Case Study: License Plate Capture Day & Night 1

We had a customer who called us that had problems with break-ins in the last several months.  The customer already had cameras around his premises but nothing solid to identify who the thieves were.  He called 2M CCTV to come out and give any suggestion to beef up his current surveillance system so, in the case that someone would enter the premises without permission, he would have more to go on than just video footage of the car.  What we noticed is that there was only one entrance in and one exit out at the front of the building so we recommended license plate cameras for the entrance and exit lanes.


After discussing this solution with the customer our goal for this job site was to install the license plate camera that will catch all license plates during the day as well as at night.


The main issue that we ran into was being unable to catch license plates during the night.   This was because we did not follow the camera manufacturer’s recommendations on how to mount the camera as far as the distance is concerned.  The recommended distance was from 100 ft to 150 ft but instead we put the camera at a little over 200 feet away.  This was because the customer really wanted it to be mounted on top of the building and getting a pole installed wasn’t our ideal route.

We were unable to catch license plates during the night because the camera was too far away so we were getting a blurry image at night.  Also, the license plate seems like it was washed out.  The cameras that we mounted had the option on the IR board to increase the intensity of the IR and after talking to the manufacture of the camera they suggested us to move the camera closer or we could increase the intensity of the IR at our own risk but “we do not recommend this because it will burn out your IRs”.  Feeling that we were all out of options  we ended up  increasing the intensity by 10 percent and it resolved our issues, but the IR burnt out within 20 minutes and now we were back to square one with a bigger issue on our hands.


License Plate Cameras with IR Illuminator
License Plate Cameras with IR Illuminator

With the camera still not catching license plates at night and now with the IR burnt out it wasn’t looking to good.  It seemed like the only option we had was to return the  cameras in exchange for new ones and remount the cameras closer on a pole.  Instead of doing this we decided to give a last ditch effort by leaving the cameras up and mounting a high powered LED IR illuminator in between each camera.  What was surprising is that it only took one illuminator to light up 3 lanes.  Finally, the issue was resolved and we had a happy customer that was satisfied with the performance of the cameras.

In hindsight, everything could have been avoided if we had followed the exact directions of the manufacturer, but what everyone has to realize when going out to do a camera install is that there are always unknown variables that will come into play whether if it’s the physical environment or if it’s a customer that is bent on having a camera at an exact location.  The only advice I can give you may sound cliché but it is simply to follow the directions from the manufacturer and in the scenarios that you can not, you can always do research on the internet because odds are you are not the first who ran into this particular issue.  I hope by sharing our experience that was learned from this particular job helps you in the future.

Also Read: Home Security Camera Buying Guide and Take your Neighborhood Watch to the Next Level with Neighborhood Guard

One Comment

  1. Interesting and innovative solution. I wonder if the the LED draws attention to the cameras and make the thieves reconsider?

    Chris Streeter

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