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Using Security Lighting in Conjunction with Surveillance Cameras

When planning for your facility’s security, the go-to item is security cameras. However, even the most powerful camera won’t capture anything if it doesn’t have proper lighting. Just as you wouldn’t expect to clearly see a potential burglar in the dark with your own eyes, most security cameras won’t be able to either. The answer to this issue is to install lighting, but this poses new problems such as illuminating hidden cameras or creating glare on camera lenses.

Luckily, there are solutions to these issues and other questions you may have about how best to use lighting in conjunction with your facility’s security cameras.

How should lights be positioned in relation to cameras?

The rule of thumb for light positioning is to keep the light fixture out of view of the camera. This is best done by installing lights higher than the camera, allowing light to flood the camera’s range of view without shining too directly into the camera.

Cameras should also be positioned with extraneous lighting, such as for pedestrians and visitors, out of view. Lights like these can cause bright spots that become blind spots to camera images. Furthermore, position lights where they can be reached easily for maintenance but not so easily that they can be maliciously tampered with.

Are LED lights more or less effective when used with surveillance cameras for security, or does it matter?

There are many advantages to using LED lights with surveillance cameras. They produce very bright white light that illuminates objects and colors more clearly than softer incandescent lights, allowing for better identification of suspicious persons and activity.

LED lights produce strong beams that can be easily directed to specific areas where more light is needed or away from areas where it might interfere with cameras. LED lights can also be turned on or off instantly, which is great for motion detection.

The only big disadvantage to LED lights is their brightness can cause glare on camera lenses, but this can be remedied by using multiple lights of a lower wattage in place of a few lights with high-powered beams.

What type of camera should be used when lights are motion-activated?

Motion-activated lights are a great way to deter intruders without running up your electricity bill. But they will affect what kind of security camera you’ll need. Cameras with night vision will be necessary because they can survey even when lights are not on.

Look for cameras with low-light sensitivity or infrared capabilities and that have quick adjustment times to “daylight” when your lights are activated.

Is there an advantage to using lights not visible to humans, such as infrared lights, in conjunction with some types of security cameras?

Security cameras can be a great deterrent to wrong-doers, but sometimes you don’t want people to know the cameras are there. Infrared lights are a great option in areas where you don’t want light that is visible to the human eye but still need surveillance.

However, you will need cameras that are sensitive enough to detect infrared at night. Your best option, in this case, is a black-and-white camera, which can detect spectrums of light below red. With this capability, your cameras will be able to stealthily view areas without any visible illumination.

Will certain types of security lighting actually make some cameras less effective?

Light that is too bright and shines too directly at a camera can blind its view with blooming and streaking. Use shielded bulbs whose light is directed away from your cameras. Also, don’t install the brightest lights possible. A good rule of thumb is to use bulbs with .5 watts for every square meter (.05 watts for every square foot) of ground you want to illuminate. Anything higher is probably unnecessary and risks overwhelming your cameras.

At the same time, you don’t want to have too little lighting for your surveillance cameras. If your cameras do not have good low-light capability, you need to make sure you’re illuminating their surveillance areas with strong enough lights to get a clear picture.

If you’re looking to upgrade your facility’s security equipment, make sure proper cameras and lighting are part of your plans. Consulting with a company that specializes in security camera installation will help make sure that you get the best advice for your specific situation.

That way, you’ll get the most out of your surveillance efforts by installing complementary lighting and cameras in strategic positions where the lighting best enhances your cameras’ effectiveness.

After all, the whole point of security cameras is to watch what goes on around your facility, but unless your cameras have proper illumination they–and you–won’t see much of anything.