Camera Location: Placement and Positioning
Camera Location Tips
Camera Location depends on the following:
- Distance from camera to viewing / recording device
- Environmental conditions
- Lighting conditions
- The further you wish to place the camera from the viewing or recording device, the higher the quality of the camera and cable should be. This will help ensure an acceptable image quality, and that minimal video quality is lost during transmission
- Keep the power supply as close to the camera as possible to ensure the optimal voltage is received. The further the power supply from the camera, the more power is lost, potentially affecting video quality and IR brightness
- Cameras should be placed out of reach of intruders
Do not place wireless cameras within 15 feet of each other or within range of other wireless devices using the same frequency
- Wireless networks, cordless phones, and microwaves are the leading causes of interference using the 2.4GHz frequency
- Make sure the power connections are not directly exposed to water and moisture, and shielded from other outdoor elements. Each camera has an IP Rating (Ingress Protection Rating) that determines the amount of exposure to water – please review the manual for the specific model prior to permanently mounting the camera
- Ensure that outdoor power cables, such as extension cords, are designed for outdoor use
- Over time the protective camera lens may become dirty. Clean the lens using a lint free cloth
- Weatherproof only means that the camera can be exposed to weather, such as rain and snow. Weatherproof cameras cannot be submerged under water
Do not place the camera where rain and snow will hit the lens directly
- You may want to consider purchasing a sunshade housing
- Cameras geared for cold weather, such as -10°C may work in conditions as low as -25°C, as the camera produces heat when plugged in
- For best results do not point the camera towards a light source
- Pointing the camera at a glass window intending to see outside may result in a poor image because of glare depending on the lighting conditions inside and outside.
- Do not have the camera in a shaded area looking out into a well lit area as this will display poor results. The light to the camera sensor in the front of the camera needs to be the same as the light at the focal target for best results.
- For night vision, additional IR LED lighting should be placed above the camera to ensure everything within the camera view is illuminated. See the Night Vision Guide for details.
- When installing the camera, before screwing in the mounting bracket, check the image on the screen to see if the picture is acceptable and clear from direct sun or light
- Place cameras in the most strategic places where they can provide detailed, recorded video of every visitor (such as Entrances, Exits, Cash Registers, etc.)
- If possible, plug cameras into a surge protector, as just like any other electronic device, they are extremely sensitive to voltage changes and can fail prematurely.
- Consult the Lighting Guide and Night Vision Guides.
Is it legal to use hidden cameras?
Most video recordings in the United States and Canada are legal, even without consent. However, they must not be placed in a private place where a person expects to be safe from unauthorized surveillance. Doing so may violate the laws regarding invasion of privacy. This includes areas such as: bathrooms, locker rooms, bedrooms, change rooms, etc. It is your responsibility to review the local laws and regulations in your jurisdiction when installing wired and wireless cameras.
The following images illustrate both good and bad camera positioning.
Height and Location
- Position the camera at a height where it cannot easily be tampered with.
- Positioning a camera in a high traffic area allows you to monitor people entering and exiting different areas. The Camera in Figure 1 can monitor people entering and exiting 2 separate areas off a main hallway.
- The Cameras in Figure 2 are positioned to monitor two high traffic hallways, and are making use of one installation location. When drilling holes or running wires, it is useful to plan the camera locations ahead of time – in the example shown, both cameras are making use of one cable hole.
The IP (Ingress Protection) rating determines how robust a camera is against Dust, Moisture and Impact.
What Rating do I need?
For CCTV cameras, consider the following examples:
Weather Resistant vs. Weatherproof Locations
- Weather Resistant Cameras (IP44 – IP65) cannot be placed in a location where they will be exposed directly to the elements (rain, snow, etc.). These cameras should be placed in an area where they will be protected from the elements, such as under an overhang or awning (see Figure 4).
- Weatherproof Cameras (IP66 – IP67) can be placed in an area where they may be exposed directly to the elements (see Figure 5). However, it is still recommended that outdoor cameras be placed in an area where they will be protected from the elements.
- Submersible Cameras (IP68) are considered underwater cameras, and are designed for direct contact with water.
Day vs. Night Lighting
- It is important to note the lighting conditions at different times of day and night
- In Figure 6, the camera has been positioned to monitor a Parking Area during the day. The lighting conditions are optimal, and a clear picture of cars and traffic is shown
- In Figure 7, the same camera is shown, facing the parking lot at night, however the lighting conditions are no longer optimal as the camera has been positioned facing directly at a spot light (as shown circled in Figure 6). When the light comes on at night, it causes a white-out and halo effect that takes up a large portion of the video image, and makes the remainder appear washed out
Last Updated: 4/17/2012