Night Vision Cameras by SCK
One of the most misunderstood and requested features on any camera, are Night Vision Cameras, SCK elaborates!
Security Cameras have been around a long time, long enough for their existence and placement throughout the world to be considered general knowledge. Not necessary the knowledge of how they work, just that its a well known fact that you can expect to find security cameras pretty much anywhere. Most people work in a location which utilizes security cameras. Every type of business out there from fast food, to grocery stores, private firms, schools, hospitals, even properties which simply house other businesses. In fact security cameras became so commonplace, that many homeowners, if not most homeowners, have them, know someone who has them, or at the very least have thought about or considered installing them in their own homes.
Alongside commonality, also comes misconception. Once something is well known enough in the mainstream, but not as many people know or understand how it works just that it exists, this begets misunderstanding and even often room for fiction.
For example, we all know computers exist, and we all know security cameras exist. However far less people know exactly how these devices work, or how they work together which leaves room for the imagination to fill in the gaps. Many popular movies, TV shows, and other media portray security cameras being used in ways which are frankly impossible in the real world. However our imaginations allow us to write these ideas and display them in a believable way. IF enough movies and TV come along showcasing a trope, then enough peopl1 eventually start to believe that’s how it works. A good example of this is the “enhance” trope often seen in crime investigation dramas. The ability to instantly make any image much much larger than it is with zero loss in image quality is show time and again. In reality any image immediately begins to lose quality when stretched beyond its normal size. Often times we end up having to explain to customers that this is not a real feature, and not something that can be accomplished in the way the imagination wants it to based on experiences gained from viewing fictional media.
However, not every feature is worse in real life than its imaginary counterpart. One of the more common misconceptions is surrounding night vision cameras. There is an idea floating around that in order to see images at night, one needs to own a special camera explicitly designed to do so, that this will be an extremely expensive piece of technology, and that even with this when viewing all you’ll see is a green, grainy image, akin to “nigh vision goggles” used in spy movies. This is not actually the case at all.
In fact, “night vision” or the ability to see in extremely low light environments, has long since been a standard feature on even the most rudimentary of IP and COAX cameras we carry at SCK for years now. It’s also not a poor quality grainy green image and there are a few ways you can achieve sight in the dark using our cameras.
How is this accomplished?
Infrared, a wavelength of light which is invisible to the human eye, but viewable by a camera, is used to illuminate a scene at night. Generally speaking white light, the spectrum of light we generally see in, is hard to reproduce in a sufficient enough volume to capture all needed details from a single camera source. However, infrared light doesn’t have this same issue. A lot of it can be generated from relatively low power, the same power supply which powers the camera is enough to also produce the infrared light the camera projects. In order to see this image clearly at all, a black and white post processing filter is applied over the infrared image. What we end up with is an extremely high quality, sharp, not grainy monochrome image for night time, and the same camera simply doesn’t use infrared and sees in color during the day. It isn’t a different type of camera at all, just a feature of modern cameras as a whole.
There are other forms of ‘night vision’ as well, which don’t fall under this or work with it. For example, our highest end IP cameras like our 8MP series contain starlight. This allows the camera to see well into much darker environments in color using far less available light before the camera is forced to use its IR to continue seeing.
There are also other solutions for more specific purposes. Firstly, we carry a camera called the Full Color camera. This camera is equipped with a starlight sensor alongside multiple pure white light led front lamps which can illuminate a scene with enough white light that even at night, the camera can see in full color using its starlight sensor.
Aside from full color cameras, another popular solution for dealing with extremely low light scenarios where visual acuity is almost impossible are thermal cameras. Thermal cameras are often positioned in larger areas where a lot of visual information at night can look very busy. Thermal cameras detect heat signatures. Most commonly this is displayed in black and white with the darkest areas being the coolest and the whitest areas being the warmest. Looking at key areas of a forest, or the perimeter of a neighborhood surrounded by bushes and trees, one can see how important it is to be able to discern details in the dark.