City upgraded to LED street lights

Discussion in 'Installation Pics' started by Mr_D, Nov 6, 2018 at 11:17 PM.

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  1. Mr_D

    Mr_D Getting comfortable

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    The tract was built in the late 60's and the lights were probably just as old. They were very dim and orange-ish. The new LEDs are much brighter and probably 4000-5000k. The light is on the pole in the front yard. The difference isn't as dramatic in B&W mode as it is in color.

    Driveway.20181104_190000_1.jpg Driveway.20181106_200314292.jpg FrontYard.20181105_190001_1.jpg FrontYard.20181106_190000_1.jpg
    FrontYard.20181106_201435592.jpg
     
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  2. CCTVCam

    CCTVCam Pulling my weight

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    Same where I live. Here's a before and after picture of the same street I found on google credited to info4security, so presumably it shows the view from a CCTV system:


    [​IMG]

    They're becoming more and more common in the UK which has been installing them now for more than 5 years.

    The difference in this pic is quite dramatic although it does looks as if it may have been saturated judging from the sky.

    One thing about them though that will affect CCTV at different times of the night is unlike conventional street lighting, they can be dimmed. In the UK they tend to be brighter early evening and then dimmed as it gets late.
     
  3. TonyR

    TonyR Known around here

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    Another reason you're seeing such a dramatic increase in perceived illumination is because of where the new LED street lights place their light...on the ground, sidewalk and roadway which is where the objects would be that we'd need and want to see.

    Old round or tubular shaped HID lighting (mercury vapor, metal halide, low and high pressure sodium) had a reflector behind them and a refractor / lens to help diffuse and direct the light in the intended direction, which is mostly down and toward the ground. But optics not always being perfect, a lot of that light went into the surrounding area and also upward, where it did little good. Some went into our eyes as glare, closing the pupils and lowering our ability to see objects that we can see only by reflected light.

    As the signal & lighting maint. supervisor of a city in N. CA., I was never a proponent of the old-fashioned, "nostalgic" post lights installed downtown in the revived shopping area because they only lit the storefronts (great), some of the sidewalk (not very good) and cast glare directly into the drivers' eyes (NOT so good). Furthermore, the cast aluminum pole shafts were delicate and their unit cost was high (twice as much as a "standard" street light).

    By design, the new LED's require very little, if any, optics to place their warmer, whiter light where it's needed and desired. Their higher lumen output, lower energy cost and longer life is icing on the cake.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018 at 7:55 AM
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  4. Mr_D

    Mr_D Getting comfortable

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    The old lights were bell-shaped with a lens in open end. The one in front of our house looked like part of the lens was masked off, possibly in an attempt to limit light hitting bedroom windows. The new light has a grid of maybe 16-20 LED which are individually visible. They each may be set in their own reflector because they look pretty big at night. Based on the driveway picture, it looks like they're designed to throw more light sideways, along the road, than perpendicular. The amount of light on the street at that distance is impressive.
     
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  5. TonyR

    TonyR Known around here

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    @Mr_D ,

    FWIW, I lived up north of you in Santa Clara County for 29 years. Years before my arrival in '74, the City of San Jose required that all street lighting that was in the public right-of-way, City-maintained or any large number in a small area be low pressure sodium. Unlike the high pressure sodium (pinkish), mercury vapor (bluish) or metal halide (less bluish), the low pressure sodium was very orange-like but it was monochromatic (one color), not a blend of many colors (polychromatic). This property allowed the astronomers at Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton to use just a filter or two to block out the ambient light from those street lights and improve their visibility of the night sky.

    Of course, no one else liked it, especially the cops. It was almost impossible to correctly identify color of clothing, hair, or vehicles. Coolant or other liquids on the pavement looked like blood. Everyone looked yellow with brown lips.

    All of the early LPS lamps were Norelco (Phillips) brand and were made in Holland. Later, they were made by more companies.

    Eventually, the car lots got a waiver so they could properly show the color of the cars for sale. They used mostly metal halide, the best HID lamp for color rendition at the time. In '94 I retrofitted several hundred traffic signals with LEDs (red, yellow and green LED modules vs. old tungsten incandescent lamps behind red, yellow or green glass lenses). The power for one 12" signal indication went from 150 watts to 25 watts....quite a savings in energy.

    When you see one of the old glass lenses for the green up close you'll marvel how blue they were...that was to color-correct the yellowish glow of incandescent so it would appear green!

    When I left there in '04 there after 31 years in the field there were no viable LED street lights on the market....I'm glad to see they have arrived. I'm a BIG fan of LEDs.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018 at 3:39 PM
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  6. CCTVCam

    CCTVCam Pulling my weight

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    Some LED heads achieve light spread by being curved. This is very similar if not the same as the type of LED head in use in my city:
    [​IMG]


    Although there are several different types of head in use which vary by curved for spread, straight for concentrated light, and double for more light / greater spread.
     
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  7. Mr_D

    Mr_D Getting comfortable

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    I got a picture of the new light today. The marker says 30 LED but it looks like 16 to me.

    MSD_1813.jpg
     
  8. TonyR

    TonyR Known around here

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    The "30" isn't a count, it refers to wattage. From the ground you could look up, see a "25" on a yellow-colored label and know to grab a 250 watt high pressure sodium lamp off the truck before going up in the bucket. A "15" on a blue label meant 150 watt mercury vapor.
    _____________________________________

    Below is an excerpt from "History of Street Lighting in the United States", courtesy of Wikiwand:

    "Fixture type identification

    Many streetlights are marked with a NEMA wattage label to aid workers in identifying them.

    The system is as follows: The color of the sticker indicates the type of light, the number is one tenth of the power in watts. The higher the number, the brighter the light. Newer stickers also have small letters printed in the lower right corner to indicate the type of light that is used in the fixture.

    There are three exceptions to this rule:
    •A "17" sticker adds a five to the power rating, and therefore, the light is rated at 175 watts.
    •If a sticker reads "X1," it describes a 1000-watt light.
    •If a sticker reads "3," it describes a 35-watt light.
    •Also MH stands for Probe Start Metal Halide, while PSMH stands for Pulse Start Metal halide.

    Sticker colors:
    •Blue: Mercury vapor
    •White: Light-emitting diode or older HPS
    •Red: Metal halide (Probe start)
    •Half Red/Half White: Pulse Start Metal Halide (PSMH) and some CMH
    •Yellow: Older HPS, LPS, and some induction and some CMH
    •Orange: new sticker color, now used for HPS "
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018 at 5:15 PM
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  9. J Sigmo

    J Sigmo Getting comfortable

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    I am so glad I'm not the only person who finds the "rustic-looking" street lights to be ridiculous, nay, asinine!

    Here is what my city has elected to go with in many locations where they presumably want to achieve a "folksy" or "olde fashioned" look to the area:

    [​IMG]

    I need to have my cataracts fixed, but have been waiting for the state of the art in flexible lenses to improve because I really really miss having my eyes be able to perform "autofocus". ;)

    And I had both eyes experience posterior vitreous detachment a few years back. The result of both this and the cataracts is that I'm easily annoyed by and somewhat blinded by light shining directly into my eyes.

    So all of that probably makes me more aware of certain lighting issues, but those ridiculous decorative street lights that emit most of their light NOT onto the road surface are one of my pet peeves. They blind drivers, waste energy, and pollute the night sky. Many places have passed laws banning lighting that ruins the dark-sky with excessive upward-directed light. The lights my city has selected are the very opposite of what one wants. The vast majority of the light they emit is either blinding drivers or just shooting upwards, wasted, and wrecking night viewing of stars, meteors, etc.

    Generally, this area is fantastic for night-sky watching because of the low population. So it's fairly easy to get away from town and find true "dark-sky" areas where you can look up and see or photograph the milky way with ease, as well as other faint objects such as meteors, satellites, etc.

    I wish the city council would get their heads out, and see how stupid these lights are. Besides, nobody designed lights this badly even long ago. Back when the light came from gas or even gas-mantel type lights, the light was precious, and not to be wasted this way. So most truly old-fashioned lighting at least attempted to direct the light to the surfaces where you wanted-needed it. These decorative lights are just plain stupid!


    One thing that is interesting is the human eye's ability to discern contrast between lighter and darker areas. And that's about the best in the amber range of color. So the low pressure sodium lights may make driving safer, especially in adverse conditions, by improving our ability to see somewhat.

    Skiers almost always wear amber goggles or sunglasses because it enhances the ability to see the subtle variations presented by snow that is illuminated by dull, diffuse light from a cloudy sky. And it helps "cut through" snow, rain, fog, etc. That is why true fog lights are always amber as well.

    But recently, people have begun using headlight bulbs that emit light more in the bluish range (higher color temperatures). This is bad for a number of reasons. First, of course, is that the yellowish light that "old school" headlight lamps emit is far better for letting us see contrast. Next, bluish light is more readily diffused by mist, rain, snow, etc., so it tends to be directed back towards the driver far worse in those conditions. And third, it tends to dazzle oncoming drivers worse.

    Add to that the fact that people are buying aftermarket LED replacement "bulbs" for their headlights. These are almost never DOT approved.

    The problem is that while a typical halogen lamp for a headlight emits all of its light from a tiny filament (perhaps 1/8" long by 1/32" diameter), which is carefully positioned to be at the focal point or design point of the headlight, the LED replacement lamps have many emitters, typically arranged around a cylinder that can be several inches long and 1/2" in diameter! Obviously this defeats the careful design of the headlight reflector, and a HUGE amount of the emitted light goes out in all directions rather than being concentrated onto the road in a safe pattern. So these aftermarket LED lamps end up blinding oncoming drivers very badly, and not doing what the driver wants anyhow.

    Yes, they may be very bright. But 90% of the light they emit is blinding oncoming drivers and spraying out where it doesn't illuminate the areas the driver needs to see.

    I've considered building a gadget with an easily deployable array of photodetectors that officials could easily install on a wall somewhere, and then use to objectively analyze the light pattern and aim from a persoon's headlights. As much as I'm not generally a fan of government regulations and interference, I think vehicles suspected of using non-approved headlights, auxiliary lights, etc., should be pulled over and directed to submit to a headlight aim/pattern test.

    If the lighting is not acceptable, then the driver should be fined as well as forced to replace the faulty lighting.

    I'm sick of being blinded by idiots with aftermarket headlamps, driving lights, etc., who also seem to have no clue that you should dim your headlights for oncoming cars.

    There, I've had my rant. I feel ever so much better now! ;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018 at 7:10 PM
  10. TonyR

    TonyR Known around here

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    Amen to that. And they are delicate...just a tap from a car bumper and you've got damage, even if that $200 glass globe doesn't touch the pavement. A crack in a cast aluminum or cast iron shaft or base can render it un-repairable and unsafe. And they cost over twice as much as a conventional 30 foot galvanized lighting standard initially and 3-4 times more over it's lifetime. The conventional galvanized ones will take a beating, never need painting, etc. The metal halide lamps give great color for a HID but they are most costly to maintain, lasting half as long as high pressure sodium.
    Over the long haul they cost more and create more problems for the municipality.
    I got used to living in CA for 29 years where at least the CHP and local cops looked at vehicle lighting, knew at least some of the vehicle code regarding what lighting on vehicles is permitted and made a few stops (that's ALL that I miss). Out here in AL you see people driving trucks with green lights in the grille or blue lights under a lifted 4 wheel drive truck.....most of the cops around here don't know the motor vehicle code at all. You've got ORV's (Gators, Mules, etc.) and 4-wheelers (ATVs) running up and down the road here like regular cars....cops don't even blink.

    I wish it was unlawful here as it is in CA for towing companies and wrecker drivers to drive with their disabled vehicle in tow or on the flatbed with their @#$% bright amber rotating beacons or amber/white flashing LEDs on. At night you can't fall in behind them any closer than 500 feet without being blinded! They're out of the road, they're no longer a hazard, they're moving along with traffic at 35 to 60 MPH so what's the frickin' deal? Turn the @#$% lights off so I can see! What are you doing,, trying to show the world that you are a wrecker driver? Who gives a #%^&# ?? You are blinding other drivers ! :banghead:

    Me too! :highfive:
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018 at 6:13 PM
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  11. J Sigmo

    J Sigmo Getting comfortable

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    I agree with all of that, Tony!

    Here, lots of people drive pickups. And that's great. But so many of them are young kiddos, so we end up with a lot of decorations, etc., here too! And it does seem that the cops here either don't know the codes, or just don't want to bother with enforcing them, or perhaps we just don't have some of those lighting-related codes at all.

    Ever since the outfits that make light bars and the like have found LEDs, the flashing lights on cop cars and such are also quite a hazard. Yes, we're proud of you. You can make an EXTREMELY BRIGHT flashing light now!

    But you have to hold you hand up in front of your face, and shield your eyes to be able to see well enough to even slowly drive around a cop car that has someone pulled over! Someday, a cop or citizen will get run over by someone just trying to navigate past the stopped cop car, and maybe then something will happen.

    This is 2018, for crying out loud. I put light sensors and auto-dimming on all of the LED display signs and scoreboards I designed back in the early 1980s! Tell me it wouldn't be super easy to have ambient light sensing to adjust the brightness of a light bar on an emergency vehicle in these times? Sheesh!

    Some of the cops have figured this out, and they shut off some of their emergency lights to make it a bit less painful and dangerous to themselves and other drivers, but most have no clue. This should be automatic and part of the light bar or lighting system on any emergency vehicle. It's a shame, and ironic when the emergency vehicles themselves are creating an unsafe situation by means of their "warning" lights! And like you say, when some bozo leaves his flashing lights on when there is no hazard, and they're just driving normally, that's either trying to show off, or ignorance at work.
     
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  12. TonyR

    TonyR Known around here

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    I hear ya..
    The programmable visibility traffic signal heads made by 3M that I installed and maintained '73 through '04 had a 150 watt sealed beam, 120VAC lamp, lens and optics so you could mask off areas (lanes) where you did NOT want the drivers to see the display. Because of the optics that thing would put your eyes out at night so it had a photoelectric dimmer on it. Regular 12" signal heads also had a 150 watt but it was incandescent, only a reflector with no optics so it was OK at night.

    Yeah, most LED sign manufacturers offer a dimming option but I think it should be mandatory. Those things are next to the roadway, for good reason, but can blind a driver at night.
     
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  13. Parley

    Parley Getting comfortable

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    Looks like the proper LED security lights for the front of the house might be something to look into. Any thoughts on which LED lights would be best? Such as color etc.
     
  14. CCTVCam

    CCTVCam Pulling my weight

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    Around natural daylight probably as cameras see light more analytically than we do. So, 2 words of caution here:

    1. Cameras see a different spectrum to eyes so it's possible to get a light that looks OK to the eyes but paints a colour cast on a photo / film

    2. Colour temperatures, (the true measure of a lights colour), seem to often vary wildly from manufacturers claims. I'm guessing poor Chinese manufacturing controls with some brands. In my experience, one manufacturer's 7K is anothers 4.5K! To this end, there is an element of trial and error / hit and miss with lights. Daylight is technically often said to be 4.5-5K but that's often yellowy in my experience. The best result for a white daylightish light tend to come from lights of 5-6.5K, although as I said, it's difficult to know what you're getting because there seems to be so much variation in the market. I tend towards 6-6.5k usually, but again I'm not using these with CCTV.

    I have a 38W LED on my house and although it's sufficient for my needs, for CCTV, you'd probably want it brighter. If it's not on all the time, then you could go with a 100w or more LED. However, read other threads about the time delay between a light coming on / the camera switching from night to day mode - you may want early detection / switching or a camera permanently locked into day mode. I'll let others comment more on CCTV specifics, as I'm not using cameras with mine.
     
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  15. J Sigmo

    J Sigmo Getting comfortable

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    And LEDs provide a discontinuous spectrum of light. So what might look "white" to the eye may be "seen" differently by a camera for that reason, too.

    Plain LEDs emit light at fairly specific wavelengths. So you can have red, or green, or blue, or yellow (or pretty much any wavelength you want) LEDs, but not anything that looks white.

    To achieve what will look white, the usual practice is to use an LED that actually emits in the blue or violet range to "pump" various phosphors. Those phosphors then emit visible light as they "relax" from the excited state to their ground state. To get a white look, phosphors that emit at various wavelengths can be blended to give a white-look to the light. But if you compare the spectra from these white LEDs to sunlight, you'll find that instead of a relatively smooth curve of brightness versus wavelength, they may actually emit light at several peaks. Newer white LEDs are better than old ones due to better phosphors or blends of phosphors. But they still don't produce a continuous spectrum like sunlight.

    This is surprisingly similar to the way fluorescent lamps work. They, too, use a system that actually produces ultraviolet light, and then a phosphor coating to give us the visible "white" light we want.

    Another way to get white or whitish light from LEDs is to use arrays composed of LEDs that emit at different wavelengths. So you might get a white-looking light by combining Red, Green, and Blue LEDs. Some of these lamps can be adjusted to produce different types of light by adjusting the drive to each color of LEDs separately. Fancy ones are sometimes used in art galleries and the like to allow the qualities of the light to be adjusted. Or inexpensive systems can let you set the "mood" in your house. And other uses are for aquarium lighting where you may want to adjust things to stimulate plant growth or provide a "moonlight effect" at night, etc.

    I've got some fairly cheap "work lights" that have a knob on the back to adjust the color temperature. They incorporate two types of "white" LEDs. One group is warm white while the other group is more blueish. The knob adjusts the relative proportion of current fed through the LED arrays. There's another knob to set the overall brightness as well. Cranked to about the middle for color temperature, they actually allow photography with my particular digital cameras (Canon DSLRs and mirrorless units) to get rather good color images. How they'd work for other cameras would have to be determined by trial and error. These were cheaper than the fancy lights they sell for photographic use, and work amazingly well.

    But the thing is, as @CCTVCam points out, the way any particular camera "sees" the light from any of these lights might be different than what you expect because the ways the sensors in the cameras actually measure and quantify the light falling on them.
     
  16. Parley

    Parley Getting comfortable

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    "But the thing is, as @CCTVCam points out, the way any particular camera "sees" the light from any of these lights might be different than what you expect because the ways the sensors in the cameras actually measure and quantify the light falling on them. "

    Exactly. It would be interesting to see what LED works best with our IP cameras for the best night recordings. I think you two have given a direction in which to go. The one I have now has two PAR 38 bulbs. I will have to look into this more closely. Thank You.
     
  17. Parley

    Parley Getting comfortable

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  18. Mr_D

    Mr_D Getting comfortable

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    I tried some low-profile LED motion lights recently and by the time they clicked on, they just wound up overexposing anyone in the front yard. I do have some bigger ones in the back which have much better range, but I'm not sure I want them on the front of the house.

    I have these: https://smile.amazon.com/Sunforce-Detection-Distance-Resistant-Exterior/dp/B0751B5J85/

    Two of them light up the whole back yard nicely though.
     
  19. J Sigmo

    J Sigmo Getting comfortable

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    Something to consider, especially given the very low power consumption of the LED lamps, is just running the white light all night. A simple "dusk to dawn" fixture fitted with LED flood lamp bulbs or an LED fixture that already incorporates the photocell, can be operated for very little expense.

    Having the light on constantly all night eliminates the sudden change in brightness so the cameras don't need to adjust. That means that you never miss getting good images at that critical moment.

    You can often run the low-light cameras (starlights) in color mode at all times that way. Or force them into black and white based on time of day. In Blue Iris, you can switch this based on dusk and dawn times. You may even be able to use BI to switch the lights on and off at the same time it switches the cameras from color to B&W mode. Lots of possibilities!

    I have a porch light that stays on all night. My cheap-o cameras still switch over to B&W at dusk. My Starlight cams won't ever switch to B&W on their own, even at the most sensitive (least sensitive?) setting. I have to switch the porch light off to get them to switch if they're in auto mode.

    And there can be good reason to run the cameras in B&W mode even with such a light on, because you can sometimes see more distant areas where your porch light doesn't reach, better that way. You have to play with it all to figure out what you prefer.
     
  20. Mr_D

    Mr_D Getting comfortable

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    I already have a dusk-to-dawn light on the driveway (just left of frame) and the porch light doing the same. I run those cameras in color mode 24/7. The front yard was darker since the old street lamp was so dim so I ran that camera in auto mode. I switched it to color mode after the new light went in. More light is always better but I'd have to rely on solar which means motion activated. Also, I don't really want the house lit up like a stadium at night since its a suburban tract with houses close together.
     
  21. Parley

    Parley Getting comfortable

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    IMHO the starlights and better cameras do not need as much light. I am thinking the "right" kind of light would help things a lot. That is what I am trying to find out. Which "type" of light is best for our IP cameras.
     
  22. CCTVCam

    CCTVCam Pulling my weight

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    One thing I omitted to mention, although I've never seen it quoted with floodlights, just LED bulbs, is the CRI (colour rating index (0-100)). The higher this is, the closer the light is to daylight. Over 80 is generally considered acceptable but anything in the 90's is good. Again you're at the mercy of the manufacturers for accuracy, although the lack of CRI's for most products seems to suggest that atm, it tends to be the better quality ones who quote them.

    One suggestion made above you could try is having an LED bulb on all night. Personally, to keep light pollution and costs down, I'd be tempted to try a lower power dusk to dawn light with a second reinforcement light on a sensor. This is the arrangement I have in my backyard, albeit again I'm not using CCTV and don't know how much the shift in brightness would affect it, although here you're not going from full dark to light, just light to lighter.

    My arrangement is a universal wall light with a daylight LED bulb on a separate dawn to dusk sensor. Reinforcing that I then have 2 LED floodlights connected to a PIR sensor that come on when movement is detected. I have 2 floods simply to give better coverage because I want light along the garage side as well as the house wall, with the side spill from both lighting the garden, but there's no reason why it couldn't be 1 dawn to dusk and 1 flood in principle. You just need to ensure the dawn to dusk sensor is placed outside of any light spill and obviously the same with the floodlight PIR (as the light from the dawn to dusk fitting can stop it switching on).

    This is my arrangement, but as I said, it's not being used with CCTV, so I leave those with specific experience to comment on it's suitability for application to CCTV (my dusk to dawn is actually quite a low wattage bulb as I'm not after huge amounts of permanent light (5 watts). Obviously with CCTV you'd probably want a more powerful base light to start with). It probably also appears darker in the still photo than it actually is in reality, as the floods caused the stills camera I used to under exposed when it's pointing at them. However, note, I haven't gone for a very bright solution,as it's more than adequate for my non CCTV needs as an overly bright security light without CCTV can actually dazzle neighbours and make it harder to see what's happening:


    [​IMG]


    It's hard for me to make recommendations without specific CCTV experience with these lights but I'd probably try at least a 10W (@860 lumen) as dusk to dawn base light and a 50W flood on the PIR as a starting point if experimenting in this way. This should give you 860 lumen as a background light and around 4,000 lumens as the reinforcement. LED bulbs are cheap for the dusk to dawn light for experimentation, although it's hard to find much over 860 lumen in my experience as there's not much demand for very high lumen ES style bulbs as these are usually used indoors. I have seen some 12W at around 1,200 lumen, if you want a higher background starting point. Just make sure the fitting can take the LED rating as it's often much lower than for incandescent lamps.

    The light that gets expensive to experiment with is the high watt LED security flood lighting, as these aren't cheap especially over 50W. However, I'm sure others on here will have tried various wattages / solutions before and with CCTV so be able to give more specific advice on the reinforcement level and how well a background / reinforcement combo works with the cameras adjustments.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018 at 5:11 AM
  23. J Sigmo

    J Sigmo Getting comfortable

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    And this is far from trivial to figure out. Just like a digital photo camera, these security cameras use sensors that consist of arrays of photodetectors that incorporate color filters ahead of the individual sensors. Most use a Bayer filter arrangement.

    To create a color bitmap from the information the array produces requires software to interpret the data. And thus gets us into a subtle area of image processing that photographers deal with when shooting and then processing their photos. Initially, what the image sensor and analog-to-digital converters produce, as the sensor is "read out", is a file containing the "RAW" voltage readings from each of the millions of individual sensors in the array. Some have a red filter, some have a green filter, and some have a blue filter. The camera's internal firmware performs the "de-Bayering" and color balance adjustments on that "RAW" image data. The result is a color bitmap file. The "RAW" data is then discarded.

    You'll notice that most cameras have settings for different ways to calculate white balance when performing the de-bayering calculations. Usually there are several manual presets, such as "daylight", "incandescent", etc., and then an "auto" setting.

    For our security cameras, you might think that, as with casual photography, we simply want to get the most natural-looking colors with the least hassle.

    But what you find when shooting more critical photo situations is that you cannot always predict the future. So choosing a processing preset is difficult or impossible. And as with shooting still photos using "JPG-Only" mode in a still photo camera, our security cameras are discarding the RAW image data, and we cannot go back in time and recover that data.

    And because selecting a color balance preset, or using auto-white-balance requires applying non-linear adjustments to the RAW image data, we can end up with "clipping" or "zeroing out" of image data that wasn't clipped or zero in the RAW data captured by the camera's sensor. The result is that our color balance selection, in the camera settings, can reduce the dynamic range and lose details that the sensor itself actually captured. But again, that RAW data gets discarded, so we cannot go back and reprocess it with different color balance settings to recover that lost image data.

    Many still photo cameras have the option to store the RAW image data so you can play with the processing settings after the fact, and get exactly what you want from each shot. And some video cameras offer different recording modes that use different tone curves, etc., that may provide better dynamic range.

    But the security cameras I've played with don't offer anything like that. So we need to be careful when choosing the color processing settings. Settings (and lighting) that gives "off" colors may actually be preserving more dynamic range, and prove more valuable than lighting and white-balance combinations that produce more "pleasing" colors.

    So, again, this is far from trivial. And what seems best to the eye, at first, may not really be capturing the most detail.

    To get the exposure histograms that a still camera displays to better match what the sensor is actually capturing in the RAW files, some of us will adjust the in-camera JPG processing settings to optimize the histograms. And this results in the camera producing dull, bland, useless in-camera JPGs. But our RAW files are more accurately exposed because the exposure histograms, which are, annoyingly, always based on the in-camera JPG processing, end up better matching what the sensor is actually capturing.

    One wonders if some similar tricks could be used to get bland, but higher dynamic range images from our security cameras when setting up lighting and camera settings. And if so, could we accept looking at the off-colors and bland dynamics for the sake of capturing the most detail. And would it be even better to have truly monochrome image sensors in these cameras, and give up color altogether.


    That's a very interesting document. I need to read it all. But on quickly scanning it, I just want to say that if possible, I would place the external illuminators fairly far from the cameras to reduce the effect of brightly lighting bugs, snow, rain, etc., right near the camera. I know this would be difficult in a pole-mount situation.