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surveillance platforms

Joined
Aug 7, 2009
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183
#1
Hi,

I have been thinking about upgrading my surveillance platform (van). However with the detail of surveillance books which are now out (that is not designed to be a negative at such publications) , I am debating if surveillance vans with tinted rear windows now draw the eye a bit too much.

I am aware of various hides which are used both in the commercial and government vehicles. The issue I am having is the room provided by shooting out of the rear windows allows for very good HD recording equipment to be used.

If you take away that available space you are severely limited in regards to resolution. I am also familiar with non van based platforms which can be inserted local to the subject, but again I prefer to have a manned situation on jobs I conduct.

Comments would be appreciated.

Best regards,

TC
 

isstraining

Security Directors
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#2
TrackClarity,

Count the next 30 vans you see. Note how many use any type of window tint and what type. The majority should give you an idea on balance.

Whenever we can, shoot through the front or sides, that way the tint isn't directed towards your target unless really necessary....

Pete @ ISS
 
Joined
Aug 7, 2009
Messages
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183
#3
TrackClarity,

Count the next 30 vans you see. Note how many use any type of window tint and what type. The majority should give you an idea on balance.

Whenever we can, shoot through the front or sides, that way the tint isn't directed towards your target unless really necessary....

Pete @ ISS
Thank you for your reply,

I understand your point about the number of vans which use window tints, however even with the tinted windows not directed at the subject I think it may now draw the eye to much considering the available information and photos in regards to surveillance platforms in various publications.

I take it your opinion for commercial surveillance a van with tinted windows is perfectly OK ?

cheers,

TC
 

jaseh001

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#4
What sort of tint? I have seen on the road plenty of vans that have a specific type of tint because they have windows in the back. I think its when you have a van that wouldn't normally have a window or tint and someone is clued up that you may arouse suspiciouson. Is your van really that suspicioous? I recall a few years back the PSNI putting a speed camera in a beaten up F-reg transit van. I think they even put a few extra dents in it for effect. Who would've thought it a Brit plate vehicle a Police vehicle!!
 

Visioneer

Super Moderator
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#5
Vans are great, BUT...nowadays, pretty much all 'professional' fits are 'clean' cars, for 'unmanned' operation. Window tints are a 'no, no', 'cos the 1st thing anybody wonders, is what's on the other side of 'em ! And the last thing you want is somebody getting up close and trying to peer thru the bloody window to see whats inside, ie: YOU, with a ferkin great camera and lens.

Most (all ?), are based around either analogue or IPCCTV hardware, which is fine for relatively 'close in' use, it's only drawback being if you need to use longer focal length lenses. (Most of the cameras will only give you optical zoom out to approx 136mm.)
Digital zoom can improve that a LOT, but compromises resolution and low light performance.

I LOVED my old vans, and there's nothing like knowing you've got the 'sexiest toy' on the block, or the supermarket carpark, with screens, DVR, and all the toys, BUT in todays world, they're an expensive anachronism for private use, if you get 'burned', they're hellishly expensive to replace / refit, and in the 'wrong' environment, they stand out like a sore thumb !

If you think you REALLY need to use a van, ie: you want to use bigger lenses etc, have a word with one of the specialist builders (ie: US!), and discuss the options.
 

isstraining

Security Directors
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#6
I beg to disagree with some comments..

Window tint - count how many vans you see with it - there are more out there than without..

'Unmanned'? Who is going to call a standby, give a clear direction and a description of the target? Unless the resolution and clarity of your monitoring screen is the dogs whatsits you wont be able to give this info. You'll end up sending a car to to a 'drivepast' and thus exposing one of your team and the thing has not even started yet..

If it's technical, it will go wrong when you need it most, or the operator is at fault not knowing the kit....

If someone can peer through the tint and see you - you have not kitted up the vehicle correctly..

A van does not have to be all whistles and bells. Low and unobtrusive, you have to see out, no one can see in, it has to be comfortable for long periods. CamCorder in your hand, radio nearby, nothing is simpler and more effective..

Peter @ ISS
Been in vans for 20 years and not behind the times either
 

davew877

New Member
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Apr 28, 2008
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#7
I have to agree with ISS on this. We use a van, tinted windows on a regular basis. It is kitted out with the basics, by myself, and has not been compromised in either a rural or urban setting.

It is all about the 'visual' cover story, looking like you belong there, get that right and you can sit anywhere.
 

Visioneer

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#8
I have to agree with ISS on this. We use a van, tinted windows on a regular basis. It is kitted out with the basics, by myself, and has not been compromised in either a rural or urban setting.

It is all about the 'visual' cover story, looking like you belong there, get that right and you can sit anywhere.
Best of both worlds ! 'Old' style, Land Rover Discovery Van, Isuzu 'Duty', or similar, either of 'em can be smothered in enough aftermarket accessories, bullbars, roof racks, even antenneas, etc to hide a bloody TV Outside Broadcast Unit, 'Highways Maintenance' sticker on its arse (I never even got so much as a parking ticket !)

I'll agree with the points on technical reliability and the ability of the operator to assess the situation 'live' and make adjustments, to some extent, but with decent kit, recording multiple cameras simultaneously, it MAY not be necessary to make local adjustments, and it beats putting an operator at risk 'on the front line'.

Of course...you can up the budget, and get 'live' remote transmission and telemetry control......:)

...or, if you're a tightarse, spot monitoring via 3g/gprs, some control, but subject to local network quality / availability, and losing the bloody videostream when a zillion schoolkids start sending mms in breaktime....:(
 

Visioneer

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#9
....while I think of it !

As an alternative to the window tints, check out the 'dot matrix' type laminates used for advertising logos / vehicle wraps.

Neat, fast, and relatively inexpensive way to give vehicle new identity.
 

Heno

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#10
Best of both worlds ! 'Old' style, Land Rover Discovery Van, Isuzu 'Duty', or similar, either of 'em can be smothered in enough aftermarket accessories, bullbars, roof racks, even antenneas, etc to hide a bloody TV Outside Broadcast Unit, 'Highways Maintenance' sticker on its arse (I never even got so much as a parking ticket !)

I'll agree with the points on technical reliability and the ability of the operator to assess the situation 'live' and make adjustments, to some extent, but with decent kit, recording multiple cameras simultaneously, it MAY not be necessary to make local adjustments, and it beats putting an operator at risk 'on the front line'.

Of course...you can up the budget, and get 'live' remote transmission and telemetry control......:)



...or, if you're a tightarse, spot monitoring via 3g/gprs, some control, but subject to local network quality / availability, and losing the bloody videostream when a zillion schoolkids start sending mms in breaktime....:(
...and none of it comparable to the MK1 eyeball.

also smothering a vehicle with after market accessories makes the vehicle stand out a bit.

Keep it simple!

Heno
 

Visioneer

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#11
...and none of it comparable to the MK1 eyeball.

also smothering a vehicle with after market accessories makes the vehicle stand out a bit.

Keep it simple!

Heno

awww Heno !



Think of all those LR Discos you've seen with all the aftermarket offroad goodies on !

They're absolutely everywhere, council estates to stately homes, scrub 'em up, and they're acceptable in any Hotel / Club car park.....

I'll agree abouth the Mk1 eyeball tho', just that I'd rather have mine on the other end of a video link, it's a ferkin sight harder to hit me ! :)
 

eyespy3rdeye

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#12
best tint to use in your platform?plus being legal???

what would be the best colour tint to use in a car and also being legal??
 

Visioneer

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#13
As light as possible !

a) The seriously dark dark stuff makes you look like a dealer, or pimp.

b) You'll get pulled pdq and get told to change it ! (and maybe a fine.)

If you REALLY have to do it, go to a professional fitter, and they'll advise.

With a bit of imagination, and cash, there's much better solutions.
 
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