Speedy imaging system ends grainy CCTV film

Identification of criminals from CCTV footage could become more reliable following the launch of a 50 frame-per-second digital imaging system.

The digital camera, made by UK company Vista, can record images on to a hard disk, and play and show live pictures at the same time on the same monitor.

The unit makes use for the first time of two video processing chips running in parallel, enabling it to receive images at a rate of 50 per second from up to 16 cameras. This is twice the speed of existing technology, according to product manager Peter Ainsworth.

As the speed and quality can be specified, the system can be tailored to record more information from critical cameras and less from others.

The device includes a post-event motion detector that allows the user to home in on any area of the screen and ask the system to list then play any recorded motion occurring in this sector within a specified timeframe.

‘If you left your car at 10am in an area monitored by the CCTV and discovered it gone by noon, police could scan recorded images of anyone going near it in a couple of seconds,’ said Ainsworth. ‘The speed of the search is unique, as is the clarity of the picture. It should put an end to the days of grainy police videos where it’s hard to see suspects’ faces.’

The system can also be used to identify so-called ‘sweetheart’ till transactions, where a retail worker gives acquaintances extra money from the till with their change or fails to charge them for goods. The till and CCTV system work in tandem, so information from both can be combined. This allows security staff to print off a composite image detailing visual and till information in a single picture.

The camera can also be connected to cash dispensers, allowing images of fraudulent users to be cross-indexed with card data collected from the ATMs.

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