Guest Column | February 19, 2014

IP Cameras 101: WDR And Why It's Important

Axis Train Tunnel WDR Camera

By James Marcella, Director, Technical Services, Axis Communications

What you don’t know can’t hurt you. It’s a common expression that abdicates responsibility for discovering the truth, from one party to another.  For example:  

James: I like your new car. Where did you get the money for that?
Domenic:  What you don’t know can’t hurt you. 

Is it possible to ascribe the same meaning of this idiom to electronics? Can we mitigate risk by burying our heads in the sand using outdated technology?  With regard to video surveillance, the answer to these questions, respectively, is “Yes” and “No.”  

Wide dynamic range (WDR) is a technology pioneered in the mid-1800s by a photographer who wanted to take a picture of the ocean’s horizon. To accurately display the bright sky and the darker water he took two pictures at different shutter speeds — meaning the amount of time a camera’s sensor is exposed to light. Then he combined the two different negatives into one picture. The result was what we term WDR and is a decades-old technology in surveillance cameras. 

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