License Plate Camera Surveillance to Monitor Home Driveway

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    Mike Haldas

    A customer recently contacted me with the following questions in regards to a LPR video surveillance system:

    Hello Mr. Haldas,

    I saw your notes on a ratings site and thought I'd ask for your help.

    In addition to my question below, I was actually wondering if someone could help guide me in the direction of what will fit my needs. Or, if someone could also indicate whether what I want is really doable or not.

    I'm looking for a camera that I could mount indoors, but would face outside through the windows to monitor my driveway and entryway. I have read that if I purchase a camera with an IR function, that this will cause the camera to produce a reflection of the window and screw up the image at night. So, I'm guessing I want a camera that has the ability to turn the IR off and on. Having said that, I would then imagine that I need a camera that can perform very well in low light conditions, even without IR. I'm not sure if that's available or not. This isn't even considering the whole, "wired versus wireless" issue. I have read that wired is generally better than wireless but I'm not sure.

    Last, as indicated in my previous e-mail, I was also looking for a camera that I could use in a similar situation (indoors facing out through the glass windows), but would be able to capture license plates from maybe 40-60 feet away. I saw the model which I had a question about below and figured it would work, but I'm not sure about the indoor placement.

    The reason for the indoor preference is because I lack the skills to run wiring through my attic and I'm not sure how to fish wires between walls in order to avoid having wires coming out of my ceiling. If you strongly believe that what I am seeking can only be accomplished with an outdoor setup, however, then I will hire an electrician. I just wanted to see if it would be possible to obtain a product that would allow me to mount it indoors and point it out the window, while still allowing me to capture what I want, particularly at night.

    In any event, could you give me some specific product recommendations on cameras and DVRs?

    I have some punk kids that sometimes come on foot at night and other times, drive by in their car (hence the license plate recognition) and do lots of stupid things to my property. I'd like to get some good images of them if they come up on foot and would also like a camera to capture their license plate if they drive by.

    Thank you very much for any information.

    My response to this customer:

    Thank You so much for contacting me. I highly recommend that you pursue running cable outdoors so that you can mount outdoor cameras. Monitoring outside areas using video surveillance via CCTV cameras that are mounted indoors and viewing through windows generally does not work well except in day time conditions. License plate capture mounted indoors would be out of the question.

    In regards to license plate capture cameras, I recommend that you take a look at this article that I wrote not long ago to further educate yourself on that subject. A lot of people have unrealistic expectations in regards to this specialized equipment and this article answers a lot of general questions about LPR.

    These are all excellent outdoor cameras that I recommend you to consider for monitoring the driveway at your house:

    In regards to the LPR camera, please understand that as the article explains, license plate cameras are designed to monitor a single lane of traffic. It is not possible to have a camera focused on a wide overview of an area and be able to pick of the details on small objects such as a license plate. This is the most common misconception that we find most people have about LPR surveillance applications.

    Please let me know if you still believe that an LPR camera is applicable for a system at your home.

    In regards to the DVR that I recommend, our iDVR-E series recorders are our best selling CCTV DVR and I can not recommend them highly enough. You can learn more about the iDVR here:

    Please let me know how I can help further.

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