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Guide to Closed Circuit TV (CCTV)

So would you like to play "Spot the CCTV Camera?". Eagle eyed visitors may recognise the profusion of street furniture, surrounding a single heritage dome camera keeping watch over part  of Londons' prestigious Oxford Street shopping area.

All the bolt on bits of equipment ...
that make a CCTV system fly!

Video Caption Generators

There are some occassions where Time and Date information, just isn’t enough. Most modern multiplexers, some quad units, a few advanced switchers, and indeed a handful of top line cameras, already provide a basic form of caption generation, (usually up to about ten or twelve characters) to identify an individual video source at the monitoring position.

Perhaps Doktor Jon should briefly mention that it is actually vitally important that any caption which identifies a particular camera or recording, must be 100% accurate at all times.

As a result of recent changes in UK law, if the caption is incorrect or misleading, any video recordings made may be inadmissible as evidence in court , simply on the basis that the ‘data’ is corrupted ... you have been warned!!

For more advanced applications, there are a range of stand alone caption generators which are capable of overlaying the entire works of William Shakespeare, that’s if you can be bothered to retype them all from scratch. Seriously though, if you need to include more detailed information, for example as part of a research project or product testing, then a basic keyboard driven caption generator will allow a range of various fonts to be displayed in different point sizes and colours. There are of course also various ancillary caption generators specifically designed for use in specialist applications.

One fairly commonly used interface allows the display from a till, cash register or EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale) unit to be overlaid onto the video image from an adjacent camera. This technique is often used in bars, pubs and retail outlets to make sure that the goods being charged for, actually tally with those on the receipt. The ‘box of tricks’ is usually connected up to the retail equipment using either an RS 232 or ‘parallel’ data connection.

Let's not forget the caption generating equipment used in police vehicles, to record the progress of speeding motorists.

Another more recently introduced option is an electronic message display device, which can be pre programmed to display a precise text message overlaid on a background video image. Although primarily intended to be used as a marketing tool, particularly in the retail and leisure industries, this type of product can easily be adapted for use as an emergency response or scientific research tool, although at this time, it's probably fair to say that it’s potential has yet to be fully realised.

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