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Dallmeier HD cameras watch over Saint Nicholas

Published on 17 December, 2012
Basilica San Nicola Church
The relics of Saint Nicholas are held in the sacred care of the Basilica di San Nicola

Following their translation from Myra to Bari in 1087, the bones of Saint Nicholas were laid to rest in the former Benedictine church and entrusted to a detail of armed watchmen. Today, the task of guarding the precious remains of the patron saint of Bari has been taken up by the “electronic eyes” of Dallmeier’s HD cameras: the Papal Basilica di San Nicola, the Dominican monastery and the crypt housing the grave of Saint Nicholas all benefit from the protection of a modern, innovative video surveillance system produced by Dallmeier.

Throughout the history of the Church, the reverence associated with Saint Nicholas has been exceeded only by that afforded to the Virgin Mary herself. As a man of immense compassion, he was famed for his generosity to the poor and needy. In 1087, a band of some 60 seamen took possession of his remains and transported them from Myra to Bari. Here, their arrival on 9 May was greeted with an outpouring of indescribable public jubilation. Accordingly, Nicholas of Myra is sometimes also referred to as Nicholas of Bari, the city that watches over his earthly body to this day.

The seamen delivered the bones into the care of Elia, the abbot of the Benedictine monastery, who immediately gave orders for a church to be built to accommodate the saint’s earthly body. Even today, the majestic basilica consecrated to Saint Nicholas remains an extremely popular pilgrimage destination and bears ageless witness to the profound reverence in which believers hold this great man of God. The basilica itself is an imposing building that blends well with its historic surroundings in the Old City of Bari. Its massive, simple and austere construction is typical of Romanesque architecture.

State-of-the-art video technology to protect the precious relics

Security cameras
Dallmeier HD cameras guard the church

Since 1951 the upkeep of the renowned Basilica di San Nicola has been the task of the Dominican order (OrdoFratrum Praedicatorum), one of the most highly respected orders of the Church. The new rector, P. Lorenzo Lorusso O.P. saw that is was essential to equip the basilica and the grave of the saint from Myra with a powerful, modern HDTV security system. It is because of his commitment that a video system was installed at the same time as the renovation works that would allow unobstructed access to the crypt. In this way, he was able to satisfy the wishes of every devotee of the patron saint of Bari.

“The system that was installed for the Basilica di San Nicola is based entirely on the HD or HDTV standard”, explains Dr. Francesco Rana, who has overall responsibility for the security of the Comunità Nicolaiana in Bari: “From the development phase all the way through to implementation and final commissioning, the HD IP video monitoring system from Dallmeier, a globally active corporation, demonstrated outstanding performance and visual fidelity with its high-resolution cameras. In conjunction with the DMS 240 IPS HD recorder, exception quality has been achieved, worthy of the important and revered site it is designed to safeguard.”

P. Lorenzo Lorusso O.P., the current prior of the monastery and rector of the basilica, also expressed his personal appreciation of the very high quality of the images and the professionalism of the Dallmeier organisation. Dr. Pierpaolo Piracci of Dallmeier Italia and the local partner Delta System Technology provided extensive support in the selection of the technology most suitable for satisfying the security requirements for the basilica and the adjacent monastery. Naturally, the entire project was carried out with the most meticulous regard for the difficult and complex challenges associated with such a venerated site as the Basilica di San Nicola, in terms of both the design and implementation phases of the project.

Dr. Pierpaolo Piracci of Dallmeier Italia is completely satisfied with the successful installation of the HD video system and remarked: “I am deeply moved to have had the honour and joy of participating personally in the installation of security equipment in the Basilica di San Nicola; I would particularly like to express my thanks to the highly knowledgeable Dr. Rana, and to P. Lorenzo for entrusting me with this undertaking!”

High-resolution surveillance cameras with Cam_inPIX® technology

Video security technology and IT security are becoming more and more inextricably entwined. With its VideoIP products, Dallmeier offers full-coverage solutions, both for video surveillance (physical security) and for the integration of video technology in IT security.

Sophisticated, high-quality surveillance cameras represent the front-line element in a video surveillance system and should therefore be chosen with particular care. For each security concept, Dallmeier can provide the right model from its range of box, dome or PTZ cameras (analogue, IP or HD) or Panomera®.

“It was a tremendous challenge to equip such a venerated, culturally significant site, which holds treasures of immeasurable religious and historical value...''

For the outdoor areas of the Papal Basilica di San Nicola, such as the street Largo Abate Elia, the DF4910HD-DN/IR network box camera was selected from the extensive range of HD cameras: The DF4910HD-DN/IR is a weather-proof 3-megapixel High-Definition IP network box camera with Dallmeier Cam_inPIX® technology and integrated IR (infrared) illumination.

The camera features automatic Day/Night operation supported by integrated ambient light sensing, a removable IR cut filter (ICR) and an integrated homogeneous IR illumination provided by semi-covert 850 nm high power LEDs.The fast (large maximum aperture) and motor-driven megapixel varifocal lens (F1.0 / 2.8 – 11 mm) which allows to adjust the focal length and the focus conveniently via web browser as well as the function Digital Image Shift which provides a subsequent digital fine alignment of the image section ensure a convenient and straightforward installation process. Built into an IP66-rated weather-proof enclosure, the camera is designed both for indoor and for outdoor applications. The camera is operated via Power over Ethernet (PoE Class 0, IEEE 802.3af) which allows for an easy, quick and cost-effective installation.

For the interior Papal Basilica di San Nicola, the area between the transepts, in the apse and in the crypt where Saint Nicholas is buried, the DF4910HD and DF4510HD HD cameras were used. The DF4910HD is a 5-megapixel High-Definition IP network box camera, which like the IR camera is based on proven Cam_inPIX® technology. The camera provides real-time Full HD video (1080p/30) using the H.264 codec that is currently the most sophisticated standard for high-efficiency video compression. Besides a comprehensive set of automatic and manual image optimization functions, the camera features many other setting options, especially useful for demanding surveillance applications. According to requirements, the camera can be supplied conventionally with 12V DC or conveniently operated via Power over Ethernet (PoE Class 0, IEEE 802.3af).

Aesthetic discretion and uncompromising functionality

Andrea Bigliardi, Managing Director of Dallmeier Italia, says: “It was a tremendous challenge to equip such a venerated, culturally significant site, which holds treasures of immeasurable religious and historical value, with a modern video surveillance system that would combine the requisite aesthetic discretion with outstanding functional capabilities. We are very happy with the result we have achieved, and I wish to thank P. Lorenzo Lorusso O.P. for the confidence he placed in us, and Dr. Francesco Rana for his invaluable expertise in designing and coordinating this project.”

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