You may have all the cameras, cables, and equipment, but if you don’t know how to properly angle and mount your DIY home surveillance system, it won’t be the benefit to you that it may have otherwise been. Your cameras need to be mounted in a way that they can capture a full vision of the area you want or need under surveillance, and they shouldn’t be obscured by other objects or improper lighting. Here we’ll go over a few lighting tips that may help you as you try to get the most out of your surveillance system.
The lighting of a room or area will have an incredible impact on the quality and clarity of your video feed. Once you have determined the area that you want under surveillance, it’s important that you take some time – perhaps even a whole day – to observe the lighting conditions in that area. Notice how bright or dim it is and notice how that lighting is affected by the day-to-day goings-on in the area. Will your camera be in a position where it needs to capture video during both daytime and nighttime, in an area that will be dark at night but light during the day? If this is the case, you will want to look for a day/night camera, which is made specifically to adapt to changing lighting. Most day/night cameras will do this automatically without the need for manually switching its lighting mode.
One of the ways that you can tell which kind of lighting a camera is built for is to look for what is called the Lux rating. This rating will be lower if the camera is made for use in dim areas or during nighttime hours. The higher the Lux rating, the brighter light the camera can handle.
Something important to note is the camera’s mounting position relative to the room’s lighting. The camera should never be directly facing a source of light, and it should never be fully backlit as well. If you want the best clarity for your video feed, place your cameras in areas where they are under the same amount of lighting as the area they are observing. This will prevent any washing out of the image. However, in the case of outdoor mounting, avoid putting the camera in direct exposure to sunlight. Some outdoor cameras come with a built-in cover to shield the lens from exposure to sunlight and elements, but these tend to be more expensive. For a lower price with quality lighting, mount your outdoor cameras beneath the shelter of an overhang.
Unfortunately, even if you have fantastic lighting, an improper angle will render your camera near useless. Look for optimum mounting locations, such as a corner of a room, a corner that looks down two intersecting hallways, or the outdoor corner between your drive and your entryway. These positions will allow you to get a full scope of the area you’re trying to keep an eye on so that you don’t miss anything. If you’re looking over a larger room that isn’t square, you may want to find a position somewhere on the side of the longest wall to mount the camera, and you may want to invest in a Pan-Tilt-Zoom camera that can move to look around the entire area. Some of these can even follow movement when it’s detected.