Author Topic: Video surveillance for the home - what are you using?  (Read 15206 times)

Offline BriGy86

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Re: Video surveillance for the home - what are you using?
« Reply #30 on: October 20, 2015, 07:28:02 AM »
I've been wanting to do this for awhile, but I get stuck trying to figure out the best IP cameras.  I'm fine with running Cat6 and doing POE to each camera, and I have a NAS to record to, but a short list of high value cameras would be nice.  I do not want go through hell in my attic and wind up with crap video because I didn't buy enough camera.

I think this sums up my hesitations too.

Offline SelcSilverhand

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Re: Video surveillance for the home - what are you using?
« Reply #31 on: October 20, 2015, 10:55:58 AM »
I've only ever worked with two types of PoE cameras, Axis and Samsung, and of the two I liked Axis much better. They offer a handy tool on their site to select models based on what you are looking for.
http://www.axis.com/node/35014#/
You can get either fixed lens or models that let you swap out longer lenses for recording detail a long way off. Optical zoom is alright, but it works just like your phone does where the software tries to enhance the picture. IR Led's are nice because they will give you a clear picture even at night. Axis offers Lightfinder which lets it work pretty well in darkness as long as there is some light nearby. I have one that works fairly well with only a streetlight a hundred feet away.


Wired vs Wireless. I can say that wireless, while easier than running wire, can be a real pain to maintain. You get interference from a lot of different sources. Not only can neighbor's wifi interfere with your signal but other devices can degrade your connection. Microwaves are a big one, but other things can too. When your signal drops off you can lose video. If wired is an option go that route always. The reliability cannot be beat. If you do have to go wireless and you have neighbors close by, take some time to identify what channels they are using and set your wireless to use a different channel. I have one camera on wireless and the rest are wired, and it loses connection to its wireless repeater and has to be restarted on a regular basis.

As far as software goes imo you can't beat Milestone. https://www.milestonesys.com/Their software is very well designed and offers pretty much everything you need. They even offer a free version for up to 5 cameras with most features available. You have to add a new license for it every year. To set it up you just need a computer with a good amount of storage. The amount you need can be calculated based on how many cameras you have, if you are recording 24/7 or only on motion, and what resolution/FPS you are recording at. I get by just fine with 4 cameras going to an 8 year old laptop and about 250gb free space.

Setting up the software is fairly easy if you are familiar with networking. You will need to setup IP reservations for the cameras so they always have the same IP addresses. Add those IP's to the Milestone software and set the configuration for each camera. Some things you can set is Masking, which lets you black out parts of the screen you don't want to record. For a fixed camera this means you can black out the neighbor's windows so you don't invade their privacy. Some of the really nice Axis PTZ cameras can remember the position of the masking even when you are moving the camera around. Other options include email alerts. You can get an email with a picture attached everytime motion is detected and the cameras start recording. Depending on where the camera is that can get old fast with numerous false positives. I have one facing the road that picks up headlights all night long and records them as motion. Motion sensitivity and other thresholds for recording can also be set. Another good email alert to set is when your camera loses connection. This could alert you to one that has failed or been vandalized. Other cool options: PTZ cameras will remember a "home" position and return to that view if they are moved and you forget to move them back. You can import maps into their Smart Client and place your cameras on it, allowing you to click on the cameras on a map to pull up that view. Evidence Export which allows you to export the video in a format suitable for presenting as court evidence. I believe it is easier to see if the video has been edited in that mode, and it bundles the codecs required to play the video along with a copy of the old windows movie player so everything you need to see it is in one easy to use folder. You can attach microphones or speakers to the nicer cameras that have input and output support. They also offer a mobile app so you can check on your cameras, both live and playback modes, from anywhere.

Since the good IP cameras are expensive I strongly recommend a good housing for them and to mount them up out of easy reach. If you live in a cold climate you should consider a housing with a heater to keep it from fogging. They require a separate power source since it is too much draw for PoE (unless it has gotten more efficient since I last looked at them). Every other month I would recommend checking the cameras one by one for dust on the lens and that it is still pointed the right way.

For those worried about IR lights on the camera giving away their positions, you can purchase lights designed to illuminate parking lots in infrared light. Sort of like invisible flood lights. You could mount something like that up high to provide illumination for your cameras without giving them away.

Offline EmmaPeel

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Re: Video surveillance for the home - what are you using?
« Reply #32 on: October 20, 2015, 06:43:56 PM »
We use Trendnet IP cameras.  They have an app so you can see them with your smartphone from anywhere.  They can be wired or wireless.  The ones we have are not weather proof but mounted under eaves and on porches has proved effective at keeping them protected.  We have several located different places around our property.  Unfortunately, they do require power.  I think they have some POE models but the ones we have don't have that option.  They are inexpensive and we buy as we find money or a place for them.  They record video or still shots to a NAS.  It is wonderful to lay in bed and pull up the cameras on the phone while the dogs are barking.  It's great to see it's a deer or nothing else to worry about.

Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Video surveillance for the home - what are you using?
« Reply #33 on: October 20, 2015, 07:42:18 PM »
Thanks Silverhand and Emma, karma for you both.  Any idea what kind of price range those cameras would fall into?

Offline Hootie

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Re: Video surveillance for the home - what are you using?
« Reply #34 on: October 20, 2015, 09:46:25 PM »
I would love a truly wireless security system with video on motion which also sends to my phone/laptop.
We need to talk...

When the wife and I were looking at baby cams. we decided to just get an internet web cam, so it could be used as a security cam when he grows up. i am a security geek, so we got a foscam fi8910w ($60). It has good encryption, easy to setup, color/nightvision and there are multi iphone apps. Currently using it to watch the apartment.

I am not going to say it is the best solution for everyone. but fits for what i need it to do.

 

Offline jerseyboy

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Re: Video surveillance for the home - what are you using?
« Reply #35 on: October 20, 2015, 09:48:50 PM »

For those worried about IR lights on the camera giving away their positions, you can purchase lights designed to illuminate parking lots in infrared light. Sort of like invisible flood lights. You could mount something like that up high to provide illumination for your cameras without giving them away.

The IR flood light is a great solution. You want to make sure that the LEDs are 940nm and not 850nm in wavelength. Most cameras that have the IR LEDs built in have the 850nm ones.

The 850nm ones look bright red to the eye and are very visible. The 940nm ones are a light purple to the eye and are much less visible.

Jerseyboy

Offline xxdabroxx

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Re: Video surveillance for the home - what are you using?
« Reply #36 on: October 22, 2015, 04:28:47 PM »
Axis is proud of their cameras.  A little out of my budget, I like the free software connected to a computer though.  Now just to find an affordable IP camera option. 

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: Video surveillance for the home - what are you using?
« Reply #37 on: October 24, 2015, 11:41:20 AM »
I've really enjoyed this discussion.

I think I'm leaning towards going with some sort of HD IPcam and running POE to an extra hard drive in my computer. There are various software options out there that will record the cameras, plus this way I can add cameras as budget allows rather than buying an entire system at once and either killing my budget or getting a quality I won't be happy with. I think this also gives a little more versatility since I can have outdoor cameras for outdoor and indoor cameras for indoors.

I've read of several people who have set up their own systems this way and have custom scripts/programs running to take pictures instead of video since a picture is clearer. It could be a neat project to get into and I'm sure I could learn a lot that way.

Offline EmmaPeel

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Re: Video surveillance for the home - what are you using?
« Reply #38 on: November 18, 2015, 01:46:28 PM »
The Trendnet cams we use run around $100 each. New Egg will often discount them further.  I love checking on things from mikes away.