What Causes Ghosting on CCTV Cameras?

Last week, we kicked off our new “Ask the Expert” blog series, which gives readers a chance to ask our team of video surveillance experts their most pressing questions. Today’s inquiring minds want to know: What causes ghosting on CCTV?
What Causes Ghosting on CCTV Cameras

The Answer

Ghost-like images have been popping up on CCTV cameras for years. And while some people use these mysterious shapes, objects and figures to declare proof of paranormal activity, there’s actually a very logical explanation for “ghosting” (sorry to take all the fun away!)

Ghosting can be caused by a variety of factors, including slow shutter speed, glare from dirt and dust, and much more. But, in this blog, we want to focus on the two biggest contributors:

#1 Lighting

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Panasonic refers to ghosting as a type of flare that occurs “when light repeatedly reflects off the surface of the lens and is seen in the image.”

So, if your site has an area with a bright, shiny light source beaming right into the camera lens, there’s a good chance ghosting will occur.

Ghosting can also result from low-lit areas when the light intensity in a single frame exceeds the range a CCTV camera can digest. 

To prevent ghosting caused by lighting issues, make sure your entire site is well-lit – but not too brightly! Lens hoods can help here.

Because it’s common for light levels to constantly change onsite, it’s beneficial to have a remote video monitoring provider, such as Pro-Vigil, conduct recurring quality audits and continuous camera health monitoring.

As part of this process, we check light levels, flag any degradation of video quality, and alert you right away, so you can remediate issues before ghosting occurs.

#2 Video compression

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Techopedia defines video compression as “the process of encoding a video file in such a way that it consumes less space than the original file and is easier to transmit over the network/internet.”

With video surveillance, once a camera captures images, the video data is transferred to a central cloud-based monitoring system, where images are analyzed and sent off to operators.

Video compression helps expedite the video upload process, so security analysts can get the footage they need as quickly as possible.

However, compressed images can sometimes result in subpar video quality, resolution issues and causing ghosting. 

You want your remote video monitoring team to have a crystal-clear view of your property so they can accurately identify intruders, and not go on wild ghost chases. One of the most effective ways to do this is by making sure video compression always maintains standard video quality.

Do you have a question for our experts? If so, contact us via our Twitter or LinkedIn page. And then stay tuned to the Pro-Vigil blog, because your question may be featured in the next installment of the Ask the Expert series!

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