How to Choose a Camera for Mobile Video Surveillance on a Telescopic Mast
Photo by Scott Webb
Several incidents of civil unrest occurred in the United States in 2020 alone. Looking at these, it is easy to see how you might need a comprehensive surveillance solution in case of such events in the future. Any surveillance system should be able to monitor events of a large size and provide a high vantage point from which to maintain control.
Below, we will talk about how to choose a camera to fit your future security or law enforcement needs. We will also give a few examples to help you on that journey.
How to Choose a Camera
With the choice of an entire industry’s cameras, there are some demands you will have. The following are the assumptions you are going to need to make to ensure your choice suits your mission requirements.
A static surveillance camera will not allow you to keep track of individuals on the ground for an extended period of time. Even multiple systems connected will give you significant blind spots to lose people in. For that reason, a camera that pans, tilts, and zooms should be at the forefront of your shopping list.
The camera should be controllable in this way from a remote area & via the Cloud. This empowers the person monitoring it by either allowing them to assist others on the ground or record any incidents for later review. These days, cameras can also use motion-based auto-tracking to operate without individual oversight.
30x Optical Zoom
A high zoom level is imperative to allow anybody monitoring the camera to do so from a safe distance. An optical zoom rather than a digital zoom also ensures the picture remains crisp and clear as it zooms in.
Keeping the same level of detail as you zoom in is very important if you need to see or capture faces or license plate details. With a 4x zoom you can tend to capture an individual’s ID at one hundred feet. With 30x optical zoom, this will go much, much further.
With a higher resolution, you should be able to determine a very high level of quality in a scene. 1080p video gives you a level of detail that should be pristine enough to allow you to use the footage for a wide variety of purposes.
The details of many interactions can be easily determined due to a 1080p video’s high image accuracy. This includes facial expressions, mouth movement, and exchanges of items between hands.
All these interactions may be useful to determine the exact nature and demeanor of those you are surveilling. They provide a context to interactions you would not otherwise have.
As you must mount the camera high up to be effective, it is very important that it be lightweight enough to be rapidly deployed on an by a single person. We recommend that twenty pounds are the upper limit to this weight, as anything above that tends to impede the process of setting it up and can test the limits of the telescoping mast.
Anything above 20 lbs would also be difficult to transport. It would get in the way of enabling a team on the ground to set up several cameras in quick succession.
In summary, keeping each camera below 20 lbs increases your flexibility and capabilities.
As the camera will be sitting at the top of a high mast for the greatest amount of oversight of an area, it should be mountable from below. This will allow it to “sit” on top of a mast in a secure manner and be free of blindspots.
As many PTZ cameras are large, bulky, and can only mount from the top, they are often incompatible with masts. Although, some smaller and lighter cameras have 1.5” NPT threaded caps that allows them to mount to a telescoping or telescopic mast.
In the case of these top-mounted cameras, a custom adapter must often be sought for this purpose. The RATT has a universal PTZ mount that can accommodate the traditional PTZ camera though it does create a small blind spot.
Depending on your department, you may need a TAA-compliant camera. Having this will allow you to use US federal grants to assist you in purchasing the equipment you need.
Should you not have this, any purchase will need to come out of your own internal budget, which will make it harder to request. A full list of TAA designated countries is available, which lists equipment based on whether it complies with the TAA guidelines.
Any video equipment employed to surveil others must also be NDAA compliant. This Act specifies that equipment must not come from specific companies. These companies pose potential national security threats and their equipment does not have the trust of the U.S. government.
We’ve tested many surveillance cameras on many telescoping masts and as a result, we have quite a few Mobile Video Surveillance Rapid Deployment Kits that are some of the best options on the market. Each Kit is the best video surveillance camera for different situations as required by your mission.
Where to Find Out More
When deciding how to choose a camera you must have the best information available. This will ensure you know exactly what to buy and why you should buy it.
If you need any further information on surveillance or specialty cameras for telescoping masts, feel free to reach out. Here at The RATT, we have a team of specialists on-hand ready to answer any questions you might have on how technology can improve your command and control in the field.