How to Make CCTV Footage Clear (4 Step Guide)

Just the presence of CCTV cameras can be enough of a deterrent to stop criminals and keep your locations secure, but just having a camera and letting it fall into disrepair is not going to do you any favours. 

Keeping your CCTV footage clear is just as important as actually having a camera.

What is the point of having surveillance equipment if you can not even see what it is supposedly filming?

How to make CCTV footage clear

In this guide, we will be looking at some practical ways you can keep your CCTV footage clear, reduce the amount of time you need to maintain your cameras and some things you can use to ensure your feeds are clear.

  • Clear CCTV Footage Overview
  • Things You Will Need to Make Your CCTV Footage Clear
  • How to Make Your CCTV Footage Clear
  • Clear CCTV Footage Summary

What You Need to Know Getting Clear CCTV Footage

Clear CCTV Basics 

A lot of people who use CCTV tend to install it and just forget it until something happens or they have reason to check it. This is what we call reactive security measures, you are reacting when something has happened. 

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A much more effective method is proactive, or even preventative security measures, this is about being able to prevent or predict a security threat. 

The issue lies in the fact that a lot of CCTV users do not keep their cameras clean and thus the footage is not clear. When you need to access the feeds they are blurry or have debris on the lens that obscures the footage.

We are going to briefly look at a few areas of having clear CCTV footage and why it is important to look after your CCTV cameras.

Benefits of Having Clear CCTV Footage

Better Footage

The obvious benefit is the fact you will have much clearer footage that will be helpful for a number of reasons, for preventive security or for after the fact identifying criminals or gathering information.

Reduced False Alarms

When you have clean and clear cameras you will be much less likely to get false alarms. Depending on the sensitivity of your camera, debris or even a spider can trigger an alarm, if your image is less clear your camera or staff will have a harder time determining the differences between a real and fake threat.

More Secure

If someone is looking at your CCTV cameras and sees that they are in disrepair and are dirty they are much more likely to attempt to break into your premises. Having cameras that look clean, clear and well maintained will help prevent potential crimes.

Reliable Data

Having clear footage provides you with much more reliable data that is useful in a plethora of situations. It links into all the other points here and creates a safer and efficient security environment.

Supplies You’ll Need for Making Your CCTV Footage Clear

Research Time

Knowledge is power and in the case of security, it is imperative. Ensuring you pick the right CCTV camera for your situation is important and can save you a lot of heartache. Buying a camera that works poorly in low light will not be viable for an outdoor installation, for example.

Compressed Air

A simple and hands-free option for cleaning your lenses and cameras without damaging any delicate pieces. Compressed air is a popular option for a wide range of electronics, so it can be useful in a lot of areas of your business or personal life.

If you are not careful you can make smears worse and even scratch the lens when cleaning it, so using compressed air is a great contactless solution that can clear dust,  debris and even spider webs.

Microfibre Cloth

A microfibre cloth is another Swiss army knife that you can use to keep a range of devices clean, less is definitely more with a microfibre cloth, a lot like compressed air you have to be delicate with your CCTV lenses.

Lens Cleaner Solution

For more stubborn smudges and marks on your CCTV cameras, you can look into getting some lens cleaner solution that can help remove and reduce anything disrupting the clarity of your footage.

Environmental Knowledge

Not all CCTV cameras will be affected by the same issues, so understanding your environment and the factors that could affect your camera feeds is important. 

For example, if you have an outdoor camera you may have your feed clarity impacted by weather, so finding a weatherproof camera is important. In addition, moist environments can negatively alter your cameras over time.

How to Get Clear CCTV Footage in 4 Steps

If you follow these four steps you will have a lot better camera feeds and the footage you capture on your CCTV cameras will be clearer and thus, keep you and your business more secure.

Step 1: Choose a good camera for your needs

With a huge variety of cameras available at all price points, there is no excuse for getting the wrong type of camera for what you need. 

To put this into context, if you are installing your camera outside, you will want to look into weatherproof options, night vision and even human detection options. 

On the flip side, if you were installing your camera inside, these features may be less important, so you will not need to splash out on these additional things.

Step 2: Adjust the focus 

This may seem fairly obvious, but we have seen countless examples where people have not realised they could adjust the focus, or even knocked it a little when setting up the CCTV camera.

It is much more common than you think and such a simple fix to make your CCTV footage clearer. An important note is that not all CCTV camera models will have this option, but most will have some form of focus mechanic or feature.

Step 3: Test your feeds

Once you have set up your cameras, it is important to test the feeds and ensure that footage from the whole camera’s view is clear. 

A simple method to check this is to grab two walkie-talkies and get someone to move across your camera feed while you watch the monitors. 

This way you can get them to move to the back, front, sides and edges of the CCTV camera’s field of view, and test the picture clarity.

Step 4: Keep the cameras clean

CCTV systems are often seen as a set it and forget it kind of security solution, and in some ways this is true, a lot of people will use it as a deterrent and an after the fact security measure. It has even been proven that dummy cameras can deter criminals.

But it is important to keep your cameras clean and clear so you can actually use any footage you capture on your CCTV cameras.

Important note: a lot of cameras now come with a small bit of film or a sticker over the lens that keeps it clean and clear from debris after it’s been packaged, ensure you have peeled this off once you have your cameras installed.

How to Make CCTV Footage Clear Summary 

Needless to say, you will never be able to make your footage any better than what the camera can capture, but you can ensure it is operating at peak efficiency and you are getting your full-HD picture as opposed to a blurry mess.

Having the right base camera is a big part of having clear footage, but the maintenance and cleaning of your cameras and lenses can keep the footage clear for a lot longer. 

We are constantly posting new content surrounding CCTV and security, so if you are not only looking for clear footage but also clear information, check out our security blog to learn more about the industry in easy to digest terms.

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Steve White

Steve is an experienced security professional with over 20 years in security installation and consulting. He's here to help you answer your security questions.