Mistakes to Avoid When Installing a Video Surveillance System

As crime rates continue to rise in many parts of the world, it’s no wonder that more and more people are turning to video surveillance systems as a means of protecting their homes, businesses, and loved ones. However, installing such a system is not as simple as just mounting cameras around your property. There are several common mistakes that people make when setting up their video surveillance systems that can render them ineffective or even useless. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at five of the most common mistakes to avoid when installing a video surveillance system, so that you can make sure your system is as effective as possible.

Mistake #1: Poor Placement

Mistake #1: Poor Placement
Placing cameras in strategic locations is crucial for a successful video surveillance system. Poor placement can lead to multiple issues that compromise the effectiveness of the system. Lack of Coverage can make it difficult to identify a perpetrator, while Gaps in Coverage can leave blind spots that allow criminal activity to go undetected. It is important to consider the placement of cameras during the installation process. To learn more about installing a video surveillance system, check out our install video surveillance guide. If you are experiencing issues with your current surveillance system, take a look at our video surveillance troubleshooting tips.

Lack of Coverage

One of the common mistakes to avoid when installing a video surveillance system is a lack of coverage. This means not having enough cameras to adequately monitor the entire area that needs to be secured. It is crucial to have a clear idea of the size and layout of the location so that you can determine the number of cameras needed and their placement. Without proper coverage, blind spots can emerge, leaving areas vulnerable to thefts and vandalism.

To prevent this mistake, create a comprehensive coverage plan that includes all the key areas that need to be surveilled. This can be achieved by conducting a thorough risk assessment and identifying potential security vulnerabilities. This plan should cover all entry and exit points, high-traffic areas, and blind spots that may go unnoticed.

Once the key areas are identified, consider using a diagram to illustrate the locations of the cameras and the range of their field of view. This will help to ensure that every inch of the area is covered and all potential threats are identified.

Proper cabling is also important to ensure that the cameras are properly positioned and can capture all necessary angles of the area. The cabling should be run discreetly and away from potential hazards such as machinery that could lead to interference or damage. Learn more about the importance of cabling in video surveillance systems by checking out our article on the importance of cabling in video surveillance.

Inadequate coverage can also lead to the need to upgrade the video surveillance system in the future. Upgrading your video surveillance system has many benefits, including enhancing video quality and improving the system’s performance. To learn more about upgrading your video surveillance system, check out our article on upgrading your video surveillance system.

By ensuring proper coverage in your video surveillance system, you can maximize the lifespan of your equipment and keep your assets safe. Learn more about maximizing the lifespan of your video surveillance system by reading our article on maximizing the lifespan of your video surveillance system.

Gaps in Coverage

When it comes to video surveillance systems, having gaps in coverage can be a serious problem. These gaps in coverage can leave areas of your property vulnerable to theft or other criminal activity. To avoid this issue, it’s important to ensure that your cameras are placed properly and have a wide enough field of view to cover your entire property.

Here are some common reasons for gaps in coverage:

  • Poor camera placement: If your cameras are not placed strategically, they may not provide the coverage you need. Be sure to survey your property carefully and consider blind spots and other potential issues when choosing camera locations.
  • Inadequate number of cameras: Depending on the size and layout of your property, you may need more cameras than you initially thought. Make sure to assess your needs carefully before making a purchase.
  • Obstructions: Trees, buildings, and other obstacles can interfere with your cameras’ field of view. Make sure to clear the area around your cameras to ensure optimal coverage.
  • Low-quality cameras: Poor-quality cameras may not have the resolution needed to capture all of the details in an area, leading to gaps in coverage.

To avoid gaps in coverage, it’s important to take the time to carefully plan out your video surveillance system. This means assessing your property thoroughly, considering potential obstacles, and investing in high-quality cameras that provide the resolution and range you need. By doing your due diligence and taking the necessary steps to ensure complete coverage, you can keep your property safe and secure.

Mistake #2: Low-Quality Cameras

Mistake #2: Low-Quality Cameras
When it comes to video surveillance systems, the quality of the camera matters just as much as its placement. The last thing you want is to invest in a system that fails to capture useful footage, and that’s exactly what can happen if you go for low-quality cameras. The issues with such cameras go beyond just poor image quality, so it’s important to understand the risks and consequences of making this mistake. In this section, we’ll explore the common problems that come with installing low-quality cameras and what you can do to avoid them.

Image Quality

When it comes to installing a video surveillance system, image quality is one of the most important factors to consider. Poor image quality can render the entire system useless, as the footage obtained would be of no practical value. There are various reasons why image quality may be subpar, and taking steps to avoid them can help you ensure that your video surveillance system is effective.

One common mistake that can lead to poor image quality is opting for cameras with a low resolution. Such cameras may seem like an attractive option due to their lower cost, but the footage they produce is usually grainy and often inadequate for the intended purpose. To avoid this problem, invest in high-quality cameras with a higher resolution that will provide clear, sharp images.

Another mistake is overlooking the importance of lenses. A good quality lens can hugely impact the image quality and depth of field. Some of the common lens issues that affect image quality include dirty lenses, incorrect focus, and damage to the lens. Regular lens cleaning and quality assurance checks should be conducted to ensure that the lenses are functioning optimally.

Low-light situations pose a challenge for many cameras and can result in poor image quality. To avoid this issue, consider installing cameras with built-in infrared capabilities that can capture clear images in almost complete darkness.

Table of Common Causes of Poor Image Quality in Video Surveillance Systems:

Cause of Poor Image Quality Solution
Low resolution cameras Invest in high-quality cameras with a higher resolution
Dirty or damaged lenses Regular lens cleaning and quality assurance checks
Incorrect focus Ensure proper focus during installation and conduct regular checks
Low-light situations Install cameras with built-in infrared capabilities

By addressing these common causes of poor image quality, you can ensure that your video surveillance system is effective and reliable, providing the clear and detailed footage necessary for protecting your property and safety.

Low Durability

One of the common mistakes made during the installation of a video surveillance system is using low-quality cameras with poor durability. Cameras that are not built to last are less likely to withstand harsh weather conditions and may not be tamper-proof. This can render the surveillance system ineffective in the long run.

To avoid this mistake, it is important to invest in high-quality cameras that are built to last. When choosing cameras, it is important to consider factors such as the quality of the camera casing and the type of material used in its construction. The use of cheap materials may cause the cameras to wear out faster and not provide protection against vandalism and tampering.

One way to ensure durability is to purchase cameras that are IP-rated, which means that they can withstand different weather conditions. This is especially important if cameras will be installed in outdoor locations where they will be exposed to harsh elements like rain and dust.

Additionally, it is important to consider the quality of the camera’s lens cover. High-quality cameras come with quality glass or plastic covers that are resistant to scratches and misting. This ensures that the images captured by the camera are clear and not distorted by scratches or fog.

To further ensure durability, it is important to properly install the cameras and ensure that they are fixed securely in place. This prevents them from being damaged by external factors like strong winds or accidental knocks.

By avoiding the mistake of using low-quality, non-durable cameras, one can ensure that their video surveillance system provides long-term protection and security.

Mistake #3: Inadequate Lighting

Mistake #3: Inadequate Lighting
When it comes to video surveillance systems, many people tend to focus on the camera quality and placement, but often overlook the importance of adequate lighting. Inadequate lighting can significantly affect the quality and effectiveness of your system, making it difficult to capture clear footage of the area you intend to monitor. In this section, we will explore some of the common mistakes people make when it comes to lighting in video surveillance and what you can do to avoid them. So let’s shed some light on the subject!

Insufficient Light

One of the most common mistakes when installing a video surveillance system is neglecting adequate lighting. Insufficient lighting can severely impact the quality of your footage or render your cameras useless.

Why is lighting important for your video surveillance system?

Adequate lighting is essential for clear video footage. If your cameras don’t get enough light, the images captured will be blurry, grainy, or completely black. Unusable footage won’t help you with your security needs, and it won’t provide evidence in case of an incident.

When it comes to lighting, there are two factors to consider: the amount of light and its quality. To ensure you don’t make mistakes in this category, take note of these points:

Lack of Light Glare and Reflections
A lack of light will make it difficult for your cameras to capture usable footage. If you place cameras in areas with little or no light, such as basements or storage rooms, the images will be too dark to be useful. Consider adding additional illumination such as floodlights or infrared lights to ensure your cameras have enough light to capture high-quality footage. On the other hand, too much light can be just as bad as too little. Sun glare and reflections from windows or mirrors can obscure important details. Be mindful of the position of the camera and the direction of the light to avoid such problems.
Color Temperature Coverage
The color temperature of the light can also affect the quality of the footage. The temperature is measured in degrees Kelvin (K). The ideal range for video surveillance is between 5000K and 6500K, which provides a realistic representation of colors without distorting them. If the lighting in your environment is below that range, you should install daylight or cool white lights to improve color clarity. Ensure that all areas that require surveillance are covered by the cameras. Take note of blind spots or areas that are difficult to see. It’s essential to have a comprehensive view of your environment to ensure that your video surveillance system serves its purpose.

To avoid mistakes regarding insufficient lighting, it’s best to consult with a professional installer. They can perform an assessment of the lighting conditions in your facilities and recommend the best course of action. By getting it right the first time, you can ensure that your video surveillance system will function effectively, providing you the security and peace of mind you need.

Overexposure and Glare

One major mistake when installing a video surveillance system is inadequate lighting, which can result in overexposure and glare in your footage. These issues occur when the light sources in the environment overpower the image sensor of the camera, leading to washed-out footage that lacks detail. Overexposure can also cause blooming, which is when strong light sources such as headlights or street lamps appear as large circles that obscure the surrounding image.

To avoid overexposure and glare, it’s important to consider the lighting conditions in the area where the cameras are placed. Strong direct sunlight, reflections from nearby surfaces, and artificial light sources can all affect the image quality. Using cameras with a wide dynamic range (WDR) can help to prevent overexposure by automatically adjusting the brightness levels of different areas of the image.

Another solution is to adjust the angle of the camera so that it is not facing directly into the light source. This can often be achieved by simply repositioning the camera, or by installing sunshields or other accessories to eliminate glare.

When selecting a camera for an outdoor surveillance system, it’s important to choose one with an appropriate level of protection against the elements. Cameras with an Ingress Protection (IP) rating of at least 66 are recommended for outdoor use as they provide adequate protection against dust and water.

Overexposure and glare are common issues that can affect the effectiveness of a video surveillance system. By taking steps to address inadequate lighting and selecting suitable cameras, it’s possible to avoid these issues and ensure that your surveillance system provides high-quality footage that is free from distortion and other image artifacts.

Issue Cause Solution
Overexposure Strong direct sunlight, reflections, artificial light sources Use cameras with a wide dynamic range (WDR), adjust camera angle, use sunshields
Glare Directly facing light sources Reposition camera, use sunshields, adjust camera angle
Blooming Strong light sources such as headlights or street lamps Use cameras with a wide dynamic range (WDR)

Mistake #4: Neglecting Maintenance

Mistake #4: Neglecting Maintenance
As essential as it is to install a video surveillance system, it is equally important to carry out proper maintenance practices. Neglecting to maintain your device can result in various setbacks, such as malfunctioning cameras and dead batteries. Without routine system checks, your surveillance system’s overall performance will decrease, leaving you vulnerable to security threats. To avoid these issues, let’s take a closer look at the common mistakes people make when it comes to video surveillance maintenance.

Dead Batteries or Malfunctioning Cameras

One of the most common mistakes made when installing a video surveillance system is neglecting maintenance. Dead batteries or malfunctioning cameras can render the entire system useless, leaving you vulnerable to security breaches.

To prevent this issue, it’s important to regularly check and replace the batteries in your cameras. This will ensure that they continue to function properly and capture high-quality footage. Additionally, it’s important to perform routine checks on the cameras themselves, looking for any signs of damage or malfunction.

If you do encounter a malfunctioning camera, don’t hesitate to replace it. A malfunctioning camera can lead to gaps in coverage and compromise the security of your property.

Here’s a table highlighting some common maintenance mistakes related to dead batteries and malfunctioning cameras, as well as tips for avoiding them:

Common Mistakes Tips for Avoiding
Forgetting to check and replace batteries Set a reminder to regularly check and replace camera batteries, and keep spare batteries on hand so you can quickly make replacements.
Ignoring signs of damage or malfunction in cameras Perform routine checks to ensure that your cameras are functioning properly, and replace any that are damaged or not working correctly.
Not having a backup plan in case of malfunctioning cameras Keep spare cameras on hand so you can quickly replace any that are malfunctioning or damaged.

By avoiding these maintenance mistakes related to dead batteries and malfunctioning cameras, you can ensure that your video surveillance system functions properly and provides reliable security for your property.

Incomplete System Checks

It is important to conduct regular system checks when installing a video surveillance system to ensure it is functioning properly. However, some common mistakes are made when it comes to conducting complete and thorough checks of the system. One of these mistakes is not checking all cameras and angles.

Assigning someone to do a complete walkthrough of the property or building can help ensure that every camera is checked and working properly. This could also uncover any blind spots or areas where additional cameras might be necessary.

Another mistake that is often made is not reviewing recordings on a regular basis. It’s important to check that recordings are being made and that they are clear enough to be useful if needed. This is where having high-quality cameras is beneficial.

To further ensure that the system is working correctly, updating firmware and software should be regularly conducted. This is because software updates can fix any bugs or security issues that may arise with the system.

An incomplete system check can result in missed opportunities to prevent or solve issues with the system. To avoid this mistake, it is important to create a checklist of all the items that should be checked regularly. This will help ensure that nothing is overlooked and that the system is always functioning properly.

Here is an example of a checklist for system checks:

System Check Checklist
Check all cameras and angles
Review recordings
Update firmware and software
Check for any damage or malfunctioning cameras

Completing this checklist on a regular basis can help prevent any issues with the system and ensure it is always functioning at its best.

Mistake #5: Overlooking Cybersecurity

When setting up a video surveillance system, one of the most important considerations is its cybersecurity. Yet, too many people still overlook this critical aspect. It’s understandable to focus on the physical installation and camera quality, but neglecting cybersecurity can leave you vulnerable to hacking and theft. In this section, we’ll examine potential pitfalls and how to prevent them, so you can protect your business or home without putting it at risk.

Weak Passwords

One of the most common mistakes that people make when installing a video surveillance system is using weak passwords. Weak passwords are the easiest way for hackers to get unauthorized access to your system. In fact, according to a recent report, around 80% of hacking-related breaches happen due to stolen or weak passwords. It’s important to use strong passwords to protect your system from potential security breaches.

What makes a password weak?

A weak password is one that is easy to crack or guess. These passwords are usually short, simple, and easy to remember. Some common examples of weak passwords are “123456”, “password”, “qwerty”, and “admin”. These passwords can be easily guessed by a brute-force attack or a dictionary attack.

How to create a strong password?

Creating a strong password is not difficult, but it requires some thought and effort. Here are some tips on how to create a strong password:

Tip Explanation
Use a mixture of characters A strong password should include upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
Use a passphrase A passphrase is a combination of words that are easy for you to remember but difficult for others to guess. For example, “My cat loves to play at the park” can be a strong password.
Avoid using personal information Do not use personal information such as your name, date of birth, address, etc., in your password.
Change your password periodically It’s important to change your password every 3-6 months to keep your system secure.


A strong password is one of the simplest and most effective ways to protect your video surveillance system from potential security breaches. By using a mixture of characters, avoiding personal information, and changing your password periodically, you can ensure that your system is secure and protected. Don’t make the mistake of using a weak password that could compromise the safety of your system.

Outdated Software and Firmware

Keeping software and firmware up-to-date is crucial when it comes to the security of your video surveillance system. Even a short delay in performing updates can open your system to vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. Outdated software and firmware often contain bugs and security holes that manufacturers release patches for in updated versions. By neglecting software and firmware updates, you are leaving your system vulnerable to cyber-attacks, which can result in the unauthorized accessing of your stored footage or even the complete shutdown of your surveillance system.

Avoiding Outdated Software and Firmware

To avoid the risk of cyber threats from outdated software and firmware, you should have a maintenance schedule in place that includes regular checks for available updates. Many manufacturers offer software update notifications and automatic patching, which can save you time and effort in maintaining your system. Make sure to read up on and understand the latest updates and any known vulnerabilities that they address.

It is important to only use manufacturers’ software and firmware updates. Third-party updates can be malicious or introduce more vulnerabilities into your system. Similarly, avoid customizing your system with unapproved software or firmware as this can also jeopardize your system’s security.

You can also mitigate the risk of outdated software and firmware vulnerabilities by investing in a subscription plan or support package from the manufacturer that includes regular system updates and software upgrades. This way you can ensure that you are always running the latest version of the software, and that any vulnerabilities are addressed promptly.

The following table summarizes the steps to avoid outdated software and firmware in your video surveillance system:

Steps to Avoid Outdated Software and Firmware
Establish a maintenance schedule with regular checks for available updates
Enable automatic update notifications and patching
Only use manufacturers’ software and firmware updates
Avoid customizing your system with unapproved software and firmware
Invest in a subscription plan or support package with access to regular system updates and upgrades

By following these steps you can ensure that your video surveillance system runs smoothly, securely, and free from vulnerabilities caused by outdated software and firmware.

Unsecured Network

When it comes to installing a video surveillance system, overlooking the importance of network security is a common yet critical mistake. Unsecured networks can allow unauthorized access to your cameras, opening the door to potential hacking or data breaches. Here are some ways your network could be at risk if left unsecured:

  • Eavesdropping: Unencrypted wireless networks can be easily intercepted by hackers, allowing them to view traffic and potentially gain access to sensitive information.
  • Denial of Service (DoS) attacks: These attacks flood your network with traffic until it becomes overloaded and unusable.
  • Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks: These attacks occur when an attacker intercepts communication between two parties, allowing them to read or modify data without detection.
  • Brute-force attacks: These attacks involve trying to guess a password by attempting different combinations until the correct one is found.
  • Sniffing: This involves using specialized software to monitor network activity in order to capture sensitive information such as passwords or other login credentials.

To avoid these risks, it is important to properly secure your network. This includes:

  • Enabling encryption: Use WPA2 or similar encryption protocol to secure your wireless network, ensuring that communications are encrypted and protected from eavesdropping.
  • Strong passwords: Use strong, unique passwords for all network devices, including routers and cameras, and change them regularly.
  • Updating firmware: Regularly update your camera and router firmware to ensure that any known vulnerabilities are patched.
  • Disabling remote access: If you do not need remote access to your surveillance system, disable it to minimize the risk of unauthorized access.
  • Creating a separate network: Consider setting up a separate, dedicated network for your surveillance system, isolating it from other devices on your network.

By taking these precautions, you can help ensure that your surveillance system remains secure and protected against potential cyber threats.


After going through the common mistakes to avoid when installing a video surveillance system, it’s important to emphasize that the success of any surveillance system requires proper planning, installation, and maintenance. Neglecting any of these steps will ultimately result in poor performance or system failure.

Poor placement of cameras can lead to gaps in coverage or lack of coverage in important areas, leaving your property vulnerable to unwanted intrusion or theft. It’s crucial to assess your property needs and strategize the ideal camera placement for maximum coverage.

Investing in low-quality cameras is another mistake that can compromise the purpose of your surveillance system. Poor image quality and low durability can prove to be futile in defending your property against intruders. Hence, it’s important to purchase high-quality, long-lasting cameras with the best possible image quality.

Inadequate lighting is another mistake that can hamper camera performance. Insufficient light can make it impossible to detect intruders or recognize their features, while overexposure and glare can render cameras useless. Proper and strategic lighting is necessary to get the most out of your surveillance system.

Neglecting maintenance is another mistake that can lead to system failure. Dead batteries or malfunctioning cameras can leave your system inoperable, while incomplete system checks can cause errors and faults to go unnoticed. Regular maintenance is necessary to ensure a smooth and continuous operation of your system.

Lastly, overlooking cybersecurity flaws can prove disastrous. Weak passwords, outdated software and firmware, and unsecured networks can make it easy for hackers to gain access to your surveillance system and breach your privacy. Ensuring that your system is equipped with the latest cybersecurity measures is critical.

In conclusion, avoiding common mistakes in installing a video surveillance system can result in a robust and reliable system capable of securing your property. Careful planning, proper installation, and regular maintenance are essential to maximizing your surveillance system’s performance. It’s also vital to pay attention to cybersecurity measures to prevent unauthorized access and breaches.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a video surveillance system?

A video surveillance system is a collection of cameras and equipment that work together to monitor and record activity in a specific area.

What are the benefits of having a video surveillance system?

Having a video surveillance system can deter crime, provide evidence in the event of a crime, increase security, and improve overall safety.

How can poor camera placement be a mistake?

If cameras are not placed strategically, there may be areas that are not covered or have gaps in coverage, making it easier for criminals to go undetected.

Why is image quality important for cameras?

High-quality images are important for identifying people or objects captured on camera. Poor image quality can make it difficult to see important details.

What happens if there is inadequate lighting in the surveillance area?

If there is insufficient light, the surveillance system may not capture clear images or footage, making it useless in the event of a crime.

Why is cybersecurity important for video surveillance systems?

If a video surveillance system is not secure, hackers can gain access to the system and use it for their own purposes, potentially compromising the safety and security of the area being monitored.

Can video surveillance systems be used in residential areas?

Yes, video surveillance systems are commonly used in residential areas for security and safety purposes.

How often should a video surveillance system be maintained?

A video surveillance system should be maintained and checked regularly to ensure that all cameras and equipment are functioning properly and the footage is being recorded correctly.

What kind of lighting is best for a video surveillance system?

Natural light or low-level lighting that does not create glare or overexposure is best for video surveillance systems.

Is it necessary to have a professional install a video surveillance system?

While it is possible for individuals to install their own video surveillance systems, it is often recommended to have a professional install the system to ensure it is placed correctly and functioning properly.