Why Security Camera Footage Looks so Crappy?

Why Security Camera looks so crappy

Security cameras have been a part of our life for a long time, and they are now more advanced than ever before. But there’s still one thing that has not changed about the Security cameras. The footage quality was bad decades ago, and it still looks crappy today. But why is that? Why has the footage not been improved over so many years? Hence we have gathered a good amount of information on this topic and described it below in detail.

The Goal of a Security Camera

While other cameras are built to provide a wide dynamic range and tack sharp images and videos, the goal of a security camera is very different. The primary purpose of a security camera is to capture footage with adequate details regardless of the lighting condition. 

Hence, if a person walks up at night or during the day, no matter if someone is wearing a bright dress or covered in all black, they’re going to try to take the picture containing sufficient details so that they can be traced later if needed. 

The security cameras are not built to capture high-quality footage with a higher dynamic range; they tend to produce low-quality and pixelated footage. Besides, a security camera has to Livestream footage, and thus, it maintains a smaller file size for faster transmission. It is another reason why security cameras cannot capture high dynamics. 

On top of that, security cameras also take the benefit of infrared technology to see in darkness. Infrared or IR technology has the ability to illuminate the images of dark environments. And infrared has a tendency to interfere with the colors of objects. Thus the footage captured through IR technology through the security camera often looks low quality. 

Low Cost

Another major reason for the poor quality of security camera footage is to keep the cost low. If you think of a security camera, it is made for a bulk amount of video collection, it works day and night. However, you might only need a few minutes of videos if anything unnatural or unwanted happens and all the other footage is useless as they are usually of non-criminal type. So only a short clip is the main value of a security camera. But how much a consumer might want to pay for a camera of that nature? Not much to be honest.

If security cameras were able to capture vivid colors and sharp images, just think of how much workload the sensor and the processor have to carry out. And just think how powerful the sensor and processor have to be to ensure its longevity. And continuously capturing high-quality video would also require high-end heat dissipation features. And all these would make the price of the security camera would be sky-high. 

Another aspect of consideration is the storage system. If the footage of security cameras were high, it would take more space and you would need a high capacity storage system, which also adds cost.   

Wide-angle View

Another reason is security cameras are usually made to capture a wide view of the environment. But in case anyone needs to go through the footage, they zoom it to view more detailed information about the object or person involved in the scenario. Hence, the footage looks crappy. And this is totally understandable. For example, a security camera installed on a roadside captured a car accident. Later on, when the legal authority would retrieve the footage, he would zoom in to see the digits on the car’s number plate or check faces inside the car. As a result, the zooming would make the footage pixelated. This is why the footage of the security camera looks grainy and pixelated most of the time. 

So that was all about the reason why security camera footage looks so crappy. We hope you have a good understanding of security cameras and their footage quality now. If you don’t have a security camera at home or office, set up one soon as it will record all the moments going in your surroundings.  

Joe Pfeffer

Joe Pfeffer

What started off as just a dream for Joe Pfeffer, turned into his passion and livelihood. He started his career as a wildlife photographer and then transitioned into becoming a cinematographer. With a decade of raw on-the-field experience, Joe Pfeffer has all the technical knowledge about the ins and outs of cameras. Now, he uses his vast experience to educate others about photography.