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Body Cameras - Everything You Need To Know

  • Why wear a Body Camera?
  • What features do body cameras have?
  • How to choose the correct Body Camera for you?
  • How do Body worn cameras actually work?

These are some of the questions we will be helping you find the answers for to make sure you find the correct solution.

Hytera VM685 CameraPinnacle PR Body Camera - Radio-Shop UKHytera VM550 Body CameraPinnacle PR6 Body Camera - Radio-Shop UK

Price of Body Cameras

Some customers are shocked by the huge difference of price for body worn cameras. You can pay anything from £50 to £700. This is mainly due to low quality items being manufactured in China and sold around the world.

Lets be under no illusion the majority of electronic equipment is made in China but it is like anywhere you need to find the good manaufacturers that support their products and built high quality items.

What we have found is security and government agencies like the Police and Military invest in reliable camera solutions. So many people get obssessed with price and cost instead of the main points does it deliver and is it fit for purpose.

We are trying to ensure you dont fall into the world of false economies like so many businesses do.

You can buy a cheap body camera but I will gurantee you it will let you down when you need it most. The most common fault is corrupt data files or the device not recording at all.

So many times you see a flashing lights but it doesnt record, or the file is corrupted when you try to look at the footage or the body worn camera has so many buttons on it the end user struggles to find the button when they need it the most.

We will be highlighting body cameras which are reliable, easy to use, easy to install, come with secure storage and can be used as evidence in the event of a incident.

So Why wear a Body Camera?

Body cameras are mainly worn by security personnel or people who operate in confrontational jobs. It acts both as a deterrent and recording device. The cameras can improve safety, confidence and accountability during event operation.

The Benefits of Using Body Cameras: 

  • A reduction in number of complaints and allegations made about staff
  • A reduction in the number of assaults and incidents by acting as a deterrent
  • A Source of evidence to prosecute
  • Ability to have video recordings in areas where no CCTV is present
  • Reduction in reporting time as it provides accurate account of events
  • A method to improve staff training by reviewing previous incidents
  • Protect staff in lone worker situations and increase safety and increase confidence. 

When Purchasing Body Cameras there are several things you should look for:

Picture Quality

People seem to think the more the Mega Pixels (MP) the better the camera. There is one major thing to remember when purchasing body cameras you can have 20MP camera but you still have to get the footage off the device, the more the MP's the larger the data file, the larger the transfer time to get the footage on your computer, the more chance the file will corrupt. Also the more space the recording takes up on the storage card.

You need to find balance between good picture and good file size. Cameras with displays on normally let you adjust the video quality. Remember if the picture quality is too poor you wont be able to use it as evidence.

Recording Function

There are 3 main recording functions you will find on body cameras

Button/Slide Operated - the end user pushes a button to start recording and then they push a button to stop recording.

Behind the scenes the cameras will store the footage in mini files preconfigured by time slots 5, 10 or 15 mins or continuous. Be warned if you do have this feature do not select continous file - The camera creates one large file there is more risk of it being corrupted and losing all the footage.

Loop Recording - The camera will record in a timed loop, once the time is reached it will record over it. If the user pushes the record button it will start recording place the footage from the loop at the beginning of the file. Example a incidient happens in the work place and you press record you now have the build up to that incident.

Motion detection - Normally activated by a sudden change in light in the camera lens. The camera will then record for a set period predetermined by you. Works well on vehicle cameras but useless on a body camera as  you are always moving.

Battery Recording Time

The recording time is the actual time the camera will record before the battery dies. it all depends on your needs. Ask yourself the following questions:

Are we just recording incidents? or do we need to record everything?

This will help you pick the correct prooduct.

Also look at the standby time. This is the time the device remain on where it can operate quickly and go into record mode before the battery turns off.

Visual Display

With Screen - You have instant access to the recordings and settings, you can playback footage and configure the device out on the ground. This is where the cheap cameras on the market crumble. Software and Firmware issues lead to the device crashing or the battery life being dramatically reduced as you powering a screen as well.

You can also clear the SD card and footage normally from the menu option. What we found is the cameras could be misused and the end users could delete footage if they knew they were at fault. It depends on if the camera is used for personnel or business use and your needs.

If you are purchasing a camera with a screen also make sure the the device is robust and the screen is not going to break easy or let the elements (water and dust) into the camera easy as it will damage it.

Without Screen - You are unable to see the footage which often results in the camera being misplaced, security personnel place it on their jackets a incident occurs and they go to look at the footage and Oh No the camera was pointed at the floor.

Lens

Following on from the last segment this is why wide angled lens are important in purchasing body cameras it offers a greater redundancy when recording the actual incident.

Consider where you work and what you need to cover in the footage.

Night Vision

Do you operate in low light situations? if so you may want to consider a cameras that has low light capabilities or infrared lights.

I have actually known of a certain police unit who doesnt want to use high power infrared lights and they prefer the footage to represent the users vision. For instance you go into a building and its dark and someone attacks the user. On a night vision camera you may see everything and the culpret hiding in the corner and then accussed defending themselves but what you dont get is a appreciation of the actual incident and the response time from the victim. 

The flip side of that comment is it is better to see everything than nothing at all

It comes down to what you trying to do and achieve for your business.

Secure Storage

Removable SD Card - It allows the user to expand the storage capacity of the camera, you can also remove the sd and swap it with another giving you extra time to transfer the data later on and freeing up the radio. Remember if you have multiple cameras it can be very time consuming taking the data over the camera which means that camera is unuseable unless you just want to record over the footage.

Secure SD Card - The SD card is mounted on the board of the body camera. This means it cannot be removed and tampered with. Great for incident managemnet and evidence gathering for businesses. However like apple normally you cant add additional storage. So the manufacturer normally sells different capacity body cameras offer longer recording times. All depends on the demands of the end user and what they actually have to record.

If you just record incidents and take footage off daily 16GB will be more than enough. If you work for a government agency and have to record all the shift you may run out space on the SD card, so consider reducing the video quality or purchasing a larger capacity from the start. 

IP Rating & Build Quality

The Ingress Protection (IP) Rating highlights the devices protection against the elements dust and water. The higher the rating the more protected the device. If you are looking for a waterproof camera you need a camera IP66 or above. For general protection IP54 or above the same as standard radios are. They can take a bit of water and get dirty but you cant throw them in a bucket of water unlike the IP66

Check to see how robust and rugged the body camera is by checking if it has any military build standards and if it passes any drop tests. Remember you want to purchase a camera that lasts.

Charging & Batteries

Charging Time

Most users charge their body camera when they finish work or when the premises closes so it is normally a issue. However if you business operates 24/7 please take note of the charging time as that camera in not able to operate if it is flat and you need a full charge to get a good operational time.

So now starting thinking about I have to charge it for 4 hours and I have to take it offline also to get the data off the device so thats additional hours I unable to use the camera.

Battery Access to the Camera

So your camera may take a while to charge can you swap the battery out? Can you charge the battery outside the device giving you more operational time with the camera.

Multi Chargers

Do you have more than one camera? Does you business have mulitple body cameras? If it does you need to purchase cameras which have multi chargers options. A multi charger enables you to charge several cameras at the same time using one device. Just think if you have 10 cameras well thats 10 plug sockets you need to charger the cameras if you dont have a multi charger. Also think thats 10 cameras you have to download footage from.

Data Transfer and Collection

High Quality camera manufacturers have multi chargers that connect to dispatch systems and software so they can download the footage whilst the device charges saving you vast amounts of time. 

Dont underestimate this feature it saves you hours each day, which means days each year. Not to mention the cost to pay personnel to connect body cameras invidiually and transfer the data manually.

It is definitely worth investing in mulithcargers, if you are a business owner.

The two main manufacturers of reliable cameras are Hytera and Pinnacle.

 

Hytera is the fatest growing manufacturer of two radio communications in the world and have out sold Motorola for the last two years in the UK. They are financially backed and spend millions in research and development. The distributor chain has been kept small to ensure their product is well represented and most importantly supported.

They sell two Body Born Cameras or the new term Video Speaker Microphone. So why have they called it that? did I forget to mention you can connect the device to your radio......thats right. They have looked a gap in the market and in the industry.

Body Camera

There are two main products which are purchased in the security industry:

 - Two Way Radios / Walkie-Talkies

 - Body Worn Cameras

 

Both of Hytera's Body cameras (VM550 & VM685) have a easy to locate Push To Talk (PTT) button which enables you to speak through the unit that connects to your radio via Bluetooth(if you radio has that feature) or via a wire turning the device into a Remote Speaker Microphone.

Hytera VM685 Body Camera with Rotating Camera and Display

Hytera VM685 Camera

The Hytera VM685 is not just a Body Camera it enables the end user to communicate via bluetooth or wire to their Hytera radio and use the device as a Remote Speaker Microphone. The clear orange Push To Talk (PTT) button offers instant communications to all staff in the event of a incident. 

The Hytera VM685 makes a perfect Lone Worker solution and also has a camera that rotates for easy adjustment and with its wide angled lens it ensure you dont miss the action.

The camera also has a colour display screen which allows you instant playback and enables you access to the menu on the move so you can adjust as necessary.

The Hytera VM685 has a 8 hour battery life during operation and 250 hour standby life thanks to its 2500mAh Battery. The battery is also removable enabling you change quickly if necessary increasing its operational time.

Hytera’s Remote Video Speaker Microphone (RVM) is designed to capture, store and share media including audio, image and video evidence taken from the field.

The body-worn camera with remote speaker phone allows users to make and receive voice communications, initiate an emergency alarm, and deliver real-time video to a control centre over the LTE network, even in low-light conditions; when paired with the Hytera Multi-mode Advanced Radio.

The Hytera VM docks into a specifcally designed Multi-Unit Charger that automatically exports audio, video, images and log files to the Digital Evidence Management (DEM) platform. This feature ensures content captured remains tamper-proof and is securely transferred to the control centre.

The Hytera RVM has a tamper proof built in storage facility ensuring the card cannot be removed from the device adding additional security.

 

Hytera Body Worn Camera and Remote Speaker Microphone

- Picture Quality: 16MP Camera

- Battery Recording Time: 8 Hours working / 250 hours standby

- Visual Display: Yes, Colour

- Lens: 140 Degrees Wide Angled Lens

- Night Vision: Infrared Lights

- Secure Storage: 16GB Built in Storage (Larger Sizes Available)

- IP Rating: IP67 & Military Standard: 810 G

- Charging: Single & Multi Chargers Available

- Batteries: 2500mAh Battery which can be removed and swapped very easily.

- Data Transfer: 

 

 

Features

  • 180 rotatable & 140 wide-angle lens
  • 16-megapixel image sensor
  • 1080p recording at 60 frames/sec
  • Six infrared LED
  • Ergonomic PTT button
  • Playback button
  • Emergancy call button
  • Channel change button
  • One-touch operation for capture video/voice recording
  • Wired accessory connection
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Real-time video send-back solution
  • Mission-critical build quality - MIL-STD-810G / IP67
  • 2 watt speaker
  • Lightweight design - 170g (including battery)
  • Removable 2500mAh battery
  • 8 hour battery life (working) / 250 hour battery life (standby)

 

Basic Package includes

  • RVSM 1pc
  • USB cable
  • Clip (rotatable, length-adjustable)
  • User Manual

Hytera VM685 Specification Sheet

Hytera VM685 Manual

 

Hytera VM550 Body Camera & Remote Speaker Microphone

Hytera VM550 Body Camera

The Hytera VM550 is not just a Body Camera it enables the end user to communicate via bluetooth or wire to their Hytera radio and use the device as a Remote Speaker Microphone. The clear orange Push To Talk (PTT) button offers instant communications to all staff in the event of a incident.

The Hytera VM550 makes a perfect Lone Worker solution. The camera is supplied with a rotatable clip that can be easily fixed to your clothing.

The Two Buttons on the Front (P1 & P2) can be programmed to work with your radios to send Text Messages to other Hytera Radio Users.

Hytera’s Remote Video Speaker Microphone (RVM) is designed to capture, store and share media including audio, image and video evidence taken from the field.

The VM550 is a compact, robust and cost effective remote video microphone which is available in 4 different sizes ranging from 16gb to 128gb.

The Hytera VM has a tamper proof built in storage facility ensuring the card cannot be removed from the device adding additional security.

Features

  • Dimensions (H*W*D): 86.5mm*58mm*25.7mm
  • Weight: 145g(including battery)
  • Camera Lens: Fixed focus, all glass, diagonal 139°, horizontal 116°, vertical 60°
  • Battery Life(Continuous Video Shooting): 7 hours
  • Battery Capacity: 2500mAh
  • Charging Time: 4 hours
  • Display Dimensions: 0.9-inch
  • Display Resolution: 129*32
  • Internal Memory16GB(standard configuration); 32 GB/64 GB/128 GB(optional)
  • Video Format: mp4
  • Speaker Power: 2 Watt(rated)
  • System Compatibility: WIN XP/7/8/10
  • Radio Compatibility: Hytera radios
  • Power Adapter Input: AC 110V~240V, 50Hz~60Hz
  • Power Adapter Output: DC5V, 1A

Basic Package includes

  • RVSM 1pc
  • USB cable
  • Clip (rotatable, length-adjustable)
  • User Manual

Hytera VM550 Specification Sheet

Hytera VM550 Manual

Pinnacle

Pinnacle cameras head office is based in Belfast and they offer great support. They have been supplying large quantities of cameras to the security industry and government agencies for years.

Their sell two main products the PR5 and the PR6

Pinnacle PR5 Body Camera

Pinnacle PR Body Camera - Radio-Shop UK
The PR5 is a market leading body worn video camera, designed and developed in-house by a team of dedicated technicians and engineers. Robust, reliable and extremely user friendly, the PR5 is the perfect fit for private security users where quality of video and audio is of key importance.

The PR5 combines incredible HD video and audio quality with a market leading record time of over 5 hours and standby time of 12 months. Essentially a ‘plug and play’ body worn camera, the PR5 allows users to record and review footage quickly and easily whilst availing of cutting edge technology.

Simple Design – one touch activation makes the PR5 the easiest to use body worn video cameras in the world.

Pinnacle PR6 Body Camera

Pinnacle PR6 Body Camera - Radio-Shop UK

The PR6 body camera offers the same intuitive ease of use and best in class functionality as the PR5 combined with significant security upgrades. Boasting a range of audio and video upgrades alongside secure encryption, enhanced functionality and secure data transfer via wireless or ultra fast USB 3.0 upload, the PR6 is setting new standards for Police Authorities across Europe and the wider Professional Security Sector around the world.

The PR6 and integrated D.E.M.S software (included in the price) offers a formidable body worn video solution whatever the demands of the organisation. With enhanced ‘true’ 1080p definition, the HD audio and video capture is vastly superior to all other cameras on the market. Unique pause frame video technology must be seen to be believed and is crucial for accurate facial recognition evidence.

Radio Shop UK Logo

Our Experience

The Director of Radio Shop UK has worked in the Private Security Industry for over 10 years and before that the Military. The Directors main job was to install reliable communication and security system in the harshest of environments.

This envolved providing video and voice solutions to Personnel, Vehicles, Aircraft and Infrastructure.

After years of working with a huge range of equipment and sifting through reliable and unreliable products he decided when he created Radio Shop UK it only sell reliable products that are built well and which we can offer full support.

"It is not about shifting boxes it's about providing security solutions that work"  SQ, Director, Radio-Shop UK