National Portrait Gallery expands Dallmeier video system

national portrait gallery

The Dallmeier video security system at London’s National Portrait Gallery has been modernised and expanded to improve surveillance and guarantee continued security.

Founded in 1856, the aim of the National Portrait Gallery in London is “to promote through the medium of portraits the appreciation and understanding of the men and women who have made and are making British history and culture, as well as the understanding of portraiture in all media”.

The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. The collection is displayed in London and in a number of locations around the United Kingdom, including several houses managed by the National Trust. Like other national museums, the Gallery is supported both by government and increasingly by a large number of individuals, companies and foundations, as well as by the receipts from shops, events and ticketed exhibitions.

One of the most successful events in the history of the gallery was held last year, in honour of Lucian Freud (1922-2011). The Lucian Freud Portraits exhibition consisted of 130 portraits painted by the great man, borrowed from museums and private collections all over the world. Over three months, it attracted a record 248,000 visitors. But before the exhibition could be opened to such acclaim, the existing video system had to be expanded and modernised.

Latest IP HD technology

The system has consisted of Dallmeier surveillance cameras and recorders for many years. Now, however, the security concept was to be expanded to encompass other areas such as the shop, entrances and lifts. Some of the existing analogue cameras were also replaced with high-resolution HD network cameras. The main objective was to improve the surveillance data available both during the Lucian Freud Portraits exhibition and main entrance points.

national portrait gallery-2Roger Noakes, account director with the NPG security contractor OCS, was involved from day one of the exhibition planning, and worked closely with Adrian Jackson, Head of Visitor services and Security at the National Portrait Gallery. A trial and test of Dallmeier IP/HD cameras in the shop area was enough to demonstrate the superior capabilities of the Dallmeier HD technology, and plans were put in place to commence with the CCTV system upgrade. Right from the beginning, everyone involved in the project was aware that there was a very tight deadline of project execution: The engineers from OCS and the IT department from the gallery would only be allowed in the exhibition areas outside of gallery opening hours and had only three days to complete all works.

Taking other factors into this scenario such as re-working the IT infrastructure and cameras blending in aesthetically with the galleries, it was a great achievement when the project was turned around on time.

One element that proved to be a significant advantage – and particularly in financial terms – was the flexibility of the recording equipment, the Dallmeier recorders already installed did not have to be replaced. They could be prepared for the HD cameras quickly and easily with a simple upgrade. This meant that the existing analogue cameras and new IP cameras could be operated in a single system without difficulty.

High-resolution images

Adrian Jackson and his team initially chose Dallmeier as their CCTV product manufacturer because of the company’s outstanding reputation with regard to reliability and performance of the products, future proofing of emerging CCTV technology and integration with other electronic security products.

And Adrian Jackson is satisfied after the upgrade as well: ”I am very happy with the quality of the Dallmeier CCTV cameras that were installed for our Lucian Freud Portraits exhibition last year. A lot of thought had gone into the choice of camera in discussion with OCS, prior to the project getting underway. One of the most rewarding elements of the project as a whole was the acceptance by the wider Gallery team that we had installed a quality product that provided very clear imagery and camera resolution of the areas covered throughout the Gallery, which greatly benefited the profile of the Security team here at the National Portrait Gallery.”


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