CCTV (closed circuit television) cameras must be installed at the right height to give you the best results. When planning your installation, you should be familiar with the field of view of the camera. Most home security cameras come with a non-detachable lens; if you are purchasing new cameras, use the lens calculator to determine the correct lens size needed to monitor your target area (see Resources).
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Plan Your Camera Layout
Sketch the area you want to monitor and determine where you want to place your cameras. Then walk the area to see if there are any obstacles you will need to see over or any overhangs you want to see under. Also, consider where you will route the cabling for the camera; it is difficult to run cabling through walls and ceilings. If you can, mount the camera in a location that will allow you to drill through a wall and into your crawl space, basement or attic.
Monitoring Large Areas
If you want to overlook a backyard, side yard or another large area, consider mounting the camera under the eaves of the roof. A 1/2-inch format camera with a 6mm lens will have a field of view of approximately 45 degrees. To help you visualise the field of view, put your wrists together with your fingers extended and separate your palms until your hands make a 45-degree angle.
The best height to install a camera at your front door is eye level using a wide angle lens. Placing the camera at eye level will allow you to see your visitor's face; this is especially helpful if he is wearing a ball cap. Placing the camera just above the intercom is usually a good area. However, when installing the camera, do not drill into the wires that power your intercom. When installing any camera within reach, install a dome-type camera to prevent tampering.
Cameras used to monitor outdoors must have adequate lighting. Do not point the camera directly toward the sun or a bright light source or the camera image will be unusable. This is especially important when you are determining the height of a camera near floodlights or other bright lights. Select a height that will allow you to aim the camera at your target while keeping the light source out of the field of view of the camera. Install auto iris cameras in areas with variable lighting; this will give you the best picture day or night.
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