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How to Install PTZ Cameras Correctly?

Installing a security camera in your business is a smart move for many reasons. Video surveillance allows you to keep a closer eye on your business at any given time from virtually any location. It’s extremely beneficial for preventing theft, getting peace of mind, resolving workplace disputes, etc. With the advancement of technologies, a wider array of security cameras are made public, but for more comprehensive, in-close-detail surveillance needs, PTZ cameras are developed to provide 24/7 protection for your properties. Over recent years, the PTZ camera has decreased in size and weight while offering even better features and functions. And installing a PTZ camera is not as complicated as you might think. In this blog, we’ll walk you through all the necessary steps in camera installation.

PTZ Camera Basics

The PTZ camera is outfitted with a powerful motorized zoom lens to allow the camera to pan left to right, tilt up and down, and zoom in and out of a scene to capture minute details such as facial features, license plate numbers, etc. PTZ cameras that are on the market today can be programmed and no longer requires manual operation. Like other IP security cameras, they can be controlled remotely via a variety of serials or IP control options. However, the PTZ camera can provide a lot of benefits over regular, fixed security cameras, such as optical zooming, motion tracking, auto-focus, etc. Even though auto-tracking is nothing new in the PTZ cameras, with the development of technologies, the PTZ camera can now be configured to track objects of different sizes and you can also set the camera’s tracking zone to improve the tracking accuracy. It can also be set to scout the pre-determined areas at a certain speed and interval to capture different areas of interest.

PTZ cameras are commonly used in:

• Commercial settings like grocery stores, pharmacies, markets, etc. to deter shoplifting;

• Public areas such as schools, hospitals, local parks and parking lots;

• Conferences, concerts, etc. to record a presentation and provide complete event coverage;

• Business-related settings like offices, factories and labs to boost morale;

• Intelligent transportation systems (ITS), railway stations and intersection traffic monitoring.

Installation Guidelines for PTZ Cameras

A complete surveillance system is composed of IP security cameras, network video recorders and other supporting devices like a router, a PoE switch, Ethernet cables, etc. If you want to know more information, please read Security Camera System: What Features To Look For, in which we’ve created a detailed buyer’s guide for the security camera system.

How to Connect the PTZ Camera to Network?

The best possible way is to use a PoE switch to transmit power and data simultaneously to the PTZ camera via a single Ethernet cable. It provides centralized management for multiple cameras connected to the same network. Due to its inherent advantage, less cabling is needed for network deployment and therefore eliminates additional electrical wiring and cuts down the installation costs. What’s more, by using a managed PoE switch, you can also configure the features of QoS by setting the desired CoS, Queue scheduling, bandwidth control, etc., to prioritize critical traffic for your camera network. The managed PoE switch also allows you to create VLANs on the switch to help you segment the network without installing separate equipment. You just need to create a VLAN ID on the switching tab, assign it to the ports you select, and then create a PVID to isolate it from other VLANs.

How to Power the PTZ Camera?

Most PTZ cameras have two power options: you can either power your camera with the local power source or take advantage of Power over Ethernet. PoE is an ideal way to power a PTZ camera, especially if you are planning to use the camera’s IP connection options. But be sure to check your camera’s power requirements. With motors, stabilizers, IR illuminators, etc., built into the housing, the PTZ camera normally consumes much more power than the traditional surveillance cameras, specifying a required PoE power of 40-60W. In many cases, manufacturers only require PoE to power the camera itself and use the local AC power to power the heater or blower, but some cameras would use PoE for both camera and heater or blower operations to draw the power from a single access point. However, this solution often fails at the inopportune time when it charges an inappropriate power load, and power outages are often present over long distances due to the power loss raised by cable resistance.

Certainly, cameras that rely solely on one single power source can offer greater benefits. They are easier to manage and troubleshoot when experiencing power failures and there’ll be fewer cables involved in the installation. But the problem is the PD may get powered off or reboot intermittently when the PSE’s output power is not sufficient for all connected cameras to run at their full throughput. In general, the PTZ camera will draw a lot more power than required for its normal operation during the process to realize extended functions such as Pan-Tilt-Zoom, auto-tracking, scouting, etc. And if there is no available power, the camera will keep rebooting until the power connection is resumed. To troubleshoot this problem, you should use the right PSE to make sure the remaining power is not smaller than the maximum output of the port to which the PDs, i.e. the PTZ cameras, are connected.

High-Power PoE Saves PTZ Cameras from Intermittent Reloads

To satisfy the growing power requirements of today’s PoE devices like the PTZ cameras, a new-generation PoE standard (aka IEEE802.3bt) was ratified in 2018. It’s the first-generation PoE standard that implements power over four twisted pairs of the Ethernet cable and offers the highest power capabilities of all PoE types currently in existence. In the traditional IEEE 802.3af/at, only two twisted pairs are used for power transmission, but IEEE802.3bt uses all 8 wires to transport power so as to minimize power loss over the long cable length. The new-generation PoE IEEE802.3bt also introduces 2 new PoE types to the PoE technologies: Type 3 (PoE++) and Type (Hi-PoE). PoE++ is ratified to deliver a maximum power supply of 60W at each PoE port with 51 watts of power remaining at the PD, while Hi-PoE can generate a much higher power output of 90-100W at the PSE with a minimum power assured on each port being 71.3W. And the high-power PoE also opens up a world of new power solutions to help you set up the PTZ camera under different scenarios.

1) How to Power More than One PTZ Camera?

When you need to install more than three PTZ cameras at the installation site, the PoE switch is definitely your best pick. It offers great flexibility for installation in places where there is no power source present, which greatly improves the scalability of your network and reduces the installation costs. Fastcabling has launched an 8-port visual PoE managed switch that can supply a maximum power of 60W on ports#1-4 and 30W max. on ports#5-8 to help you mix different types of IP security cameras on the same network. It comes with two Gigabit-speed SFP slots to secure a fast-speed, low-latency network connection in long-range applications. This PoE switch is loaded with QoS features to prioritize and monitor the traffic coming out of each PoE port and enhance the bandwidth management to improve user experience and ensure better response time.

2) How to Power the PTZ Camera over Long Distances?

PoE provides an all-in-one solution to transmit power and data to the PDs through a single Ethernet cable, but unfortunately, it’s only designed to work within a limited distance of 100 meters, and the newest IEEE802.3bt standard is no exception. Signal degradation and power loss will gradually exacerbate as the distance increases. To overcome the geographical limit of standard PoE in high-power applications, the most direct and straightforward method is to deploy a high-power PoE extender. Fastcabling has launched an outdoor waterproof 802.3bt Gigabit PoE extender to help you install the PTZ cameras more than 100 meters away. Most importantly, this PoE extender is equipped with 2 PoE ports with a power output of 60W and 30W respectively to allow you to install two security cameras at a time (a PTZ camera: 20~40W and a fixed IP camera:4~5W).

How to Back Up the NVR?

NVR (network video recorder) is critically important to a surveillance camera system to help you gain visibility into your properties. The main reason why you need video backups is that the local recorders are extremely vulnerable to vandalism and theft because the burglars will destroy the recorder and erase the footage on purpose. Moreover, NVRs that support loop recording often overwrite automatically when they run out of storage, and this happens even without the knowledge of users. And even if you do not need backup but simply want to display a few channels on a monitor in another location, it can also help you to access the footage instantly. Now, with the advancement of technologies, the video feed saved on the primary recorder can be backed up to a secondary NVR or via a cloud-based storage service to protect your security camera system from data loss. And it can also function as a switcher to display the selected camera streams on a secondary monitor.

Solution 1: Video Backups with a Secondary NVR

To do live video backups, you’ll need two NVRs, and the secondary NVR must support the same camera specs as the primary NVR. And you can also back up the video with a DVR that accepts IP camera channels. If you only need to back up the first 4 channels out of the 16 channels on the primary NVR, then choose a 4-channel NVR for the backup. But it should be aware that depending on the firmware and number of channels of the NVRs you have, you may only be able to back up the first 4 or 8 channels to your secondary NVR. Consequently, for an all-channel backup, you’d better use a recorder that shares the same recording features.

Now, follow the instructions below to complete the setup:

a. If your PoE switch only has one uplink port, then connect the PoE switch to the router first with a network cable, and lastly connect both NVRs to the same router;

b. If your PoE switch has two uplink ports, then you can connect the primary NVR to your switch first, and then connect the secondary NVR to the router later.

Solution 2: Video Backups to the Cloud

Installing cloud storage is very simple, and it can be installed within a few minutes. All you need is a Cloud-compatible NVR and a Cloud adapter to back up the security camera footage to a remote location. If you’re installing a brand new NVR, you should set the username and password first and enable DHCP. Then, connect the NVR and the Cloud adapter to the same network. Install the app on your mobile, and once you’ve entered your Cloud ID, the adapter will be automatically connected to your account. The device will then scan all compatible recorders connected to the network, and you can select the required NVR that needs to be backed up and enter its username and password when prompted. And it’ll take approximately 60 seconds for all the cameras to connect to the Cloud. Once the installation is completed, you should check if the live feed for each camera is working.

Moreover, apart from using a Cloud adapter, you can take advantage of a third-party storage service. Now, let’s go through the configuration of how to back up the NVR using Google Drive with three simple steps: 1) Share a folder on the network. Configure the properties of that folder by creating a new username under the sharing options and assigning the permission level as Read/Write. 2) Download and install Google Drive on your PC, and sign in with your Google Account. Go to the sync options and select the folder shared on the network and start to sync. 3) Set up the Network Drive as a recording and backup drive. Go to the configuration settings of your NVR and enable the Network Drive. Fill in the necessary information (name, the IP address, username, password, etc.), configure the File System to CIFS and enter the Default Folder as the one shared on the network. Then, go to the HDD settings, and select Recording on Drive as Network Drive. To set up the Network Drive as the backup drive, you should enable the scheduled backup under the storage and backup settings, configure the parameters and select the Backup Location as Network Drive. Then select the desired cameras and save the configuration. And now the recording will be transferred to Network Drive and all the files will be synced with Google Drive.

How to Mount the PTZ Camera?

The placement of your PTZ camera is extremely important and largely decides the efficiency of your system. And here are four different ways to mount the PTZ camera, so make sure what you choose works best for your situation. Your camera’s position, shooting angle and distance from the subject greatly determine the quality of the image it can capture.

1. Installing the PTZ Camera on a Tripod

Tripod mounting is one of the most convenient ways to mount your camera. First, the PTZ camera requires a stable tripod that can bear heavy weight and minimize shaking when the camera starts rotating. And never choose a photography tripod, or excessive shaking will be shown in the video. The tripod designed for the PTZ camera often comes packaged with a flat quick-release plate for extra stabilization to ensure that the camera won’t fall off the plate if it’s not secured. And the screw plate itself also includes two mounting recesses for mounting lighter accessories like LED lights, wireless transmitters, etc.

1) Open the tripod legs and use the height adjustment knobs to set the height to 1.5-2 meters;

2) Almost all PTZ cameras include a tripod attachment, so you only need to screw the camera onto the quick-release plate and adjust the title to ensure the camera is positioned at a proper viewing angle, close to the horizontal level.

3) Lock the adjustment knobs, and position the tripod directly facing the subject of interest.

2. Installing the PTZ Camera on the Wall

If you only want to monitor a certain place of interest, then using a wall mount for your PTZ camera is your best choice in order to provide a wider range of tilt operating space and cover larger spaces while ensuring excellent angles for capturing video. When installing the PTZ camera on the wall, remember to plan for the power supply in advance: you can power the camera with a nearby power source or use PoE to transmit power and data (video +audio signals) simultaneously. And if there are strict requirements for wiring construction in your regions, we will advise you to use PoE instead.

1) Place the mounting bracket at the desired location, and use a pencil to mark where the screws should go and also the center of where your camera will be mounted.

2) Drill a hole for each screw with an electrical drill. If possible, use a spade bit to create a larger hole that you can feed the Ethernet cable through more easily.

3) Attach the wire to the fish tape to run the Ethernet cable through the wall and thread it to the PoE switch. And you can also use a conduit to protect the cable as it passes through the wall or ceiling. Once you’re done with the wiring, screw the camera on the wall.

3. Installing the PTZ Camera on the Ceiling

Ceiling mounting your camera offers the most flexibility of panning to provide a better view than mounting the camera upright in many scenarios. It provides an unobstructed view on all sides by placing the camera upside down on a level ceiling, ideal for capturing video from discreet locations. Since the PTZ camera is equipped with a heavy-weight motorized lens, the ceiling bracket must be robust enough to safely support the camera. And for ceiling-mounted PTZ cameras, the maximum ceiling slope must not exceed 15°. And make sure to check the connection at least once a year in case it has loosened over years.

1) Attach the ceiling bracket to any wood or drywall ceiling and tighten the screws to make sure the ceiling bracket is securely attached to your ceiling;

2) Next, mount the camera bracket to the camera base with the included screws;

3) Drill a hole in the ceiling and pull the Ethernet cable through the ceiling tile;

4) Attach the two brackets by sliding the camera bracket into the ceiling bracket and screw in the three safety screws to ensure the two brackets will not disconnect;

5) Lastly, connect the Ethernet cable to the PTZ camera and check if it functions properly.

4. Mounting the PTZ Camera to a Pole

Pole mounting is often utilized in outdoor applications to get the perfect mounting height and viewing angle for your PTZ camera, so it can capture a larger portion of the surrounding view. It is ideal for situations where one needs to install the camera to a curved-surface pole or post. In the pole mounting, all the wires need to run through the pipe for a clean-looking installation. Additionally, compared with wall and ceiling mounting, you can adjust the height of the camera as you want. But it should be well aware that the camera should be mounted at least 3 meters high to cover a larger area.

1) Mark the height of where your plan to install the camera and open a hole on the pole;

2) Run the Ethernet cable through the pole and the mounting bracket;

3) Attach the bracket to the pole and tighten it with 2 stainless steel adjustable clamps;

4) Connect the Ethernet cable to the PTZ camera and screw the bracket and camera together.

PTZ Camera Placement Dos and Don’ts

The PTZ camera can effectively ward off potential intruders and keep given areas secure, but it should be placed in the right location. Here, we’ve summarized a few points you should consider when placing the PTZ cameras.

1) Place Your Camera High

It’s important to place the camera at least 3 meters high off the ground so that if people are walking around, it doesn’t affect the video shot. Moreover, placing the camera high can effectively prevent vandalism, especially when you depend entirely on local storage. This height is low enough to capture fine details but high enough to be out of reach of burglars. And it gives you the most visibility of your properties. And anyone who attempts to tamper with the camera will be recorded before they have access to the camera.

2) Avoid Blind Spots

Every construction has blind spots that may be a bit harder to capture on the camera, so where you place your cameras largely determines how effective they are in protecting your home or business. Before starting installing, you should evaluate your property and security concerns. The cameras should be placed in the most bustling areas like gates, driveways, garages, and main points of entry such as the front door, back door, ground-level windows, or places that deserve the most attention and protection.

3) Consider Your Lighting

Not all IP security cameras have low-light capabilities. For cameras that don’t work at night, you should make sure the area under surveillance has consistent and sufficient lighting for the camera to pick up crucial information. And even if you’re using an infrared/night-vision camera, the final image would be better if there’s adequate lighting. Also, avoid placing the cameras where they face direct sunlight, as too much light also reduces visibility.

4) Avoid Privacy Issues

While you have the right to monitor your property (home or business), employees, customers, guests, and passers-by also have a reasonable right to privacy since any form of infringement on others’ privacy will get seriously punished. Therefore, you shouldn’t place your security cameras in places where someone’s privacy might be invaded, such as bathrooms or changing rooms. And nor can you angle your cameras in a way that might peek into your neighbor’s backyards since it might be illegal to include others’ properties in the scope of your cameras’ surveillance.

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