Learn the Pros Golden Rules

Let's talk about The Pro's Golden Rules. We'll start with number one, and leave room to grow. Now, what does that mean? Most camera systems grow after installation by 35% on average. Now, why does that happen? It happens because they find out how effective the systems can be and they start adding cameras, or they didn't use enough cameras, to begin with, and they're finding weak spots in their coverage and they're looking to add cameras to the system. Now, we have to think about that upfront during the design period, because the industry as a whole, manufactures NVRs and DVRs. So they support four, eight, 16, 32, and 64. Now, if a client needs four cameras and you go with a four-channel video recorder, that's fine, it's cost-effective. But a month later, if they've got to add that fifth camera out goes the four-channel video recorder, and then comes the eight-channel video recorder so it gets expensive.

So the basic rule of thumb is always to go with the video recorder one size up than what you need. That way it's just a matter of selecting the right camera and just adding it to the system. You don't have to change your video recorder, you don't have to change your hard drives, you don't have to do any of that. So for example, if you've got a client that's got four cameras, your choices are to go with a four-channel video recorder, but we recommend that you recommend to them an eight-channel video recorder for growth. If they've got two or three cameras, just ask them, do you think you might want to add one or two more cameras down the road? Because a four-channel might work. If they think, oh, at the most, I'll only need one more camera, then the four-channel video recorder's the right choice.

If they've got seven cameras, it's that gray area where it's like, well, you could go with an eight-channel video recorder and have growth for one more, or you could upgrade to a 16. So these are the things that you have to think about when you're selecting the right video recorder so that you do really good service for the customer, and that is making sure that they're not spending money now that they have to throw away and spend again later. Okay, The pro's second Golden Rule, selecting the right lens. There's one distance that's really key to this, and it's really easy for you to select the right camera if you follow this simple golden rule, 60 feet. If the viewing area is 60 feet or under, you can use a wide-angle lens all day long and that, as you've already learned, can be a 2.8 or a 3.6-millimeter wide-angle lens.

A 3.6-millimeter lens opens up at a 90-degree field of view. A 2.8-millimeter lens opens up at 110 degrees field of view. Now, because they open up so wide, they cover a lot of ground up close, but because they cover up a lot of ground up close, things get small at distance, and out about 60 feet with those wide angle lenses is where you start to lose facial identification or capturing license plates. So you'll see past that, you'll see a hundred feet with those cameras and lenses, but the detail is so small, you want to use wide angle lenses anywhere from three feet to 60 feet. Past 60 feet, here's just the simple part of it. If it's past 60 feet, use a camera with a zoom lens. Now standard, the best zoom lens is a 2.8 to 12 millimeter. That'll let you open up white up here, but also at 60, 80, or 100 feet, you can zoom it in optically through the lens so you can zoom it in, so things at distance get bigger.

Now when you zoom in, your field of view on the sides shrinks, but things at distance get bigger. So the key distance there is if it's 60 feet or under your target point, use a wide-angle lens. If it's over 60 feet all the way up to 200 feet, use a standard zoom lens. Now, if it's over 200 feet, you're likely going to be looking at a Pan-tilt-zoom camera. Those are the cameras that are designed for long-range surveillance. They'll go up to five, 600 feet just fine and identify people and plates. And you want to take a hard look at those if your target distances are 200 feet or more. The next Golden Rule of pros is one camera, one job, and this is the most common mistake that a client will make. They'll try and do too much with one camera.

They'll say, I want to watch my front yard, okay, well, there's a wide-angle lens right there, and their yard's only 40, 50 feet. But I also want to capture plates as the car drives down the street. Well, now you got two focal points. You've got your wide area for your front yard, but also at 80 or 90 feet away is your target location to capture a plate, those are two different jobs. That's the most common mistake. People go, I'm just going to get one camera and do both, it doesn't work. You'll get the surveillance of the yard just fine. You'll get the car just fine, but you're not going to have the detail to get the plate. So the golden rule is don't ask one camera to do the job of two. The next Golden Rule is pre-made cables. We've already discussed this. We have the option of using factory pre-made cables or easy spool boxes of 500 and 1,000-foot spools of cable.

Pre-made cables are smart if the client intends on installing the system themselves because the fittings are factory-made and put on, so you know they're going to work great. The cable's going to have no problems at all. The customer just has to pull the cable from the video recorder to the camera. The problem is you have to get the distances right. So you have to measure the distance from the video recorder to the camera, and you also have to remember to go up or down any walls that the cable might have to do to get to that location. That's your distance. Let's say for example, that comes in at 85 feet. Well, you can't use a 75-foot cable, so you jump up to a hundred-foot cable, that's fine, you always want it to be longer, but it can't be shorter. It can't be five feet short because these cables don't stretch.

So if you need 80 feet, you buy a hundred-foot cable. If you need 110 feet, you buy 150-foot cable. Now that leaves excess cable, and again, that's okay. You simply just coil it up and leave it where it's not seen. You can leave it in an attic. You can leave it behind a credenza where the video recorder is. You can push it back into a wall, but you have to deal with that excess cable. But the benefit is the customer doesn't have to put the factory fittings on. Now, if the customer is comfortable putting the factory fittings on, or you are quoting it with professional installation, then you use the bulk box as a cable. This allows you to pull exactly the distance that you want to each camera, and you don't have to deal with excess cable, but you do have to put the factory fittings on.

All professional installers prefer to pull the cable and put the fittings on because they're very comfortable doing it. Customers, most, a lot, are comfortable putting fittings on, and if they're not sure, you can go to our website and watch a couple of videos about how to put a fitting on. The only key to it is you got to have good eyes. CAT6 cables are made at eight 23 gauge conductor wires, and they all are color-coded, so you have to have good enough eyes to be able to get all eight of those conductors in the right line as you slide them in the cable, that's really the hard part. So golden rule, use pre-made cables if the customer's doing the installation and they're uncomfortable with fittings, use the bulk cables, 500 and 1,000-foot spools when they are comfortable or a professional is going to perform the installation.

Those are the basic pro's Golden Rules. They apply to everything. You can break them if you want. They're rules, they are not laws, but if you follow these rules, you won't make design mistakes. You won't ask one camera to do too much. You won't get the cables wrong. It's really just basic, and it helps you design a system. Remember that 60 feet and under or 60 feet and over, that's the key distance that directs you to the right camera and lens for that camera's location.

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