Our Man in the Field: The Process of the IP Solution, Part VII

Our man in the field begins his in-depth look at video storage solution with a quick trip back in time

Hello again. I realize that I am a couple of weeks behind on our continuing quest to go digital, but I have a very good excuse worked up and it's ready to fertilize the nearest garden.

The fact is that I have taken on a new position with a formidable company. This all started some five months ago and I needed to get caught up on the basic fundamentals of working for a corporation again. It has, after all, been over 25 years since I received a check with a signature other than my own in the authorization slot.

For those of you that have been emailing me with comments, questions and the such, I apologize for not responding. I am not trying to be rude; I have just been inundated by everything as of late, so please accept this as my blanket apology to all -- especially to Jocelyn Getson and the crew of Vision Technology International, who wrote and asked specifically if I would be continuing with this series on going digital.

Please note that I have a new email address for you to write to (see the About the Author footer at the end of this column). Please keep the comments and such coming and I will respond; I promise.

Does this job situation mean that I am no longer printing/distributing my books and training programs? Absolutely not. LeapFrog Training & Consulting is still alive and well and our technical library and various products can be found at www.LTCTrainingCntr.com. LeapFrog is slowly narrowing down its offerings, but this training center is alive and well just the same. I too am still very much alive, well and available for any/all that are having questions and problems, or for those who just want to comment.

OK, this is a good place for a review of our current standing on the process of going digital. The opening article, the one that actually started the series, concentrated on the whole definition of what going digital means and covered the general principals of designing CCTV systems with purpose. Article II ran through the process of choosing the proper camera for your application. Article III discussed lighting situations. Article IV covered analog and digital resolution ... the key differences and problems with both. Article V discussed choosing lenses and some of the intricacies of math and vision. Article VI, the last posted message before I had to take a break, ran through cabling and transmissions.

This week it seems quite natural that we start to discuss storage of the video image. Please understand that this is a very involved conversation and will end up taking two or even three separate articles. But no long road is ever walked without the first step.

A little history to digest

History ... again with the history. I remember when video was recorded on reel to reel units (Yes, I really am that old). This was before the advent of the cassette players of the mid-1970s. Everything that we hold as fact for recording video images today dates back to these original systems and opens our general perception of video recording. The major topic of any storage system today, be it VHS, DVR or hard drive, rotates around our understanding of the beginning. The first subject is called "real" time.

With the introduction of digital recording units, the first mad-capped statement coming out of the manufacturer's lips was that the security industry did not need to record in "real time", but that two to five images per second was plenty. I was one of the first to stand up and mock this statement, and I did so adamantly! I wasn't upset by the fact that the new, modern digital format recording systems could only record two or three images per second. I was upset that anyone would use such a blatant, blanket statement about visual security.

I was also upset that the world was moving on. Over the next couple of years, I heard more and more manufacturers claiming that their digital unit could record in "real time". Finally, it hit me. I wasn't upset about recording fewer images per second, I was upset by the misuse of the terminology "real time".

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