Here’s a list of CCTV terminology to get you started!

Analog Backlight Compensation (BLC): Automatically adjusts picture brightness depending on lighting conditions. This helps overcome strong backlighting which normally results in silhouettes or shadows.

Auto Tracing White Balance (ATW): Automatically adjusts the white balance in response to varying light conditions.

Automatic Gain Control (AGC): Amplifies existing video to help camera create an enhanced video signal at low light levels.

Automatic Iris: A device in the lens that self-adjusts to light level changes. The iris opens or closes to control the amount of light passing through the lens.

Backlight Compensation: A feature that compensates for bright backgrounds so foreground objects aren’t silhouetted.

Charge Coupled Device (CCD): A sensor that collects light and converts it into an electrical signal.

Covert Surveillance: Either using cameras that are hidden or disguised to observe a scene without being detected. Covert surveillance can also be physically undertaken by people, generally Private Investigators. See Investigation Services

Digital Recording: Technology that enables images from a camera to be stored on a hard drive. A digital recorder provides clearer images that video tape and faster access to them.

Digital Signal Processing (DSP): Conversion of the analog signal from a CCD image sensor into a digital signal through an analog to digital converter. This enables many digital features such as backlight compensation or sensitivity up.

Focal Length: The distance from the centre of a lens to a point where it focuses light. The combination of the focal length and the CCD format determines a camera’s field of view. The shorter the focal length, the wider the field of view.

IP Video Surveillance: A video surveillance system that allows analog and/or IP (Internet Protocol) cameras, operating over a standard IP network, to transmit real-time video feeds over the internet. The video footage is processed and recorded digitally onto an NVR (Network Video Recorder) where it can be accessed remotely by any PC connected to the network.

JPEG/MPEG: Both the Joint Photographic Experts Group and the Motion Picture Experts Group represent standards for the storage and retrieval of compressed still and video pictures.

Lux: A unit measuring the intensity of light. The light of a full moon is about 0.1 lux, while bright sunlight is about 100,000 lux.

NTSC: Standard of broadcasting color television in the US and Japan formulated by the National Television Standards Committee.

PAL: Short for Phase Alternating Line, is a colour-encoding system used in broadcast television systems in large parts of the world, including New Zealand.

Resolution: A measure of the ability of a camera, recorder or monitor to reproduce detail. The bandwidth of the video signal relating to the amount of detail that determines the overall quality of the picture.

Varifocal Lens: Contains several movable elements to permit manual adjustment of the effective focal length. This type of lens allows you to adjust the size of your field of view.

Video Motion Detection: A system that detects motion in the video signal and generates a corresponding alarm. This can be accomplished by some cameras, multiplexers and digital recorders. This feature maximises recording space by only recording while motion is detected.

White Balance: A process used in video cameras to retain true colours.

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