5 Reasons to Add Lighting to Your Video Surveillance Projects

Independent lighting can help resolve surveillance camera obstacles in producing higher quality images and deterring nighttime intruders.

Eddie Reynolds

Just as the human eye relies on the presence of an adequate light source to see, security cameras must be provided with proper illumination to capture high-quality images and video.

In fact, many of the problems associated with picture quality in the security industry can be easily resolved through the implementation of high-caliber lighting. Here are five reasons to educate your clients on why their security cameras need more light.

1. Most Crime Occurs in Darkness

Areas without light benefit potential offenders by offering camouflage during an incident and concealing their identity through poor image quality when investigators revisit footage. With this in mind, it really comes as no surprise that criminals choose to commit most of their wrongdoings in the dark.

So, how do you counter this advantage that is present for nearly half of every day? Although it may sound obvious, the best way to combat the absence of natural light is to implement a reliable, independent illuminator.

2. Residential & Commercial Lighting Aren’t Enough

Having the proper illumination goes beyond flooding a specific area with light — it requires the strategic placement of lighting products throughout a given area. Most residential and commercial locations do not provide enough light.

Streetlights, porch lights and parking garage luminaires are all fixed at one angle and in one location. They provide light for the specified view, but anything outside of that area that a camera might be capturing is not covered.

To remedy the situation, determine what angle illuminator — narrow or panoramic — should be installed. Another challenge that may arise is light oversaturation. This often occurs where there are close-quartered houses or residential apartments. To limit light emission, install invisible infrared (IR) lights so the camera can see it, but not the human eye.

3. Lighting as a Natural Crime Deterrent

Along with providing increased security through enhanced visibility, white light can also serve as a crime deterrent when added to physical security systems.

One example can be seen in motion-sensitive lights. Not only does this feature give intruders the idea that someone is watching them, it will eliminate the suspect’s ability to act under the cover of darkness. In the event of a lawsuit, clear footage will increase the court’s ability to understand the situation and come to a verdict.

4. Video Analytics Need Clear Images

Every industry that relies on cameras, apart from security, understands the importance of lighting when it comes to image quality. Even the human eye itself must have sufficient light to see and even more to discern any kind of detail.

Yet, somehow the security industry has largely communicated that higher definition cameras are all that end users need for higher quality in any circumstance. Many manufacturers like to say their cameras work very well at night based on lux rating.

The reality is that it does not matter whether your camera is 4K or 400K resolution — without a proper lighting source it will not be able to obtain the details needed for analytics and intrusion detection.

5. LED Lighting Is Cost Effective

LED lighting has a lower running cost than incandescent and fluorescent lights, thus your end user will see a return on investment in 12-18 months. For example, a lighting source that can reach up to 919 feet only needs 48W to function with LED bulbs, where a normal incandescent bulb would require upwards of 500W.

Independent illuminators can also carry the benefit of avoiding issues associated with integrated lighting sources, such as the inescapable invasion of flying and crawling insects. Although lighting itself is not a deterrent of insects, utilizing a separate illuminator instead of an all-in-one camera lighting source keeps bugs from flying into your CCTV camera, thereby obstructing its view, causing false alarms, or causing malfunctions.

Additionally, for integrators, offering independent illuminators creates new profit opportunities; a lighting product is a simple upsell that can expand your profit margins and leave your end user with a more effective security system.

Lighting is one of the most important aspects in security. Without it, there can be no high quality video or imaging, and the night becomes a problematic conundrum. By increasing knowledge and awareness about independent illumination for security purposes, we will continue to see the steady growth of it as a necessary part of a total surveillance solution.

Author Eddie Reynolds is President and CEO of Iluminar.