Bad lighting = poor CCTV.
Recent studies1 from the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) show that there are between 4 and 5.9 million CCTV cameras in the UK; which means we’re spending an estimated £2.2 billion per year on surveillance cameras and technology! And it appears that investment is paying off - CCTV surveillance is useful in approximately 65% of crimes with available footage, making it vital for lighting designers to provide the right light to create clear and distinctive images.
HD, ultra HD and 4K, are just a few of the latest developments in CCTV, but even with these technological advancements, it still relies on a lot of light to be effective - so when it does go wrong it is more often than not the result of poor or badly designed lighting.
Our top tip - if tasked with a security lighting scheme where close-up, high-quality imagery is required to enable an individual to be recognised and identified2, is to swap your lighting designers cap and start thinking more like a photographer.
We asked our lighting applications team to list their top 5 recommendations for designing for CCTV and facial recognition:
1. Use the right amount of light
We understand that in an energy-conscious age, we are all trying to reduce the amount of energy (and thus light) we use, but, if you want to be able to clearly identify a criminal on your CCTV, a different mindset must apply. You are going to need to use lots of light.
Lighting for CCTV should be based on the inverse square rule: if you double the distance to the subject being lit, you will need FOUR times the original light. Additional lighting can be used to create an evenly lit scene in the camera’s field of view, as this will ensure captured images are not too dark or washed out. However, this is also true in reverse. It is usually recommended that there be no more than a 3:1 contrast ratio of minimum or maximum illumination within an artificially lit scene.