Security Equipment Masterclass: Footage Storage Tips
If you plan to install security equipment to protect your home or business, then you need to understand how best to store the footage your surveillance system captures. Store too much data and you risk racking up over-the-top storage expenses that will break your budget – especially with cameras with Internet access that store data to online servers. Store too little data and you end up with footage that is virtually useless or worse – you could end up with no footage to work with at all!
There is more to this than meets the eye, which is you need to take the following factors into consideration:
The overall quality of the captured footage is one of the most important aspects that will determine the storage needs of your security equipment. Higher resolution means clearer pictures over longer distances, but this leads to images and videos that will need much more space. A good rule of thumb to solve this dilemma is to set resolutions at 40 pixels per foot from the camera: 400 pixels for 10 feet, 800 pixels for 20 feet and so on and so forth. This will allow your surveillance equipment to capture footage in acceptable detail when the need arises.
Frames Per Second
Another major factor that will determine the file storage needs of your security equipment is the speed at which each individual surveillance camera captures images – the frames per second. Higher frames per second allow for smoother images with minimal motion blur but will require more space in exchange for the improved quality. 6 to 10 FPS is the most common range used for security cameras and will provide a pretty good benchmark to help you determine what you need for your own purposes.
The way your security equipment creates its videos and images is the third major factor in determining your storage needs. This is where the digital video recorder or DVR comes in. You will want this particular piece of security hardware to have H.264 compression capabilities, which is currently one of the most efficient methods of squeezing down file sizes without compromising image quality. Pair it up with a good hard drive with 1 terabyte or more of storage space and you will have a lot more storage space to work with.
If you are looking for a security camera setup that will drastically reduce your storage needs, then make sure to look for one with motion-triggered capture capabilities. Such a setup will ‘freeze’ an image of the surrounding area. If there is even the slightest disturbance, the camera will activate and begin capturing footage until after the last movement is detected. This will save a lot of storage space by activating the video feed only when something is amiss – allowing you to make the most with fewer resources at your disposal.
On-Camera Memory Cards
Some security equipment setups combine all the aforementioned factors to allow cameras to operate with minimal – if any – connection to a centralized system. Motion-triggered capture combined with optimized video capture can reduce file sizes to the point where they can be safely stored in memory cards planted within the digital cameras. If your surveillance systems are minimal and want to focus on only a few key areas at a time, cameras with mounted memory cards may be a much more cost-effective option than a fully networked camera setup.
Using a On-Camera memory security system requires a stringent manual backup system and you may want to have two or three sets of SD cards to make backup of security footage easier.