One night, not too long ago, a suspicious car drove into a remote corner of a West Coast petroleum processing facility and parked. Under normal circumstances, this situation is cause for concern warranting immediate attention. Fortunately, the superior low-light capabilities of the facility’s recently installed VB-C60 PTZ (pan/tilt/zoom) Network Cameras from Canon, a leader in digital imaging, revealed the presence of the vehicle and alerted security personnel.

“In pretty much no light – no street lamps or other lighting around – you could see the suspects come in and you could make out their silhouettes moving around,” explained Leslie Corriea, President of Pacific Beach Tower, Inc. who designed and installed the facility’s video security system. “The fact that these cameras perform very well in low-light environments is key, as that information can be critical in making positive identifications.”

Corriea solved the challenge of monitoring the petroleum processing facility’s many acres of pipelines, storage tanks, equipment sheds, railways, and gantries by strategically placing Canon VB-C60 PTZ Network Cameras to stand watch 24/7 over the facility’s sensitive, hard-to-see areas.

“I have these cameras set up to record on Motion Detection, and that’s how I always set them up, as it saves a lot of drive space,” noted Corriea. “With the pre-record set-up, you can get three, five, or even 10 seconds of pre-record. The VB-C60’s robust software gives you some buffer so you can record prior to the event.”

Using the Motion Detection and Auto Tracking feature enables users to designate up to four motion-detection areas, each with varying levels of sensitivity. The Canon VB-C60 Network Cameras automatically pan and tilt to follow the subject’s movement following a motion event (a change in pixels). Although not used in this particular application, pre-recorded audio also can be set to playback on cue.

Advanced Optics

As a worldwide leader in optics and imaging technologies, Canon leveraged its lens-making know-how to offer an industry-leading 40x optical zoom lens on the VB-C60 PTZ Network Cameras. “The cameras have a great focal range and they rack well,” Corriea said of the VB-C60. “The Auto Focus and all of the features that work in conjunction with that 40x Canon zoom lens work really well. It cleanly and quickly conforms to resolution once you zoom in or zoom out.”

The VB-C60 PTZ Network Camera also features Canon Image Stabilization to keep images steady in mounting locations prone to vibration and shaking such as towers, poles, or next to rail tracks and high vehicle-traffic areas.

During the day, the facility’s Canon VB-C60 PTZ Network Cameras are monitored from a remote location to keep watch over all activity around the facility and ensure that workers and contractors safely comply with all regulations. To keep images consistently looking sharp, an important benefit these cameras offer is Smart Shade Control, a Canon feature that automatically adjusts contrast for heavily backlit subjects.

“We had an incident just the other day,” noted Corriea. “One of the Canon VB-C60 PTZ Network Cameras actually captured someone breaking one of the rules on video. I happened to be in the office as the client was calling the plant manager responsible for that person to notify them of their error.”

Powerful Video Processor

Corriea has configured the petroleum processing facility’s video security system to transmit images captured by the on-site Canon VB-C60 PTZ Network Cameras wirelessly to a network video recorder (NVR). Images can be transmitted in both high-quality VGA-size [640 x 480] MPEG-4 and M-JPEG formats at a full 30 fps simultaneously without loss of frame rate. The secret to simultaneous output in two different formats is Canon’s proprietary DIGIC NET processor. This powerful hardware-based compression engine performs all encoding, encryption, and transmission while also enabling it to simultaneously distribute M-JPEG video in three sizes.

“The DIGIC NET processor on the VB-C60’s is very impressive,” noted Corriea. “Canon has taken a big step by producing their own processor and it shows in the cameras’ high image quality and impressive processing power.”

Powering Up

Canon’s VB-C60 PTZ Network Cameras can be powered with Power over Ethernet (PoE) (enabling wiring with Cat-5 cable) or DC. “In this case, we ran independent A-plus and A-minus lines so the cameras are on a totally uninterruptible power system and tied to the grid,” said Corriea. “This same power system can be tied directly to solar so I could run it off that easily enough as well.” Corriea’s company also specializes in solar-power installations.

“The biggest consideration when marrying solar with a camera and a wireless system is how efficient the products are,” continued Corriea. “Even when you are actively running all of the servos on the VB-C60’s pan, tilt, and zoom it’s only pulling about 6000 milliwatts, which is pretty solid.”

Safe, Secure and Happy

Corriea and his petroleum facility client are pleased with the high-quality results of their new Canon VB-C60 PTZ Network Cameras video-surveillance system and what he describes as “live-looking” images.

“Clients want to see real live-looking video, not all choppy-looking,” Corriea noted. “Canon’s got some of the best lenses around, that’s one of the reasons why I tried them. The images look really outstanding. Even when the NVR requires me to have the settings adjusted down, it still looks good. I will definitely deploy Canon security cameras again.”

About Canon U.S.A., Inc.

Canon U.S.A., Inc., is a leading provider of consumer, business-to-business, and industrial digital imaging solutions. Its parent company, Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ), a top patent holder of technology, ranked fourth overall in the U.S. in 2009†, with global revenues of US $35 billion, is listed as number six in the computer industry on Fortune Magazine's World’s Most Admired Companies 2010 list, and is on the 2009 BusinessWeek list of "100 Best Global Brands." Canon U.S.A. is committed to the highest levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty, providing 100 percent U.S.-based consumer service and support for all of the products it distributes. At Canon, we care because caring is essential to living together in harmony. Founded upon a corporate philosophy of Kyosei – "all people, regardless of race, religion or culture, harmoniously living and working together into the future" – Canon U.S.A. supports a number of social, youth, educational and other programs, including environmental and recycling initiatives. Additional information about these programs can be found at To keep apprised of the latest news from Canon U.S.A., sign up for the Company's RSS news feed by visiting

†Based on weekly patent counts issued by United States Patent and Trademark Office.

About Pacific Beach Tower, Inc.

A California Corporation, Pacific Beach Tower, Inc. offers over 40 years of combined engineering and technology experience. Pacific Beach Tower, Inc. provides turn-key wireless, data, surveillance, access control, solar, and blended technology solutions for remote areas. Powered by the sun or grid-tied with UPS. Find out more at