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Lighting is important for video surveillance

Video surveillance systems can be one of the most effective tools used to deter crime in the private sector. But these tools are not without problems, as shadows and variable lighting conditions can be a camera's worst enemy, according to a Source Security report.

Many banks, retail stores and hospitals have a large number of windows to bring in natural light and minimize any potential gloomy effects. The abundance of natural light, however, can also damage image quality by creating glares and impacting the camera's ability to capture decent pictures. On the opposite side of the spectrum, locations without natural light can also affect image quality by making it impossible for video surveillance cameras to capture detail, the news source said.

Additionally, a contrast between an abundance of natural light and dim artificial light can generate black-and-white images that essentially diminish the effectiveness of high-definition cameras, Source Security noted.

"Without video systems that can function in changing lighting, perpetrators may be in plain view yet unidentifiable with video, allowing them to compromise the security of a facility without being incriminated," the report said. "Viewable images are vital to a successful prosecution and to helping discredit personal injury cases or other false claims of liability in court."

A separate report by researchers at the University of Central Florida noted that shadows can also be a problem with surveillance. Generally, there are two types of shadows: self and cast. Self shadows are part of the object not directly illuminated by light, while cast shadows are images from surrounding light rays. Companies need innovative surveillance tools capable of identifying and classifying these images if they are to develop quality images.

Businesses should keep lighting in mind when deploying surveillance technologies, as too much or too little can negatively impact how effective the systems are.

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