s great to be able to finally see everything in color, all the time! It always bothered me that when we were closed during the day, everything was in color but as soon as we opened, and the lights went down, my cameras were in black and white.”

Starvis

So you’re with me up to this point, right? I’m sure you’ve asked yourself, “Which cameras are offered by Ellipse Security that have Starvis Capabilities?”. I’m glad you asked. Our STOiC Technology Line of Cameras feature many Starvis Models for your needs. Here is a quick list:

The STH-B3271 with not only StarVis, but an incredible 270 feet of IR range

https://ellipsesecurity.com/product/sth-b3271b/

The STH-D5561W Dome

https://ellipsesecurity.com/product/sth-d5561w/

The variable focus STH-D2100W Indoor Dome (2.8-12mm zoom)

https://ellipsesecurity.com/product/sth-d2100w/

The STH-B3181 with an IR range of 180′ and a 2.8-12mm Variable Foucus lens (also available in charcoal color)

https://ellipsesecurity.com/product/sth-b3181w/

And the author’s personal favorite, the STH-B2061W. Quite possibly our most well rounded camera, as well as one of our most popular. SmartIR, Starvis, a compact size, and also has built in audio. This camera could have an article all on its own.

https://ellipsesecurity.com/product/sth-b2061w/

And adding new models every day!

So, now that you’ve seen what Starvis can do for you, and have some ideas as far as practical applications for the home and business, give it a shot for your CCTV camera system. You’ll be able to see the difference for yourself. Still have questions? No problem! Give us a call!

We love talking to people about security cameras, and StarVis!

Toll-Free 877-880-7728