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A DV based unit would provide around 400 lines, and some high end digital recorders are even capable of higher resolutions.
Apart from portable carried set ups, these miniature marvels are equally useful for placing in desk drawers, or ceiling voids, for short term applications.
If the project is longer term, than a concealed video machine, perhaps using a wireless video receiver pack, may provide the ideal solution. In the past, for most fixed projects, Super VHS (S-VHS) Time Lapse was Doktor Jons preferred format. At 400 lines resolution, the equipment is proven, affordable, and also available in 12v DC option, from at least one manufacturer.
Standard VHS Time Lapse videos are not yet dead and buried, particularly if being used for close up recordings of individual subjects, rather than wide angle views of a general room layout.
Digital hard disc or tape based formats, can offer significant performance improvements, with some of the top end models offering 520 lines resolution as standard, but its important to remember that many covert camera /lens combinations, are not able to produce this level of quality in the displayed images - the basic lenses simply cannot resolve that degree of detail.
In general, resolutions at or around 400 lines (recorded) are more than adequate for the vast majority of applications.
Perhaps document reading or close ups of computer keyboard operations on a desk (oh yes, Doktor Jon has been asked for both of these in the past!), would justify a higher performance recorder, but in general, if youve got the power, tape based analogue will be more than capable of producing the goods at a very reasonable cost.
In some areas, it is becoming increasingly popular to use computers, whether PCs, Macs or laptops to carry out video recording, but unless their is a very good reason to do so, Doktor Jon would recommend using a proper security video.
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