Security Camera Recordings : Why the Crappy Quality?

The security camera footage of the recent airport security breach in New Jersey was released recently, and the footage is typical of most security cameras: grainy, jumpy, and too dark. My question is: why is this type of footage always of such crappy quality? Are there not security cameras that can film in fabulous quality? If storage is an issue, why can’t the airport have a room full of hard drives capable of storing a gazillion petabytes? The sames goes for banks, malls, parking lots, etc, etc.

I find this hard to understand when audio/video technology has come such a long way.


Everything in business is done as a cost-benefit decision.

Sure, higher quality security cameras are available, but the budget may only allow for a certain degree of quality. Why invest another penny when the odds of needing the better system are so low? It’s a waste of money if you’re in the majority who won’t need it and and you will never have spent enough if you’re in the minority that will, but since no one can actually percieve the future - we make statistically backed gambles.

Until very recently a room with petabytes of storage was very very expensive. You might start seeing newer camera installations with better pictures but i doubt you will see people ripping out old systems to put in new better resolution systems.

Interesting. In my naivete, I presumed that this type of high-quality technology would’ve come down a lot in price.

But as for airports, the government [including Canada’s gov’t, where I’m from] is spending millions now on these full-body scanners. If security is such a priority, as it should be, why aren’t the security cameras of equally pristine quality, especially with security budgets bursting at the seams?

There was a long thread on this topic maybe a month or two ago - you’d do well to search for it.

The consensus was that you had a lot of quality compromises in order to make the systems cost-effective, which includes keeping some really old equipment in place and skimping in other ways like allowing VHS tapes to be re-recorded on so much that the emulsion breaks down.

The thread that dracoi speaks of.