Using CCTV cameras

Hi All,
I am looking into using CCTV cameras for a project, mainly because they are generally more weather resistant (outdoor installation) and cabling / distance is not an issue (BNC cables vs firewire cables). I’m not sure how many cameras I’m going to need yet, but will need to digitize these feeds and send to a computer for analysis. Does anyone have any experience on the matter and/or recommendations on hardware?

cool ! we use cctv camera alot for projects like these ones:

I’ve used this particular model alot :

Sony SSC-M183 / B&W

since it can be made non-automatic (not all cheaper cctv cams can be, some have very few options). and recently, gotten into some of the higher end stuff, like the watec 221s (but this is a 1/2 " ccd camera and harder to find lenses for, the 1/3" version will work a bit better). the watecs are expensive, but very good quality for color. they are shockingly good if you work with other color cameras and compare.

most important things to look for are :

a) can be non-auto everything, ie non-auto iris / non-auto white balance, etc
b) lens system (ie, c lenses can be used in cs, but cs can’t be used in c)
c) vertical resolution
d) light profile, if you are doing low light / IR stuff

if you have any cameras you are considering, happy to look at profiles.

take care!

Hi Zach, thanks for the tips and quick reply. The Sony looks quite suitable. How do you then send the feed to the computer? Do you use a standard analog/digital video converter? or other CCTV related cards? I’m particularly interested in hooking up multiple cameras. When using 6x Fire-I cameras for the Glastonbury project I encountered some issues regarding DMA conflicts (I thought mac’s were supposed to be easy to use!) and ended up having to get a PCIe firewire card to be able to have more than four - I"d like to avoid those kind of issues if possible in the future!

Having done some more research, I’m wondering if something like this:

would work with openframeworks? Would the cameras connected to each of the BNC inputs appear as a capture device in OF? Or alternatively can IP cameras be used at all?