Installing CCTV Systems

There are a few things to consider when installing a new CCTV security camera system. The most important aspect is camera placement, but also key to optimal functionality is location of the monitoring station and cabling. A well planned installation maximizes system performance and increases security and safety.

Camera Placement

Camera placement is paramount to reaping the benefits of security video. Cameras should be installed where they can best monitor the most important parts of an area. With a fixed camera, consider the field of view the lens provides. Keep in mind the vantage it provides will only changes when the camera’s position is manually altered. When installing PTZ cameras, consider the physical constraints of pan, tilt and zoom functions. Ensure that important areas are monitored by installing PTZ cameras in areas free of visual obstruction. Whether fixed or PTZ, all cameras should be installed to monitor busy, populated or sensitive areas while minimizing sky and other unimportant aspects.

Natural and artificial light sources are a vital consideration. Optimize video quality by installing cameras with light sources shining from behind. Backlighting occurs when light shines directly into the camera, which causes shadows and makes it difficult to identify objects and details. Also, prolonged exposure of light directly into a lens could damage the camera’s sensor.

Another consideration is whether it’s beneficial for cameras to be easily visible. Discreetly placed cameras are less likely to be tampered with or vandalized. However, visible cameras may help deter unwanted activity or illegal behavior. Whether visible or discreet, all cameras help identify people and objects as well as provide documentation of activities. Don’t forget to ensure that mounting brackets are compatible with the intended mounting surface. Also, protect cameras by placing them out of the way of hazards, such as machinery and chemicals. Regarding privacy; consider legality and ethics when installing cameras. Don’t monitor areas where people can reasonably expect privacy and check state laws regarding camera surveillance.

Monitoring Station

A traditional monitoring station consists of one or more monitors and a Digital Video Recorder (DVR). This area should be comfortable for users to view video from and a place where electronics can operate free from dust, moisture and extreme temperatures. Some CCTV systems support remote viewing, enabling users to monitor video through a web browser or smart phone at a location of their choosing. Both local and remote viewing techniques require a secure indoor area from which the DVR can record.


Coaxial cabling connects each camera to the DVR. To minimize costs, install the DVR in a central location as near to cameras as possible. Cables can be run through basements, attics, walls or any protected area from which they can operate undisturbed. It’s best to allow extra length between cameras and the DVR to allow for future adjustment.

Finally, allow time for fine-tuning placement and camera angles to get the most out of the investment. A carefully planned CCTV security camera system provides economical and reliable security, perfect for small businesses, homes and schools.