WOT: Security Cam Aspect Ratio...

RalphM wrote on 7/17/2015, 7:40 AM
A friend is having a lot of shoplifting losses at his store and wants a camera pointing at the front door feeding a prominent monitor so people entering will get the message they are on camera. There is to be no tie-in with the main security system.

I researched low cost security cams and bought a Swann PRO-642. It is advertised as having 976 x 474 resolution. However, when I test it using the composite input of an HD TV, it displays an essentially square picture.

What am I missing??


Steve Mann wrote on 7/17/2015, 8:11 AM
Composite Video is also known as EIA RS170 Specification. By definition it is 4:3. If you can find a display that would show widescreen composite, the image would be stretched.

It's not false advertising. The *camera* sensor is probably a 976x474 component, but what you are seeing is most likely 488x474 when it's smashed into a composite signal.
musicvid10 wrote on 7/17/2015, 8:34 AM
Swann is a toy, not even entry level for store security. You will be giving it away to a kid soon because of terrible quality. 474 vertical, murky lens, and ghosty cmos doesn't impress a crook walking in.

The resolution you noted is a standard 960x480 cctv security format, nothing to do with SD 4:3 video.
RalphM wrote on 7/17/2015, 9:01 AM
Appreciate the feedback. I'll be sending this unit back, but will demo it for my friend so he can see the need to spend more.

I see there are some camcorders under $US300 that have a clean HDMI output. This might be more of what he needs.
musicvid10 wrote on 7/17/2015, 9:18 AM
Also, beware of wireless unless you're buying a good commercial kit.
RalphM wrote on 7/17/2015, 10:43 AM
No need for wireless in this situation - camera and monitor will be close together.
GeeBax wrote on 7/17/2015, 7:35 PM
It is worthwhile spending money on a good high resolution camera for this sort of application. Often the only clear shot you get of a thief is when they walk in the door facing a camera. When they are leaving they are often running or have their back to the camera.

So having a good camera with lighting can make it much easier to identify a thief. I set up a system for my cousin who owns a large supermarket with a separate recorder. In many cases the police were easily able to identify the thief, as they are often well known to the cops.
TheHappyFriar wrote on 7/17/2015, 8:45 PM
I reread the first post to check, but he's not recording or feeding in to a security system. High quality will do no more then show them you've got some extra $$ for a HDTV & fancy camera.

Every store I've seen that has something like this (and several do) use a small TV (one even had a SD TV) with either 4 camera angles displayed or just one of you walking in. It's far enough away you can't tell the quality of the camera anyway, and if you're displaying on a lower quality TV then who cares what quality what the camera is if the only point is to "scare" people straight.
RalphM wrote on 7/18/2015, 8:07 AM
Yep - I hear you TheHappyFriar. I haven't seen his real security system, so I don't know what its quality is. His intent here is to let people know they are on camera in his store.

His store is in a vacation town, so many people figure that even if they are recorded, no one will know who they are. Personally, I'd rather see him show HD of the cars that pull into his parking lot. Cars/license plates are not anonymous.

I'll see him on Monday and demo the Swann and a small Canon HD camera I have and let him decide which way he wants to go.