How to build a quality and effective DIY CCTV security camera system for your home
First off there are two main types of cameras, Analogue (makes use of a older technology) and Digital (uses newer technology).
Analogue CCTV cameras record images to a digital recorder which converts the video to a digital format. To view the video,
the DVR needs to be connected to a monitor or router to be broadcast through an internal network for remote access.
Requires a separate cable to each camera - coaxial cable
Digital CCTV cameras or internet protocol cameras record in a digital format so a conversion process is not required.
The digital data can be sent your phone or pc or to a dedicated network video recorder (NVR) through the existing
network and can be accessed remotely.
Must be connected to your network either via 'twisted pair' cables like cat5 network cable or via wifi.
Each technology has its pros and cons. Here at Foscam we only sell and install Digital cameras, so I am a little biased
but here is why I prefer Digital.
Most houses have internet and thus a router and wifi.
The system is not dependant on a DRV to view the video, with analogue cameras you need a DVR to convert the video
into a digital format to view it so if the DVR fails so do all your cameras.
With digital you can start with just one camera, nothing else is required.
Ease of deployment and instillation
Resolution, much better image (video) quality
Intelligence and analytics, IP or digital cameras are basically small computers, they can support AI functions like Human
only detection and smart home integration like Alexa or Google.
Security, video is encrypted and so more secure.
OnVif, an Open platform standard that allows you to mix and match and use it with almost any device.
Now that we understand a little about the two types of systems, we need to decide on what our objective is in wanting a
camera system? This is a critical part of designing the right solution. Only then can we choose what camera will best meet
There are two main groups of users.
The first is to keep a eye on the kids or pets or maybe you have elderly parent in the home. We call these type of cameras
nanny cams. But don’t let the name put you off, its merely a indoor camera but it has all the same functionality and
capability of the best outdoor cameras. They are normally cheaper because they don’t need to withstand the weather of a
outdoor camera. Normally they are plastic as apposed to the outdoor cameras which in Foscam’s case are all full metal casings.
For example at the time of writing this article a full 1080P indoor camera the Foscam X1 retails
for R 850 including vat.
The Foscam outdoor FI9902P retails for R 1 750 including vat.
For indoor cameras I strongly recommend using wifi, I don’t know of any home owner that wants to run cables
all over their home. Most homes already have wifi that can be used, if not its easy to add extra access points to cover
any dead points in your home.
One camera placed in a corner (the corner is 90 degrees) will cover the whole room.
The second type is for protection of self and property, this type normally includes some outdoor cameras. I like a camera
at my driveway gate. I like been able to check who is at the gate from my phone. Most home owners have a electric gate
opener and thus a easy power point for a camera. Foscam also has a video doorbell the VD1 that uses the same app, in
most cases its easy to replace your old doorbell with this video one.
A good system always includes a mix of outdoor and at least one or two strategically placed indoor cameras
Here are my top tips.
Don’t try to cover everything, rather concentrate on high rick points or areas that have to be crossed.
You can always add extra cameras later, rather start with just one or two cameras and learn in the process.
I prefer cameras that look inside the yard as apposed to outside the walls or fence, remember you are not watching your cameras 24/7.
I am more interested in seeing people who are inside the garden. I want to be able to see from my phone at night when I wake up who is in my yard, not outside my yard. Rather position them on a area that you would want to check should you get a alert from your alarm, or feel unsafe.
I like to place a indoor camera in two places, one covering the access rout to the bedrooms, that way I can check if its safe
to open my bedroom door and the second place is aimed at any expensive electronics like you big flat screen. If your out the house and your alarm goes off the first camera I check is the one showing my flat screen. Odds are a burglar will always take the TV so if its still there its highly likely it’s a false alarm.
If you’re just starting out and don’t have a NVR and don’t want to subscribe to a cloud service then put a micro SD card into the camera for local storage and playback. I also like it because even if you network or wifi fails the camera will still record.
Don’t be scared of using wifi if its available, if not all outdoor Foscam cameras also come with a normal 10/100 networkpoint (RJ45), so you always have options. The camera will default to wired if you plug a network cable in.
Place PTZ cameras on a high vantage point as they are designed to look down, one well-placed PTZ can cover a lot of ground.
With bullets I don’t like to place them too hight as you then often can’t see a face.
Be creative and thoughtful when setting your detection zones, use AI human detection or PRI or even better, a combination ofboth to reduce your false positive detections.
They have Human AI detection along with PIR, when they detect someone they flood the are with light, send you a alert on yourphone and can also sound a load alarm siren built into the camera, often this is enough to deter the intruder. They also come with two way audio.