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Author Topic: cameras  (Read 4614 times)


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Re: cameras
« Reply #25 on: June 05, 2016, 10:25:28 pm »
You'd kind of have to see it in action.  It's hard to articulate without visuals.

Synology is a NAS (network attached storage) vendor.  Their device OS though has app plug-ins that you add as needed.  Sort of like apps on your phone; it's a phone, but it can do a lot of other stuff too.  One of the Synology apps is called Surveillance Station, which is a full-featured surveillance application, as one might guess.

The Synology NAS with Surveillance Station is just a piece though.  It controls the cameras and stores the video stream.  Synology doesn't make cameras (to my knowledge).  So from there you add compatible IP cameras.  I use Dahua, but there are many brands that are compatible.  Check the link I posted above for a list.

You also need an ethernet switch.  Any inexpensive switch will do.  If going with PoE though it needs to either be a PoE switch, or you need an inexpensive power injector.  I recommend just doing the PoE integrated switch.  Less crap to deal with.

I should apologize though as it occurs to me that I might have misled you.  My solution is a piece by piece solution rather than an off-the-shelf complete boxed kit.  In my opinion building it out yourself with pieces you choose is a far superior way to go.  A few years ago I was exactly where you're at with this right now.  My legwork landed me here.  After personally seeing the off-the-shelf kit, I sent it back the same day and chose to build my own.
That's just me though.  Look at it like a rifle.  Build it up like you want it?  Or buy off the rack?  Each solution has its place for the intended purpose and price point, and the custom build isn't always necessarily the right track for everyone. That's just another one of the decisions that has to be made.

« Last Edit: June 05, 2016, 10:45:21 pm by Thernlund »

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    Re: cameras
    « Reply #26 on: June 06, 2016, 07:09:05 am »
    Another way to look at T's Synology solution is that it primarily functions as shared disk storage on the home computer network.  You, and everyone else with authenticated access to the network, can also store and share files on that device.  One of the added benefits of the Synology solution is that you can add licenses to the Synolology NAS to enable it to manage security cameras.  Once the necessary licenses are installed on the Synology NAS, you simply configure it to see each licensed camera by IP address and other device specific information.  The Synology will then archive video footage for you and provide a user interface to allow you to monitor these cameras.

    A solution like a dedicated Amcrest NVR (or their cloud solution) provides similar functionality though it is typically dedicated to camera storage and does not offer shared disk storage.  You program each with camera specific information and it provides you a place to store videos and a centralized user interface.  Cloud-based solutions have an additional challenge that you should, however, be aware of, namely security.  Most of the cameras discussed here are manufactured in China.  Their operating firmware is OK but not incredibly secure.  To get the camera to interface with the cloud solution, you're going to essentially send your video streams across the Internet (from your home to wherever the cloud server happens to be located).  This may be fine and good for some exterior cameras but not for others.  Example:  If you place a camera in your back yard overlooking a swimming pool, you'll be sending that video stream across the Internet to get it to the cloud server.  I believe at least some of these solutions may encrypt video streams but I'm not sure if they all do and if they use highly complex encryption algorithms.  The reason this is important is that poor or non-existing encryption of these video streams could make it easier for these video streams to be compromised by a hacker.

    Where this becomes problematic is going to be based on content.  For example, if your wife (or one of your kids female friends) decides to hang out at the pool in a skimpy two piece string bikini (or decides to tan without tan lines) then that video is going to be sent across the Internet to the cloud solution.  If someone is able to compromise those video streams (compromising these streams is a risk not a given) they now have the ability to view and capture this video.  Now this type of broadcast may be OK for the Kardashians but not everyone wants that kind of exposure.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that you make a practice of changing all authentication credentials on these cameras to use complex passwords.  Too many people leave the credentials as default and those are the easiest for hackers to compromise.  Believe it or not there are web sites where they've cataloged these compromised cameras and provided people with a means to access them.  A lot of times you'll find baby monitors among these but there are lots of other cameras in lots of countries where the owners are unknowingly being broadcast on the Internet for others to see.
    « Last Edit: June 06, 2016, 07:12:02 am by Martimus »
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    Re: cameras
    « Reply #27 on: June 06, 2016, 08:15:21 am »
    Here is another option for onsite storage that I use:

    I gotta think about a new sig.  Hmmmmm?


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    Re: cameras
    « Reply #28 on: June 06, 2016, 05:44:42 pm »
    I was very disappointed with the Foscam and Swan cameras from Frys. After a lot of reading I settled on Hikvision cameras which I get on Amazon. I've never heard of the other brands mentioned here so, I can't say how they compare, but I'd bet from reviews and my personal experience with them that they are hard to beat in their price range (~$100 each).
    For monitoring I use Blue Iris on my PC and my phone. It works with hundreds of brands of IP cameras. I even got it to work with my remaining Logitech Alert cameras. Logitech Alert was a great system, but every system they come up with they ditch after a few years...

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk

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    Re: cameras
    « Reply #29 on: February 08, 2021, 06:36:47 am »
    Obligatory Zombie Post Emoji ===>  :zombie :zombie :zombie

    I felt some responsibility to update what I had posted way back when in case any one was looking through the annals of gun lore looking for information on the topic.

    We are on our third iteration of home security.
    2014: ZModo - $20 Proprietary Wifi System with one camera
    2017: Amcrest & Blue Iris - $300 Wifi System with 4 cameras that we built up over time
    2021: ReoLink - $2000 POE 8 Cam 16 Channel NVR

    I will say that by far the Reolink system is by far the best system we have had with very comprehensive coverage.  Knowing what I know now and having lived through the iterations of security I'd never go backwards unless I absolutely had to.  But if $20 is all you got and you have t start at ZModo like I did then you are better off already

    Things I have learned since installing the new system are that you want an NVR (all digital) rather than a DVR (old analog tech).  NVRs are a full digital system.  From the camera to the recorder.  DVR's use an analog signal then records it digitally.  Going with an NVR lets you get much higher resolution and is smaller on disk usage because it comes compressed from the camera.

    When looking at your NVR, you usually want double the number of channels you intend to use.  I have 16 channels but use 8 of them for 8 cameras.  The reason is that the CPU inside the NVR is sized to the system with the understanding that if it has X cameras, usually only 50% will ever be activated and recording at one time.  If you use an 8 channel system to record 8 cameras, you are really only getting an NVR that can accommodate 4 cameras at a time.  It may be able to record 8 cameras at once but a lot of the systems (especially off the shelf system in a box) will struggle to do so.  Sizing this way allows me to stream and record video from all 8 cameras at one time without taxing the system.  This allows me to maintain functionality on windy days when the bushes and trees set off the system.  It also allows me to pre-record 1 minute ahead of any time it records a motion event.  So it is recording all cameras all of the time, but only saves the part one minute before the motion event.  Nice way of preserving your disk space and having less to sort through.

    Also - I was very confident in my wifi systems until one day I looked and there was a guy in my backyard doing some landscaping work (and we didn't hire a landscaper?!?) but how he got in the yard and past my locked gates was a mystery because there was no evidence on the camera.  Wifi Cams were constantly dropping wifi signal and then reacquiring to the point that I'd bet they were off line for at least 30% of the time.  The new system is POE - Power over Ethernet which means they are online 100% of the time.  It also solves the janky problem of getting power to your cameras.  Usually places that make a good vantage point are no where near where you want a camera mounted so you end up trying to hide extension cables and the like.

    I wanted to get high resolution cameras and I can tell you these absolutely are.  It's 8 megapixels of resolution.  I wanted to be able to capture good solid facial features so that if you hand it over to the police, they can run facial recognition on it.  I understand there exists, but I haven't gone looking for it yet, a service that can access your camera footage through the internet if you hook it up that will back feed you facial recognition data on who has entered your property.  It's like caller ID for your door bell.  Not just a visual on them but it actually gets you a name.  CREEPY!  Either way I wanted to have the ability to turn a face over to the police.  I'm finding out that most perps now wear hoodies or caps and keep their head down so they can't be recognized by facial recognition.  Covid masks don't help that either.  To the point that if I had someone dressed like the stereotypical thief but on my lot with posture erect and face up they would be less suspicious than a slouchy girl-scout with her head down trying to sell cookies.  Body language tells a lot here.

    I had an Amazon driver drop off a package so just for grins I went back and froze the image to see how detailed the picture was.  It got down to the small mole on his cheek and I could see the beginning of a tattoo poking above his collar. Detail is AMAZING.

    Motion is one area I was not as astute on and maybe compromised where I shouldn't.  I picked a system that records at 20 frames per second.  The resolution is so good, I can snag plate numbers from the car across the street in bright day light.  But if the car is driving, even slowly, I can't snag plates or details.  Some vehicles with very distinct features (like a jeep) are discernible, but most of the sedans like a Corolla or Accord or anything made by Kia all look too similar to be identified.  Occasionally the cams catch something like a unique tail light pattern that can be a clue but not a solid ID.

    If I had it to do over, I would have gotten a system that had 30 frames per second or faster.

    The first system cost $20 per camera.
    The second system cost about $75 per camera
    My third system ended up running about $250ish per camera.

    Here's how that breaks down
    I got this system on sale for about $799 ==>
    I got this battery back up for $200ish so the cameras will run for about a day if the power gets cut ==>
    I paid these guys about $1000 to run the Cat-5 cables in the attic ==>

    If you can run your own cables, you can save that 1k expense.  In my case, I was recovering from Valley Fever and didn't want to do attic work - also I was recovering from being fat and didn't fit a lot of places that I needed a camera so hiring out the cable run meant the difference between getting the full value of the system or neutering it from the start with bad camera placement.  Your circumstances will almost certainly vary.

    I will admit that Blue Iris is a very slick set up and I do miss some of the features (would be nice if they made an NVR system) that I was getting with it on the Wifi cams but t ran my CPU 24/7.  There's no way my computer would have handled more than 4 cameras so it would have meant upgrading to a new high performance and dedicated PC to run a bigger system.  The Reolink User Interface is pretty basic but it gets the job done and with a much shallower learning curve than Blue Iris did.

    HikVision is the leader in cameras and quality as far as I can tell, but I couldn't afford that set up.  If you can, they really are nice and worth it.  Maybe when I get to my 4th iteration I'll be there, but it is going to take a lot of lottery tickets and scratchers.
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    Re: cameras
    « Reply #30 on: February 08, 2021, 09:06:57 pm »
    Good, detailed info.  Thanks for the update.   :thumbup
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    Re: cameras
    « Reply #31 on: February 09, 2021, 07:47:19 am »
    I’ve also done several upgrades to my system.  My current system is a Hybrid that does analog and digital so it plugged right into my old analog cameras and accepts upgraded cameras as I install them.  My NVR is 6 years old, the NVR software and viewing software has not been updated in a couple years so I’m shopping for a new unit.

    Some of the new things available are:

    Facial recognition.  This doesn’t tie the face to a name but it does pick out the face of an individual so the system knows it is a person and not an object.  This can be used in your alarm setting.

    Analytics.  This analyzes the image to reduce false motion triggers by leaves birds waving flags etc.  This is very helpful when you don’t want to exclude large areas from motion detection because you have plants/trees around the border of your property or a flag near your front door.

    Playback rubber-banding (my terminology).  This is huge for me.  If you have ever watched hours of video trying to figure out when something happened you will understand this.  An example; You go to take your Jeep out from your side drive and see someone has broken the window out.  Somehow, someone pulled a 007 and got passed all your security.  In playback mode you can draw a rubber-band around the area you are interested in, just the broken window, and the NVR will find the times where the image changed inside your rubber-band.  You learn it was a baseball from one of the neighbor’s kids that hit your window.

    These are only some of the new features I’ve found so far and still shopping.
    I gotta think about a new sig.  Hmmmmm?


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    Re: cameras
    « Reply #32 on: February 09, 2021, 10:33:29 am »
    I live in the country and have an outdoor mounted router that reaches my garage a couple hundred feet away so I might try at least one camera out there. 

    In my old shop I had a monitoring system with a dedicated monitor on the wall I wonder if something like that could be set up here.


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    Re: cameras
    « Reply #33 on: February 09, 2021, 12:55:23 pm »
    Before COX switched to digital, I used an RF converter to convert the video output of my NVR to channel 4 which was an unused channel.  That allowed me to switch any TV in the house to channel 4 and look at all my cameras.  When COX switched to digital the signal I injected interfered with their feed so I had to go with plain video output and an old computer monitor near the NVR.

    There are a lot of possibilities for remote viewing.  I'm playing with an old tablet and the Internet interface to the NVR.  I'm thinking about mounting the tablet on the wall with a power supply and keep it on the page viewing all the cameras.  Nice thing about this setup is I can tap on one camera and it will go full screen for that camera and I can also control pant, tilt, zoom of a camera.
    I gotta think about a new sig.  Hmmmmm?

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