Without further ado:
Question: So far on your website we’ve read about cameras that are stationary, that do not move. What about cameras that move up and down, back and forth? I’m told they can also focus in on a scene allowing us to see what’s going on up close. Can you tell me when to use a movable camera and when it’s better to use a stationary one?
Answer: Cameras that are stationary are commonly called “fixed” and those that can be moved up and down and all around, as well as having the ability to focus in on a scene, are commonly called “pan/tilt/zoom” models.
There are those who believe that pan/tilt/zoom cameras are a cure-all for every camera application involving a wide area of viewing. A good example of that took place at an elementary school in New Philadelphia/Dover, Ohio where an EE (Electrical Engineer) specified a $6,000 pan/tilt/zoom camera with a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) to overlook a playground area in the area of 12,000 sq. ft.
After a number of months, the superintendent, who was mad as a hornet, said, “The problem I’m having is every time one of these kids do something at one end of the playground, the camera is looking in the oppose direction.”
The fact of the matter is, the EE could have specified six low-priced, stationary cameras with overlapping areas of view for less money than the pan/tilt/zoom camera. Not only would this have cost the school less money, but it also would have done a better job of monitoring the playground because now everything that goes on would be committed to the DVR recording.
Pan/tilt/zoom cameras lend themselves well to a manned monitoring station where there’s someone there to control it, especially where it involves zooming in to view a remote scene. Another application for a pan/tilt/zoom camera is when there’s an alarm system that can act as a trigger for the video camera. In this case a VMS (Video Management System), which would integrate with the alarm system, could be used to trigger the camera to pan and tilt, then zoom in on the area of interest. This is done by programming the VMS to make the necessary movements when a door is opened, a motion detector is tripped, an access control reader activated, and more.
The following video, produced by GuardHome in the UK, “demonstrates a good quality PTZ CCTV video camera in action outside premises. It shows how you can get close-up shots in order to obtain clear details of numbers, signs etc.”
If you have a question, please feel free to send it along through our Quick Response Form on the top right of your screen. It will only take a few moments to send it along and all questions will be answered, either privately or on the ESC website.
John Larkin, Senior Partner