I have been working in the world of CCTV since 1989 and have seen many changes in this constantly evolving industry.
I was fortunate to do my apprenticeship with a company that was a CCTV specialist
and not just a security company that had a go at CCTV.
I was always interested in how things worked rather than just accepting that they just did. Also if something stopped working I was just as keen to find out why and, if possible, get it working again - much to the annoyance of some of my work colleagues (and my wife) who had had enough for the day and wanted to go home.
As part of my apprenticeship I completed a four year City and Guilds course in Electronic servicing which gave me a good base for the my fault finding interests. I am currently taking a Comptia Network + course, so I can have a better understanding of the networks that I am creating, working on and connecting to.
I have worked on a variety of systems installed in many different domestic
and commercial environments from the local high street jewellery shop to industrial locations such as oil refineries, pharmaceutical companies, theme parks; zoos and even the military.
Whatever the environment the basic principles were the same:
The camera needs to be correctly positioned for the desired view, the signal medium (cable, Fibre optic, point to point wireless link, etc) have to be correct for the distance, environment and application and the received image should be displayed in the correct format without unacceptable signal loss or interference.
The camera picture should always be in focus. Too many times I have heard the phrase "it’s only a little bit out of focus!"
. This is unacceptable. If a camera isn’t at its optimum clarity, then this should be corrected - this principle is the same from the smallest domestic system to a multi camera multi-site system.
When I began in this industry I would use an oscilloscope on a daily basis for checking and setting camera video levels, telemetry signals fault finding, etc, But, as I recognised the importance of using this tried and tested tool, I also realised the importance of the new type of signal that we would be dealing with – IP.
As networks became more common place and the CCTV industry added this function to their equipment, I took a keen interest in keeping up with this new concept and today my laptop is just as important as my old oscilloscope (I still have it in the van).