How do IR illuminators work

IR Illuminators are a form of special lighting that provide illumination in total darkness. The IR itself is invisible to the human eye but not for an IR sensitive camera. The camera is always in black and white or what those in the CCTV industry call mono mode. Mono is crucial to enable it to work. An IR illuminator will not work with a colour camera.

There are many high performance IR Illuminators on the market but Raytec and Clarius are the current market leaders. Their lighting is designed for both  internal and external applications and they offer a large range of options to give surveillance cameras excellent illumination in all types of conditions.

With the advent of HDCCTV an IR floodlight has now become even more important to incorporate into the design of a CCTV system. HD cameras need better lighting to work and night vision is critical in many situations. It really is no good having great pictures during the day only for them to become unacceptable at night. The Clarius and Raytec range of illuminators can provide CCTV images of up to 150 metres or more so they are a very powerful tool in providing effective 24 hour surveillance.

When considering the position of your cameras and IR illuminators always remember that trees and bushes absorb IR radiation. This means that lighting is lost in certain scenarios. A careful survey is recommended. We mentioned the light is invisible but  certain frequency IR lighting  can be seen if you look directly at the light itself. For a totally covert operation ensure the lights have a wave length of 940nm this is truly invisible to the naked eye.

To avoid shadows and dark areas mount the light as near to the camera as possible never point lighting towards another camera. Direct the light so it reflects IR at a predetermined distance. If it looks at anything too close it will reflect back into the light distorting the image

Do not go for the cheaper IR lighting you can purchase. When it comes to IR you really do get what you pay for. The wider the image you want to view the more diluted the light will become so it’s important you get the specification right before you buy or it will cost you in wasted service calls and the dreaded night time visits further down the line following the camera installation.


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