Video Surveillance Lighting
There is more to a video surveillance system that just cameras. As any photographer or videographer will tell you: “The right light makes all the difference”. Whereas in photography different temperature and levels of light are used to create the mood, surveillance video systems need bright, even and white light. Ideally, lighting for surveillance cameras is provided from above and/or behind the camera, and is comprised of an energy efficient LED lamp or fixture with a high CRI (Color Rendering Index) and a color temperature close to 5,600K. The best solution available on the market today is provided from led fixtures.
Bill Colonna, BSCE, JD Lighting Expert and Construction Expert Witness, mLEDTech
The brighter and whiter the light, the better.
Having a video surveillance or CCTV system is a great way to increase your visibility. But without the right lighting you may be putting good after bad. Imagine capturing a crime or accident, and not being able to clearly identify the people or a hazard on playback. When you are considering camera placement it is also important to think about the lighting source you will use. Modern day cameras have auto-iris lenses, which adjust to changing light levels, which helps but only can do so much for image quality. Camera selection placement and features will make strides toward adequately capturing the target area, but not independent of lighting. The impact of poor lightning is a lower resolution image and thus less useful recording. Proper lighting makes a tremendous difference in capturing adequate details to protect your business and customers.
Four Critical Components of Surveillance Lighting
- Brighter Light
- Higher light levels allow the camera to use a smaller iris setting, which allows for a greater depth of field and higher frame rate recording.
- Even Light.
- Even lighting throughout the cameras field of view (FOV) allows the camera to adjust to a single light level and not have dark or washed out areas of the image.
- White Light
- Using a fixture or bulb with a high color temperature (5,600 K is the standard) with CRI above 80 will give the best color representation during viewing and playback.
- Constant Light
Using motion-activated lighting is better than nothing but can create its own issues. The same motion that triggers the lighting is what you are trying to record. So when the lights turn on they will wash out the image until the camera adjusts to the new light levels. This can cause you to miss what you were trying to capture with the camera
Spot lighting should be from the same direction as the camera, most importantly, behind and above the camera. This creates a front lit scene which pushes silhouettes or shadows behind the target. Area lighting should be above the cameras field of view or above the target area. Lighting should be configured such that the light is measured a 5’6” to 6’6” above the ground. Ensuring you have even lighting at this level will give you the best chance at capturing an Identifiable image.