Welcome to the
Making light of a dark place ...
In a word, probably not; okay so thats two words, but there is an interesting paradox in the use of IR illuminators, particularly in commercial CCTV systems. For some applications, such as covert operations or zoological research, there is absolutely no alternative to using correctly applied IR illumination.
However, when you look at the requirements for a standard commercial CCTV system, we hit a slight problem.
From experience Doktor Jon could speculate that most private premises would benefit enormously from the presence of low level maintained lighting, simply for the comfort, convenience and security of those individuals passing by.
Generally speaking, the installation costs for low level white lighting are higher than for a single high output IR illuminator; and yet the running costs may be significantly lower.
Unfortunately, many CCTV installers regard IR lamps (particularly if sold in pairs) as a value added profit product, which is relatively easy to sell to the customer, and which is certainly going to require regular site visits to replace the burnt out bulbs; in other words a nice little earner!
Would it surprise you to know that on many an occasion, Doktor Jon has actually seen an Infra Red lamp strapped below a weatherproof housing, containing a standard resolution colour camera. Whats wrong with that you may ask?
Well, colour cameras are generally not sensitive to Infra Red, so when the bulb fails, the chances are there wont appear to be any change in the picture! In other words, a complete waste of money!
Ideally, in locations that may be sensitive to light pollution such as where a commercial premises is neighbouring a residential housing estate (or a local astronomical observatory!), the use of IR would minimise any affects on adjacent properties, and still allow quality images to be acquired 24 hours a day.
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